Brian Sollis, You CAN Do Better


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In a post on Fastcompany entitled “21 Twitter Tips From Socially Savvy Companies”, Brian Sollis uses examples from a number of companies to provide suggestions about how to use Twitter effectively. While Brian is a cut above most social media commentators, his article is very misleading. He has loads of company when it comes to: “Look, these guys did this and succeeded so you should too”. It doesn’t work that way.

Below are the comments I tried to make on his post, but there appeared to be a technical error at that time. Come on Brian. A little more depth here.

With respect, this article presupposes something that is not true. That one can emulate successful company’s actions and succeed. That is simply not so. If you are Zappos, you can do what they have done. None of us are Zappos. You cannot transplant something from a company with a unique culture, market position and resources to another company with different characteristics. Same with Dell.

It’s great that we can get researched articles such as this, but let’s understand how superficial this is. Again, with respect, it’s true that Dell leveraged Twitter for coupon delivery, but it’s pretty much understood at this point that they cannibalized sales they would have had from other channels, making the sales figures faulty in a business sense. BTW, the figures quoted are about double the $3 mill, coming it at about 6 million. In addition, while Dell did good tracking to link their coupon distribution to sales (a rare thing to establish causal relationships), could they have done even better with sales by handing out coupons on the street, or using some other method.

We NEED proper analysis if we are going to pay attention to “thought leaders” like Brian.

The problem of superficiality and not verifying facts is so rampant that I cannot even take as credible anything else in this article. Brian has tons of company, I’m afraid.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


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