A client recently was frustrated because he only wanted to follow U.S. based people on Twitter that could buy his service. After all, he only shipped to those who were U.S. based and didn’t have a pricing structure for other countries.

And, here we go with another question that really defaults to the greater question – is Twitter advertising or word of mouth?

If you operate with the analogy of Twitter being a huge chamber of commerce networking event online, then his statement wouldn’t make any sense. You would be the person at the event looking at everyone as if they were a potential customer and making decisions to engage in conversation only if you think you can “sell them” on what you have.

We’ve all seen “those types” at networking events and we steer clear of them like the plague. (tweet this!)

They walk around – having no real meaningful conversation – because every interaction is patterned to when they will lunge forth with their spiel. So, why should they listen to you except when it provides them the opportunity to talk about their product, service or themselves?

While at first, you can point fingers at this person and say, “wow, you’re all about ME, ME, ME”. The truth of the matter is they are focused on the one way advertising broadcast that’s just that- ONE WAY.

Yet , networking is not one way and neither is Twitter.

I agree, there are loads of advertising and one way conversations happening on Twitter. And, to that I say, how’s that working for you?

More often than not, I see that type of strategy getting people and businesses “one hundred percent of nothing”. No one’s listening; no one’s engaging in conversation; no one’s sharing with their contact sphere (the people that they have influence over and who listen to them) and no one’s sharing with their clients (who may be the same as your target client). Often another business or publication, who serves the same target clients you do, can pass along your message to this contact sphere and get you noticed and engaged with others that you alone would have had to invest a tremendous amount of time, effort and even money to engage with.

Yet, that’s what I hear from many businesses new to Twitter. And, it comes in statements like:

1. Why are we following people outside our shipping area?

2. That magazine will never buy from us?

3. We need to focus our discussion only on those who will buy from us?

So, how are you enjoying 100% of nothing?

If a business tweets to the Twitterverse and there’s no one there to hear it – do they exist?

Here are some Networking 101 tips to apply to the online social world:

1. Engage in conversation with people who engage you. You never know who someone IS; who they INFLUENCE or who they will BECOME.

2. Spend time with people who also market or connect with your best target client and are in a noncompetitive industry. It is better to borrow from someone else’s credibility in a group then to have to spend the enormous time and treasure for them to sample your character and competence (or even to notice you!)

3. Third party endorsements are the goal. Inspiring others to speak positively on your behalf to their circle of influence and having them tell their contacts “how wonderful you are” is much more powerful than you continually blasting people telling them “how wonderful you are”.

Other thoughts?


Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucksa word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.