Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Haiku marketing – tweeting and re-tweeting for viral marketing reach and impact

Posted in social networking and business, Web 2.0 marketing by Timothy Platt on October 18, 2009

There is a fundamental disconnect between much of tweet experience, and tweet in intent and in principle. On the one hand we read in the papers and see online, stories of people affecting real change through the sharing of important stories via tweets and re-tweets. This form of viral communication with short, shared messages and updates has thwarted dictators and censors who seek to hide the truth, and in a lot more places than just Iran with its recent tainted elections, and the public outcry tweeted forth in response.

Twitter and its basic approach of following tweets from accepted sources and sharing them to larger audiences through re-tweets has incredible potential for making viral communications and viral marketing really work. And then there is the onslaught of disconnected, banal, boring and worse – like pouring a box of leeches directly onto your frontal lobes. This is the onslaught of the instantly shared but even more rapidly meaningless. I touched on this yesterday in a posting Problems and opportunities in up to 140 characters and wanted to pick up on this basic thread from there.

What makes some shared and widely distributed tweets and re-tweets work and even work magic, and what makes so much of the stuff out there in tweet-land virtually bring risk of brain damage?

I wrote yesterday of the crucial importance of context and clarity, and of creating a clear focus on relevance to the target audience. Fortunately, we do not have to have a thrown national election and dictatorial posturing (with guns) as a backdrop for that to happen, but we do need to convey a shared context of importance and mutual understanding. And that is where cross-channel marketing comes in.

This means longer, more detail rich online forums and channels like traditional web sites, online group postings, email newsletters and RSS feeds. This can definitely also include print and other media. The specific mix is not as important though as is creating a context of shared understanding that will give the little updates a sense of meaning and value so they can turn into little calls for action. Create a contextual backdrop, tap into one already there in the news and public awareness or work some combination of the two but develop your Twitter-based campaigns in a larger context.

And I repeat from the earlier posting on Twitter marketing that like haiku this can be very good and very effective or it can give the word bad a whole new meaning. Effective Twitter marketing does not work for everything but it could be done a lot more effectively for a lot more users and potential users. Try it and see what you can do.

8 Responses

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  1. Bruce Lewin said, on October 19, 2009 at 3:24 am

    Hi Tim,

    Very interesting thoughts… I’ve always tried to take the view that Twitter is a platform like newsgroups, email, blogs, wikis etc. It has its own technical ‘rules’ which define the ways it can be used and thereafter, people can (and will!) do as they please!

    I think its also worth noting that much of the B2C innovation in the web has been more speculative and based on people’s impulsive use of media, as opposed to more typical consumer innovation that is very features and focus group based! This is a nice contrast from some of the thinking of say Steve Blank and his ideas around innovation and different types of market.

    http://steveblank.com/

    • Tim Platt said, on October 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

      Hi Bruce and thanks for your comment. I was just looking through http://steveblank.com/ and also find it interesting. Turning back to your comment itself though, I want to add a couple of clarifying points. Yes, there is a logic inherit to any online tool and to any forum or channel that tool supports, and this does set basic parameters as to how they can be used, and used effectively. That said, it is very important to look at these online communications and information sharing options as existing within a more complex online ecology.

      No online tool, channel or other resource exists in a vacuum and very few if any of the people we try to reach only use one of them – any one of them. So it is very important to find ways to leverage the strength of online resource context and integrate the strengths and capabilities that context of resources provides to convey a more compelling message. This is true for options like Twitter that can be very useful or very bad for you and tricky to effectively manage. It is true for options that might seem more bullet-proof and forgiving of sloppy implementation. I write of cross channel communications and marketing and related with this in mind, that we create and benefit from the synergies inherit in these online resource ecosystems. Whoever does this best, online communicates and markets most compellingly to the markets they are trying to reach and win over.

  2. Jessica said, on October 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Your post about twitter brings up a good point. When information is cut down to such concentrated bits, it can either be cut down to the most relevant information, or cut down to meaningless fluff. Twitter seems easy to use on the surface, but only the users who are most skilled can really use it well to transmit meaningful information. Without making sure to only follow meaningful posters, a user’s news feed can be full of nonsense tweets. Using Twitter well is a skill and many businesses would benefit from having someone on staff who has this skill.

    • Tim Platt said, on October 19, 2009 at 10:07 pm

      Most businesses only have to come up with really effective tag lines when doing major branding updates. Twitter makes that demand more a 24/7 proposition. The best commercial pre-Internet I can think of for effective ongoing use of tweet formats has to be all those old Burma Shave signs – they created name recognition and a marketing momentum that has survived the company by decades and all in tweet-sized bites. Thanks for your posting which I completely agree with.

  3. […] Haiku marketing – tweeting and re-tweeting for viral marketing …18 Oct 2009 by Tim Platt  Twitter and its basic approach of following tweets from accepted sources and sharing them to larger audiences through re-tweets has incredible potential for making viral communications and viral marketing really work. … […]

  4. […] and Opportunities in Up To 140 Characters – Twitter and business networking (written long) • Haiku Marketing – tweeting and re-tweeting for viral marketing reach and impact () and • Business and Convergent Technologies 25 – an open letter to UN-GAID regarding Haiti […]

  5. […] • Problems and opportunities in up to 140 characters – Twitter and business networking (written long). • Haiku marketing – tweeting and re-tweeting for viral marketing reach and impact. […]


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