How do you spell Twitter without a Strategy? T-O-Y…

imagesIt didnt take me near as long to decide I didnt agree with the message in Rob Hahns post The Tragedy of a Twitter Strategy as it did for him to write it.  Rob is kinda known for his lengthy, pithy and well thought out introspections of current social media culture and habit. Usually, I can full heartedly agree with him.  Ocassionally, I get the grand AHAH! and am amazed at the insight and vantage point he scribes from.  Every Blue moon?  He is just dead wrong.

Today there is a blue moon…

To fully understand my sentiment you really need to read Robs entire prose.  But if you are short on time or terrible ADD. (guilty as charged) Let me sum up for you the paragraph that raised my cockles and sent the “that is the exact opposite of how I feel” feeling down my arm, through my fingers and ultimately out to my keyboard…  Here is the flawed opinion…

Rob Hahn says “Plus, please recognize that Twitter inherently assumes that you already have a relationship of some sort; it’s the only way in which a 140-character text message makes sense. If we don’t have a relationship, or a distant business relationship, I really don’t care what you’re having for lunch.

If we’ve embarrassed ourselves at karaoke together one drunken night, then I actually care that you’re doing laundry. Probably. Maybe. Sort of.

So, want more followers on Twitter? Go out more. Throw parties and events. Want to maximize your investment in Twitter? Go make more relationships — you know, away from the keyboard. Then use Twitter to maintain and expand those existing relationships.

This just is not right…  and I was forced to respond…


Hey my, “did he really use his YALE education to come to that conclusion?” dearest friend…

You are missing the point as duly expressed within this pearl of wisdom…

So, want more followers on Twitter? Go out more. Throw parties and events. Want to maximize your investment in Twitter? Go make more relationships — you know, away from the keyboard. Then use Twitter to maintain and expand those existing relationships.

Look, if you WANT to use twitter as a toy, go for it. No rules, no holds-barred. Go ahead and sling it around like a toy gun at a shooting range. If it brings you friends, maintains relationships or destroys your existing ones… who cares, its a toy.

But if you WANT to use twitter as a sphere of influence building tool? (the SOI is still the number one quoted source of biz for agents) then have a strategy. A strategy means, decide WHO you are going to invite into your SOI, decide how to convert them, and go about it in a systematic method.

Look Rob, if you and I didn’t know each other, and JeffX and I were best friends… and you and JeffX were best friends… You probably NEED to be in my SOI, and I, yours. I may be an asset to you both socially and professionally and visa versa. But outside SM, I cant just call you and say.. Hey Rob, I know a guy you know…etc. etc.

It breaks my social contract with MY friend, JeffX… (this is the Seinfield equivalent of “worlds colliding.”) But with the SM space and Twitter I AM allowed to contact you, reach out and talk about Jeffx as our mutual friend, and common interest. We share this in common. Much more meaningful than a bad song in a Karaoke bar.

Imagine, now if I reached out, deliberately and systematically with all my current friends of SOI. These are people who I have a ton in common and the only distance between then now, a total stranger and members of my SOI? (which they will soon be)One conversation.

Twitters’ relaxed social nature facilitates this type of conversation. I ge the opportunity to reach out and meet new people with whom a have a ton in common and my SOI grows strategically and exponentially. Most important is these are people who have a valuable third party reference of my caring and trust worthy character. (which makes them perfect SOI members and possible future clients)

Now ask your agent clients this question. What woould it do to your business if you could use twitter to reach out to people just beyond your current SOI, and increase your SOI by 3 times… or 5 times.

What would this do to your business?

Now, instead of meeting people over a course of “you make me feel like a natural women,” and inviting them to hang with me ONLINE.. I will be meeting people in a designed manner and inviting them to meet me OFFLINE..

This is how you build friendships and future clients.

5 thoughts on “How do you spell Twitter without a Strategy? T-O-Y…”

  1. Hey Jim –

    I suppose it's appropriate that I be the first to respond 🙂 First, thanks for your comment and disagreement; you know I believe in learning through argument, heh.

    I guess your argument boils down to something along the following:

    1. Sphere of Influence (“SOI”) is the key to success as a real estate agent.
    2. Expanding one's SOI is the most important marketing one can do.
    3. Twitter lets you leverage your existing SOI to reach people they know, thereby increasing your SOI.
    4. The “relaxed social nature” of Twitter lets you easily traverse the “six degrees of separation” in Twitter to reach people you want to reach.

    Let me know if I got that wrong.

    I suppose that's possible. Let me distract you completely with an anecdote from my younger, single days.

    Back when I was single, living in NYC, with a couple of other gainfully employed, but lonely and horny single dudes, we used to talk about the strategy for picking up chicks all the time. Of course, now that I'm married, I never have those conversations anymore.

    One of the strategies we came up with was what we used to call the “Yahoo Strategy” — this was when Yahoo was the dominant search engine. Whoa, dating myself. 🙂 The Yahoo Strategy involved getting close to ugly girls we knew from college days or from work or whatever, and making sure she was invited to all of our parties and such. We figured that she would bring her friends who were cute, and that we would leverage our relationship with her to “link into” her friends.

    Surprisingly to our young minds, this did not work as well as we'd imagined.

    First, the Yahoo Girl usually suspected our motives; one of them even said to us, “You guys are using me to get to my friends.” Hmm, so we weren't particularly original, I guess….

    Second, the Yahoo Girl and her friends almost always conferred like they were UN bureaucrats after every party/meeting. It was like they were compiling a dossier on each of us, comparing notes, what we said to whom, etc. I'm sure there was a fair amount of cockblocking involved as well, but who knows?

    The long and short of it was that we learned over time that if the Yahoo Girl did not initiate the introduction, we usually failed. Going up to a girl at a party and saying something like, “So… you're Karen's friend, eh?” resulted in the conversation being reported to Karen, and the rest of the Council, a judgment of something like, “He's such a dork” or “What a playa!” and that was that.

    What ended up working for us — well, some of us — was to become friends with Yahoo Girl for real and stop paying attention to her friends. We'd still party, go drinking, go dancing, whatever and if Yahoo Girl came, great; if she didn't, fine. Sometimes, she'd set one of us up with one of her friends, either directly or indirectly: “You know, that Steve is awfully cute — and he's really smart too!” or some such.


    I suppose my view is that expanding your SOI is a wonderful thing to do, and should be a focus for realtors. I just think Twitter isn't necessarily the best channel for it, however.

    First of all, exactly how “active” is your strategy going to be? Follow everyone who follows whoever follows you, then start sending them @replies? That doesn't strike you as… a wee bit creepy?

    Second, will you be seeking permission from your connection to do this? Or are you seriously just counting on the “relaxed social nature” thinking that's okay? Imagine one of your contacts reached out to one of your other contacts, “Hey, so you follow @jimmarks too? Great — I've got some oceanfront property I'd like to show you soon; DM me!” Think how mortified you'd be.

    FWIW, LinkedIn does it right with the in-network introductions; it goes through your link to his link to his link and so on. That's how it probably should be. But Twitter doesn't work that way now, does it?

    Third, I think 140 characters is hugely limiting. Of course, I go on and on and on, and can't seem to say “Hello” in fewer than 700 words… so there is that… but still, there's just not THAT much that can be said in 140 chars. It's just enough to maintain an existing relationship, but I'm not sold that it's adequate for developing new ones easily. I think about people I've met purely on Twitter vs. people I've met through other means — e.g., blogs — and it's just not that many people. Example — I met @HeyAmaretto through her blog, because she writes beautifully. That then went into Twitter, into Blip, and then we finally met at a Lucky Strikes in person. Now we're friends.

    Which is not to say it never happens; I've made enough friends on Twitter to know it does happen. But what I find is that usually, people don't become real friends until I've met them in person, or at a minimum engaged in long-form (usually blogging) to get to really know how they think, what they're interested in, etc.

    FWIW, I think you want to separate “Social Media” from “Twitter” because I think LinkedIn and Facebook are both extremely effective marketing channels. Twitter, on the other hand, meh at best as a marketing channel. Again, it roxxorz as a relationship channel, assuming you have a relationship to begin with.


  2. Got to agree that unless you have a relationship, splatter twitting seems to be like shouting at a cookout: the people you know are embarrassed for you and the ones you don't know are disgusted.

  3. Exactly! Rob's strategy is backwards.

    Why do you think “Follow Friday” is so popular…people want to expand their network and they want to share their associates with others who might have something in common.

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