Dear Twitter Guy: This Is Why You Lost My Business

By October 4, 2013 November 5th, 2014 Social Marketing
Dear Twitter Guy: This Is Why You Lost My Business

We hand out a lot of advice on this site. Much of it comes in the form of to-dos but occasionally we’re compelled to shout about something that needs to stop.

This is one of those times.

See, I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Of all the social networks, I find it the most fun and engaging. Where Facebook is an endless stream of whichever memes and food photos Facebook has chosen to show me, and Pinterest is a gob of imagery, like someone just knocked one of those giant shoeboxes of old photos off a closet shelf and mashed them around on the floor for a while…

For me, Twitter is short, chronological snippets of information that I can organize and process the way I want.

And so, I tend to do a lot of business there.

give a lot of business there.

Don’t tell anyone, but if you’ve got something to sell me, you probably want to follow me on Twitter and tell me about it.

A little flattery never hurt either, but I’m just saying…

The Story

I’ve bought just about every author’s book who I’ve ever connected with on Twitter. So when Random Guy Who Writes Fiction Of Some Unspecified Nature followed me, I followed back.

Then he tweeted me with a link to his books and asked me to check them out.

So I did.

First, I checked out his Amazon store.

I read a few reviews and excerpts.

Then, I tweeted him.

“Hey, your stuff looks pretty interesting! Would love to read more. Which title should I start with?”


I’m busy. So I put it out of my mind.

A couple of days later I mentioned this to Ralph, and I said, “You know, this guy followed me on Twitter and told me to check out his books, and I wanted to buy one but he never answered my question about it.”

And Ralph said… Oh, that guy, with those books? (Referencing the very same person who had sent out the very same tweet to both of us.)

Me: Yes!

Ralph: Yeah, he followed me too. Didn’t answer me, either.

So guess what Random Twitter Guy never got?

That’s right, my business.

The Moral

Random Twitter Guy could have made an instant sale.

Even if his books weren’t that great, if Random Twitter Guy had been nice to me, I probably would have read every one.

So what’s that worth to him? Five or ten bucks a pop, a couple of books in the series? He’s probably not losing the bank over me, but how many more of me are out there who Random Twitter Guy failed to engage and therefore failed to sell?

And the other thing it was worth to him? Me promoting him and his books to my followers, because if you’re nice to me, I’m inclined to be nice to you.

Except now, even if Random Twitter Guy’s books are the most amazing thing on the planet, I still won’t buy them.

I’m unforgiving like that.

I’ve been told I’m nobody’s demographic (by people who can’t seem to put me into a neat category) but I still bet I’m not the only one on the planet who feels this way. You can sell me stuff, but you’d better pretend to like me while you do.

And if you want to sell me stuff on social media, then you’d better be prepared to be social about it.

If you do Twitter marketing, want to do Twitter marketing or are even remotely considering doing Twitter marketing then please take this lesson to heart.

Twitter is not a place for you to send out free advertisements. It is not a megaphone.

The tweet-ignore-tweet again paradigm has to stop. If you can’t be there, then don’t market there.

To be successful with social media – and that goes for any social network – it’s vitally important to remember that there are live human beings at the other end of your broadcasts.

Pay attention.

Monitor your feeds.

Watch for mentions, comments, questions and shares.


I won’t even tell you to “engage” because that’s just a fancy marketing word for “act like a human being and when someone asks you a question, answer, damnit.”

Maybe some suckers out there will buy indiscriminately from Random Twitter Guy but I bet he’s doing an awful lot of wasting his time.

And A Final P.S.

We’re often lulled into a false sense of comfort thinking that we’re not one of those big brands with outsourced marketing who make very public and very stupid mistakes. So we don’t have to worry about our reputations and the repercussions of our little oversights and mistakes.

We’re no Kenneth Cole angering an entire country or American Apparel trampling on already-trodden hurricane victims.

But that doesn’t mean we’re free and clear because it’s tough to say how to do social media right but it’s readily apparent when it’s wrong.

It doesn’t take a public social media meltdown or a big mistake to lose business.

Just ask Random Twitter Guy… or don’t, because he probably won’t answer anyway.


Update: 10:15AM

No sooner had this article been shared on Twitter when a like-minded tweeter agreed with me and came up with this gem.

TweetDear Twitter Guy: THAT’S how you fix a blunder!

Are you monitoring your social networks for feedback, questions and interactions? If not, why not?