Qwitter and Twollow: Twitter Tools and Brand Development

by Matt @ Kurb on December 8, 2008

“In massive, hyper connected online communities, attempting to get everyone to like you is a branding fail!

Thought I’d do a quick post on Twitter, it just didn’t turn out to be that quick.

I’m talking about two twitter tools – “qwitter” and “twollow” and using these two tools as examples of “enablers” – tools that can allow you to indulge in poor branding habits. And poor branding does not build tribes of active followers for which you can provide value for in a digital environment.
So I’ve been using Twitter more actively over the last few months.

Initially I began using it because of my belief – especially after my facebook fail – that you should always start participating in communities where a buzz is going on, and the buzz around twitter has become sustained to the point that it may just start going more mainstream.

When an online community gets a buzz around it, that is, it gets seriously adopted by a critical mass of high profile users, it’s important to get in there and grab your branded url. Also if it’s an easy sign up like twitter, why not also take advantage of a nice high quality link back to your site.

If you’re just gonna sign up, at least get your backlink! Sheesh.

So I just took the advice any Social Media expert would give you and just got in there.

I started with a massive branding fail by selecting my twitter handle as “MattNZ”. as in, A guy called Matthew who’s key brand association on twitter was that I come from New Zealand.

Not really creating much of a powerful branding message there.

I just figured Twitter was a place where I didn’t know exactly who I’d be interacting with yet.

Other internet marketing people? Other digital music industry people? Musicians and Clients? People who I was connected to through my own personal music interests? Happy reunions from the Myspace days?
Well it turned out to be all of the above, but my experiences on Twitter – oh and also being censored for “spamming” music think tank – have been events that triggered my recent interest in developing my brand.

I first started using twitter more actively for fun. I haven’t got any hot dates on twitter – yet – but I reasoned . . . I was sure getting a lot more done these days than the myspace/facebook timesuck.

And so despite my (un)clever “MattNZ” branding strategy, it turned out through the connections I was making that twitter became mainly a place where I could network with other New Zealanders who were working in and around similar fields – marketing, music, internet and social media.

Not really network in the sense of “work”, mainly more community, and “listening” and picking up the vibe “out there” amongst my contemporaries, what was happening, and adding my own tweets reflecting on some of what I was experiencing in a professional capacity, plus the odd announcements related to my own creative stuff.

Being me I tend to be pretty irreverent sometimes. But I was having fun, so it was all fine and dandy. Until I got my first unfollow.

I remember when I used to notice my friend count on myspace go down.

What’d I do? What’d I say? Who doesn’t like me? Why can’t we be friends?

That’s when I first heard about Qwitter, a twitter tool that tells you who unfollowed you and after which of your last “tweets”. And I very almost jumped straight on it, as I always obsessed whenever I saw my follow list go down. But I was able to recognise that.

At first I blamed twitter, felt that I’d got too involved in it. Felt that there was a homogenous atmosphere of ideas and attitudes that perhaps I didn’t fit into.

That’s when I started getting serious with where I was at with my brand. In the same way I was haranguing my clients to bring more clarity to their brand to engage with their targets, and I had already recognised the the trends that were blurring the professional and the personal; It was time for me to embrace the true character of the value I provide and the goals I aspire to and wear it with pride, to better cut through the noise and connect with those who will value it most.

And if there are people on Twitter or on Music Think Tank or anywhere else that doesn’t like that, then good!

In massive, hyper connected online communities, attempting to get everyone to like you is a branding fail!

I don’t want to be connected to people for whom I don’t provide value. I only want to engage people who are ready and understand my message, and for that to be possible I need to be fully articulating that brand.

I’m still a little hesitant understandably. I don’t want to alienate and offend people, but without strong branding messages, how else am I going to stand out and become a champion to those who believe in my message, how do I grow my tribe?

Not by worrying about who I’m going to upset, and accepting that I am going to upset and alienate a portion of people I come into contact with, and not everyone who follows me on twitter is going to be interested in what I’m doing. But in a modern marketing and branding environment where I choose my clients and my customers as much as they choose me, what outrages, offends and bores one group will enlight and inspire another, as long as I committed to providing value and not sailing off on a big ego trip.

Qwitter, I should mention does have a useful function if you’re trying to learn what you could possibly be doing wrong, but is it really worth the analytical effortand attitude adjustment for one person or wouldn’t you rather be yourself?

Because afterall, my brand is about no frills monetisation. Put time and effort in, get money out. And getting money is about doing numbers, and when you’re talking about “doing the numbers” the opinions of one or two people who disagree with you don’t really matter in the greater scheme of the world wide web.

Twollow is another twitter tool which has a spammy side to it in that if you enter certain keywords or keyphrases into the app, it will have you follow any user who tweets that term.

Now everyone knows I’m no angel when it comes to spam. But I am always an advocate of using automated tools in a smart way.

The problem is I end up being “twollowed” by all these idiot internet marketers from all around the world who twollow stupid terms like “marketing” for example so they end up following everyone on twitter who uses the word “marketing”.

Do I want to be connected and networking with whole a lot of dumb ass internet marketers from overseas with less of a clue than me and whom I have very little in common?

No, I want to be known as a guy in online music marketing who’s unapologetically successful because he helps bands to stay in the black. I create succesful digital businesses and online marketing campaigns to promote them, some of them belong to me, some to others, many to musicians and other content providers.

That fact that I have a lot of clients who are childrens entertainers for example, makes no difference.

Children’s entertainers have got to eat too. Everyone knows what moneyspinners acts such as The Wiggles, australias highest grossing act are, why do you think I’m working on so many kids projects? I’m not the one up there singing the songs!

I may be more Donald Trump than Bob Dylan.

And if the brand and the message I create is a clear one that reaches an audience who are looking for that message, for customers who feel that their problems are articulated as financial, then you don’t want Bob Dylan telling you the answer’s blowing in the wind.  They’ll be looking for someone who knows how to get results online.

And I’ll be looking for clients who understand in most cases that takes longer than 6 months.

Not everyone has to like what I do and the way I do it. But everyone’s got something to learn because from where I am, what I do looks like it works.

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