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Biggest challenge I see about using Twitter

Commentary and analysis of using Twitter for marketing and PR

People are asking lots of questions about using Twitter, particularly as a marketing tool and as a tool for PR.

The biggest challenge I see about using Twitter as a marketing tool is trying to get an answer to the following question:

What ROI am I going to get out using Twitter and why?

The ROI people receive from participating in Twitter is an open question. Some people get lots of tangible ROI and many don’t.

If you are an Oprah or an Ashton Kutcher, you may have a million followers. You can cultivate and perpetuate brand image by being a fun enjoyable person with your tweets.

Each one only follows a handful of people. That’s not conversation, it’s performing.

How much time do you think they really spend Tweeting and looking at other people’s Tweets?

Twitter is seen as a conversational medium and it takes time, effort and care to develop and cultivate relationships.

If the celebrities are using Twitter, is it because it will have a positive effect on their ROI? Look at how that happens.

Can you develop meaningful relationships with people on Twitter? Apparently so. Some people do anyway.

Can these relationships produce ROI?

Maybe. Some people may be able to mine the relationships and produce ROI but for most people that I know, this is not the case.

Is it because no one is really listening? Text message communications not all that easy to make motivational or galvanizing. Headlines in articles, news releases and the subject lines of email messages present many of the same daunting challenges. Look at the latest string of Tweets from anyone and see if what they say impresses you enough to spend lots of time each day keeping up with what they are saying.

120 to 140 characters with a snip link and say something of helpful, funny or useful with real value you may get someone to click on the link.

The same one liner may be forwarded.

You won’t sell product or services simply by tweeting three times a day if what you tweet is sales talk and links to your web site.

You may get friends and get followers if you post helpful or valuable information.

Tracking sales from individual tweets is going to be pretty difficult. Tracking traffic from Tweets may be easier.

Will it be worth the time and effort compared to other things that you can do with your time, energy, and money available for marketing?

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends what you do and what you receive from your Twitter efforts as compared to other things you are doing.

You can target using Twitter search and find people who have mentioned a keyword in their Tweets. Is this really a great targeting tool? Are you reaching people who are truly receptive to a direct message from you.

If what you posted had real value and if it helps people, then they may be grateful. They may spread the word to other. They may help you build a reputation for that value. Yes, it may bring new people to your site and you’ll get some ROI.

But is ROI you receive from this attenuated pathway really based on your Twitter post? Or is it because of the value in what you’ve created independent of your Twitter post.

Did you need Twitter to connect with someone to help them? Can you use all sorts of other methods of communication to meaningfully connect with people?

Is Twitter as valuable say as a regular phone call? A web seminar? A detailed post to a forum? An article in a trade publication? An interview on radio or TV? A podcast interview or an interview on Sirius satellite radio?

The answers may depend on who you are, what you do, and what you can give to others, and then of course, in what you have that brings you income that Twitter people will buy.

I believe that if you focus on the creation of real value then you won’t necessarily need to use Twitter at all.

In fact, unless you create something of real value in the first place, it won’t matter no matter what technology you use to communicate with people.

The quality product or service is the most important thing you need to focus on first and foremost.

Of course, if you do create something truly re-markable, other people will do all the talking for you anyway.

There are good reasons why companies need to be on Twitter and follow what people are saying, and even converse once an issue or even a crisis erupts.

But is it worth the time, effort and money it takes to be on Twitter for small businesses?

Maybe. It depends on you, your product, your services, and on the value of the relationships and the quality of the communications you have with the people you need to produce your income.

If you can have meaningful little tiny snippet text communications that relate directly to the mental factors that determine or influence sales decisions in your target audience then maybe Twitter is for you.

If on the other hand little tiny snippet text message communications don’t cut it, then maybe you don’t need to be using Twitter at all.

Getting on Oprah

The newest ways to contact Oprah Winfrey and pitch story proposals

Hearst Communications, Inc. has set up an online contact system for providing input to her organization and the producers of her many ventures.

Go to, and there way down at the bottom of the home page is a little yellow hyperlink that says ‘Contact Us’

This opens up a contact information page.

You can write to Oprah

You can ‘Tell Oprah a Your Story’ or share your photos and they may get used on the show or in a magazine or on her web site. . This page offers an ever changing list of upcoming topics with special post forms they appear to be looking for actively.

And you can propose or suggest a story for The Oprah Winfrey Show

Or you can submit comments, opinions and story suggestions for O, The Oprah Magazine

Getting on Oprah’s Book List

PR strategies and tactics for getting on Oprah

Getting on Oprah’s book list is like buying $1 lottery ticket and winning a $100 million prize. Your chances of asking winning a lottery are probably better that a chance of being chosen to be a book club selection.

I’ve had a few clients who got on Oprah and it was only after getting lots of other media coverage that she and her staff called.

Oprah doesn’t respond well to pitches from publicity seekers, publicists and PR firms for the most part. We have had some of the other shows associated with Harpo Productions respond to news releases, but even that is rare.

She picks who she wants to be on her show. She has the freedom and luxury of choice. She also has a well defined scope: Issues important to women.

You can study who and what she selects. She typically responds to people who are doing their life’s work. She finds out about the good deeds people do from other people and she pays attention to other media, particularly other top media.

You may be able to garner an appearance or an interview by a presentation to and through producer. But they are very likely to simply ignore pitches sent to them.

Even if you do garner an appearance on a show, nowadays they are likely to force you to agree that you won’t use her name to market your product. I blogged about the contract stipulation for an interview a while ago.

What Can You Do With an oprah Appearance

Here’s an article I also wrote on Getting on Oprah which contains more insights and recommendations.

Getting On Oprah

My advice is to help the people you can help the most. You get busy doing what you are best at and also keep on targeting the media that will help you reach the people you can help the most.

Then when you least expect it, the phone may ring and it’ll be a producer from Oprah calling.