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“I just don’t see a way to monetize it” – Local PR Company Owner
Some of my best friends are Media/Public Relations (PR)/Marketing Experts…okay, maybe not my best friends, but I do have several people I consider friends who have been/are major players in the PR industry in their market and almost all of them either reject Twitter or are mystified by it. The three questions/comments I hear most from my PR friends are as follows:
- How do you have time to do it?
- I don’t see how to monetize Twitter.
- I just don’t get it
The first question requires that a person accept that Twitter can be something of value to their (or their client’s) business. Unfortunately, many ‘experienced’ business people have a misconception of what Twitter is (or is not,) so they are already under the presumption of guilt on the charge the Twitter is a waste of time. They have to be convinced that it has value, thus deserving it merits their ‘time’. But for many ‘seasoned’ PR types the only way they will accept Twitter as worth their time is if it has an immediate dollar return, which leads to the second comment.
The fact is that Twitter a communication tool leads the experienced Media/PR person to fall back to the concept that it can be used for advertising/spam purposes and when Social Media users respond by unfriending/unfollowing them, they decide that Twitter is a waste of time. All their training and experience tells them that Social Media is a billboard that if they can just find the right ‘trick’ then Twitter can be used to manipulate the public to buy whatever they (or their client) is selling. That is what they know and thus it leads to the third comment, that they just don’t get it.
Twitter is not a spam tool. The idea that you can make revenue directly from Social Media demonstrates a lack of understanding of the environment. It would be like trying to add spam to someone’s personal email. People would not accept their personal message being overshadowed by spam for Sam’s Plumbing and it would be annoying to the receiver. Spam/advertising (all advertising is spam) is an affront to people’s intelligence and when people can turn it off they do, and that means Twitter has no value to many ‘experienced’ Media/PR people.
The failing is in the concept of trying to ‘sell’. Any reputable business does not need to ‘sell’ their product or service. I’ll say that again. Any reputable business does NOT need to sell their product or service. What they need to do is educate the public on their product or service and why it will improve their life. Educating is not selling. Selling assumes that you can manipulate people to buy whatever you’re selling. Selling is a function of greed and greed is unethical.
The Social Media environment exposes selling and rejects it, but it loves educating. Social Media is a learning environment and the PR professional that doesn’t understand that will not understand Twitter. This opens the door for those who can reject the old ideas of PR and accept a new strategy of service/product management.
Meanwhile, we should create a new Social Media tool for those who love to sell. They can all join it and try to sell to each other. Maybe we can call in ‘Spinster’?
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