Archives for February 2013

The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes on Twitter and How to Avoid Them

February 10, 2013 Leave a Comment

Learning the new marketing paradigm of Twitter can present a steep learning curve for many business owners. Author and ethical marketing consultant Lynn Serafinn shares ideas from her book Tweep-e-licious! that can help lighten the journey. You can find the book on in both paperback and Kindle HERE.

There is an old adage that warns us not to judge a book by its cover. Nonetheless, many people take a cursory look at the surface appearance of Twitter and draw a hasty conclusion that it is just a stream of one-liners and headlines with little substance. It is true that if marketers use Twitter only to send out headlines that take their followers to sales pages, they are unlikely to reap much reward for their efforts. But I know there is much more to Twitter. In fact, it is my favourite social media platform. But before we can unlock the magic of Twitter, we need to enter into a new paradigm of marketing strategies. Instead of “advertising”, we need compelling informational content. Instead of talking “at” customers and avoiding “competitors”, we need to learn new rules for communication and business relationships. The Twitterverse is a brave new world where “old school” marketing methodologies are, frankly, dead as a doornail.

The learning curve for any new paradigm can be steep for many. I’ve watched many newbies on Twitter stumble around and hit wall after wall while they find their feet. Helping people through that learning curve is the main reason why I wrote Tweep-e-licious. To give you a feel of this new paradigm, I thought it would be good to take a look at five key mistakes I’ve repeatedly seen people make when attempting to use Twitter for marketing:

  1. Not taking time to build your Twitter tribe
  2. Not understanding the mechanics of an online marketing campaign
  3. Not knowing how to recognise and leverage your “inner circle”
  4. Not having enough diversity in your Tweets
  5. Not understanding what motivates your followers

Let’s explore each of these briefly.

MISTAKE 1: Not taking time to build your Twitter tribe

In traditional advertising (like television, for example) communication flows in one direction: from “one” (sponsor) to “the many”. But social media is a completely different communication model. It is between “the many” and “the many”, and the flow of communication goes both back and forth, and even sideways (as when Tweets are shared/ReTweeted). Because of this, there is a dynamic relationship between you and your Twitter audience that cannot possibly develop if you use old school marketing strategies. This dynamic relationship is best expressed through what many call your “Twitter tribe”.

One way to describe a ‘tribe’ is a group of people connected by a common desire to express their shared values. Thus, a “tribe” is different from your “target audience”. If you are using Twitter solely to “sell” to people, you are neither connecting with them nor demonstrating any shared value system with them. For people to feel like they are part of your tribe, they need to know who you are, what you stand for and what you bring the world. For that reason, I spend at least several months (hopefully a year) helping my clients build their Twitter tribe before we ever think about launching a book or project. If you move too quickly into marketing without this kind of care, you are apt to fail and you are likely to quit using Twitter. In Tweep-e-licious, I cover the core strategies for finding, establishing and cultivating your relationship with your tribe.

MISTAKE 2: Not understanding the mechanics of an online marketing campaign

For any marketing strategy to be effective, it needs ample care and planning. But trying to run a major marketing campaign on your own on Twitter is tedious, and successful marketing on Twitter is always a collaborative effort. The most effective use of Twitter for marketing comes when you coordinate a Joint Venture Partner (JVP) Campaign. Your JVPs, who come from your “tribe”, are your marketing partners. They will need care, coordination and support well in advance of and throughout your promotion. Having a good team to support them behind the scenes is also important. When you utilise Twitter for marketing in this way, it can be a tremendous driver in your success. The majority of my clients come to my company because they know our team are good at coordinating all the “moving parts” of Twitter promotions.

MISTAKE 3: Not knowing how to recognise and leverage your “inner circle”

Many people come to Twitter with a polarised vision: they evaluate everyone as either a potential customer (or not) or as a competitor. As a result, they “chase” the potential customers and avoid the perceived competition. What this vision prevents them from seeing is the vast sea of potential marketing partners that are probably within one of these two camps. Your so-called “competitors” are frequently your best collaborators, primarily because you might share a common vision, a common business ethic AND a common audience. Many (if not nearly all) of my best marketing partners are either online marketing consultants, people who work with authors, or authors themselves. These people are my “inner circle”. The two biggest mistakes I could ever make would to a) avoid them or b) try to “sell” to them. These people are like gold dust to me and my business, and they should be to you too. Stop looking at people on Twitter as if they were in only two camps (to be sold to or avoided). Find your inner circle. Build partnerships. Help others to grow and they will help you grow too.

MISTAKE 4: Not having enough diversity in your Tweets

Most people tend to write far too few Tweets for their promotions. Typically, I’ll see half a dozen Tweets with little punch and no diversity. You might be surprised (or shocked) to know that when I run a promotion, I typically compose hundreds of Tweets for my partners to use. I recommend putting this kind of care into composing Tweets for any of your marketing campaigns for these reasons:

  • It increases the diversity of keywords, making them appear in more Twitter searches.
  • Too much repetition can cause your Tweets to be filtered from Twitter search results.
  • The diversity will appeal to different target audiences.
  • Having a wide selection of diverse Tweets encourages your marketing partners to Tweet more frequently.
  • It keeps your readers from getting bored or irritable due to being bombarded with the same thing over and over.

Making compelling and diverse Tweets is a vital part of your promotions. If you can’t imagine WHAT you could possibly say to fill a hundred or more Tweets, I recommend reading PART 6: Creating Effective Content in my book Tweep-e-licious for ideas and guidelines.

MISTAKE 5: Not understanding what motivates your followers

In Tweep-e-licious Tip 59, I talk about what I call the “Yeah…So What?” Test (YSW Test for short). The YSW Test is when you write a Tweet (or blog post or whatever) and ask yourself, “Yeah…So What?” before you send it to your audience. If nearly all your Tweets are about you and your company, they’ll fail this test. People will say to themselves, “Yeah, So what?” and not bother to click your link.

Supporting this idea is Tip 55: Give People What THEY Want, Not What You Want to Give Them. To write compelling Tweets, you have to understand the motivations of your followers. What are they looking for? Advice? Tips? Answers? To what? When you can answer these questions, you can see what would motivate them to click your link AND stay connected with you. While some people are motivated by regular information, others may seek community. Others may be motivated by “freebies” or bargains. All of these are legitimate doorways to connection, and your Tweets should be diverse enough to appeal to all these different motivators.

Closing Thoughts

For any of these strategies to work at all, your Tweets must fulfil the most important criterion of all—RELEVANCE. If your content is not relevant to your audience, it doesn’t matter what else you do. Perform due diligence in defining what kinds of people would find your work most relevant to THEIR needs, and then deliver diverse, compelling, relevant content that fulfils a variety of motivations. Combine this activity with the conscious cultivation of your partnerships and other online relationships, and with time you will see the richness of the Twitterverse emerge.

~ Lynn Serafinn
Author: The 7 Graces of Marketing and Tweep-e-licious
Twitter: @LynnSerafinn @7GracesMarketng

The ideas in this article were adapted from the section on “Crowd Funding” in Lynn Serafinn’s new book Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically. Nearly 300 pages long, Tweep-e-licious is a substantive, practical manual of ethical marketing strategies for Twitter, from bare-bones basics to advanced user skills. When you buy the book, you’ll also find a “secret URL” where you can download a free 90-minute Twitter audio class plus a Twitter Resource Pack with links to over 100 useful Twitter resources. Tweep-e-licious! is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Here are the links to buy it:



Tweep-e-licious is also available on ALL other Amazon sites throughout the world.

The Two-Year Test. What’s in Your Way?

February 9, 2013 Leave a Comment


There’s a moment when you can see your results as a trainer.  Invariably you come back to a city a few years after being there last and meet people you haven’t seen in a few years.

Sometimes it’s a really sweet moment, when someone tells me how I’ve impacted their life.  I had two such a moment yesterday.   The first was when one of my students recounted where they were a few years ago and how much working through the week to week modules of my advanced course had shifted everything in how they work.  They were now an internationally known best-selling author and fully on-fire.  Their regret was not starting sooner, when we had first met.

I also had the second, more familiar experience as a trainer yesterday.  Someone who had heard me speak two years ago approached me.  They had liked my content then and liked it now.  But somehow nothing had changed for them.  All the same reasons were still in place.  Not enough time and resources to move forward.

The sad truth for most trainers is that we know 85% of the people we teach will love the content, walk away, and never take a single action.  They’ll never implement the daily routine they need, never enroll in a single other training course.  It’s a lot like wanting to be a Doctor and never going to med school. Although I’ve seen even the slowest of students achieve great results with consistent committed action, the sad truth is that reasons for inaction is more commonly what I see.

The only difference between those who do and those who don’t is action.  So here’s your two-year test.

1.  Write down your dream of where you’d like your life to get to.

2. write down how far along that path you were  two years ago vs. where you are today.

3. Compare the difference.

If you’re not taking action, you won’t get there.  So choose and move.  It’s the best gift you will ever give yourself.

Iconic branding mistakes – and why you should test your book cover!

February 7, 2013 Leave a Comment


Something every Canadian knows (and quite a few other people as well), is that Anne of Green Gables is a skinny, fiery, red-head girl of 10 or 11.

Unfortunately for one Createspace Independent Publisher, a re-make of Anne’s image has backfired on a catastrophic level.   The 16-year old buxom blonde  farm-girl with “come-hither” eyes, so outraged loyal fans of the series as to elicit hundreds of negative reviews on and be covered in media across Canada – including Canada’s top business newspaper The Globe and Mail.

This is a clear example of where shock marketing can be seen to be an iconic blunder.  Marketers have long used the tactic of being controversial and outrageous to create attention to something.

The recent T-shirt campaign of “Nothing is sorrier than living in Surrey” is a great example of where controversy sells.  Loyal Surrey lovers flocked to support,  while those opposed jokingly sported the T-shirt.  Everyone laughed.  But shock value can back-fire when it goes to the heart of what people know if simply offensive and outrageous.

Three tips on deciding if controversy will work in your favour.

  1. People should feel good engaging in the debate.   Will it make them laugh?  Will it engage people’s loyalty?
  2. Great controversy makes sense.   There’s a statement or point to be made that inspires people.  You don’t sell a young reader’s book with sexy blond on the cover.  It’s just bad taste.
  3. Don’t mess with an icon.  You wouldn’t make Martin Luther King a skinny white guy, don’t make Anne of Green Gables a buxom blond.  Some things are just in such poor taste that they will backfire every time!  It may sell more Anne of Green Gable’s books, but people will avoid this version like the plague.  Somewhere a publisher is stuck with several thousand copies of a book that just won’t move!

So think twice before you wade into altering an image that society has grown to love.   Some mistakes are un-recoverable.