Twitter Parasites – Who needs them?


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I have written often about fan and follower numbers and that you must look at your overall objectives before jumping into the recruitment game. Simply adding followers for the sake of looking more influential may not advance the agenda aside from the obvious fact that internally you look might more successful.

For pure consumer retail companies, the more the merrier, after all the target market for Starbucks or Pepsi is everyone in the world. But I spend my time looking at insurance, telecommunications and health where the target market for social is more limited so should recruitment be more selective? Of course it should – that’s the simple response but look closer at your followers. Among them and often in large numbers are analysts, experts, self proclaimed and actual social media gurus who have no personal interest in your products. What value do they bring? Quite simply, they can spread a message, by re-tweeting.

Look at the problem they face; they cannot build their audience without sending multiple tweets each and every day – they need material. Informing the world what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner gets old very fast – when will people realize this? They need interesting “stuff” and that where you come in– they are ‘re-tweet parasites. In nicer terms, they are the ‘bees that spread the pollen’.

Now, let me admit up front that I am a ‘re-tweet parasite’, I only have a limited amount of original thought and that is drained by 8:30 in the morning.  So yes, the tweeter bees or parasites are a valid audience, you need them and they need you – so think of content that attracts and satisfies their needs. The real of value of social media is the degree of amplification of your message, reaching a new audience through people they know and trust.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Terry Golesworthy
As the president of The Customer Respect Group for 7 years, I focus on the online experience of consumers. Online experience has always been bigger than the company website, from the response to email to integration to other offline channels. It has now grown to include social media.


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