Monday, July 20, 2009

Twitter ‘expert” or Twitter ‘twit’?

It really is buyer beware out there – even on free webinars

Social Media’s reputation for being a bit like the Wild West of old is not helped by the current proliferation of people “selling” their Twitter “expertise.”

Just today I came across this pitch (selected quotes here) for a free Webinar that you just know is really a sales pitch:

“What is Twitter? Is Twitter for me? Can I increase sales? Can I increase brand awareness? Learn the ‘Secrets’ of Twitter and why you NEED to be there.” It goes on to say that “During this one hour event you will discover best practices” which it says includes “How to be on the fast track for your business” and “Results-driven sales strategies you can use in your marketing plan.”

This is an odd thing, really, because this sounds like old school “push” selling not at all like New School “customer engagement” for which Social Media such as Twitter is better suited.

But there are other clues that this particular person (whom I should, but will not name) is selling themselves as an expert in Twitter when really they may have little to offer on that platform. For example, this person:

- Does not list their Twitter handle in their promotional materials, which might lead you to suspect he/she does not want to be checked up on.

- Joined Twitter in October last year and in nine months has tweeted a total of 180 times – or an average of 20 times a month. But almost 40 of those tweets came in the past week as the date for the webinar drew close.

- Ranks poorly across numerous Twitter grading sites. For example, Twitalyzer ranks their Twitter use as “very, very low” or “very low” across three of five categories and “slowly emerging” in another.

Tips for detecting a “Twit”

1. Find their Twitter name and look at their profile. Pay attention to number Following vs. Followers and the number of Updates. If there is a Web link check out the site the Twitter profile is linked to. What you find there will often reveal a lot about the person behind the Twitter account.

2. Use Twitter Search to plug in their user name and see how much activity shows up and, perhaps more importantly, when it shows up. A savvy Twitter user will not have clusters of tweets at a given time ona given day and then long gaps of inactivity.

3. Use Twitter grading tools to see if this “expert” ranks well among other Twitter users. Two quick ones:

Twitter Grader: Here you enter the “expert’s” Twitter name and see how they score. Do not be overly impressed by a score in the low- to mid-90s (on a scale of 100). An actively engaged Twitter user will score 97, 98, 99 or even 100 out of 100. This tool also tells you how long the user has been on Twitter.

Twitalyzer: This tool measures a Twitter user in five areas: Influence, Signal, Generosity, Velocity and Clout. It also tells you the trends for this user from “unchanged” to “improving.” A user with generally low scores and trends that are “unchanged” in all five areas is likely less than fully engaged in Twitter.

In summary, anyone seeking expertise in any Social Media such as Twitter would be well advised to do a little research – and the social web makes this easier than ever.

Related Posts
10 Commandments for Social Media
Twetiquette: 10 basics for Twitter politeness
10 Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter
Fighting Twitter Pyramid Schemes
The Twitter Term “Twanker”


  1. Mike, great post, thank you.In business, there are always those who will take advantage, especially when things are new.

    I suggest that people look at the background of the person. Are they a sales person? Are they a web designer? Are they from marketing? Do they have a blog? Ask other people for recommendations or if they know the person before you spend your time or money with them.

    I hope this article: "Beware the Social Media Charlatans" will save someone some from getting taken in.

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