Blind tweeting and public pitching. Make it stop? Please?

Hitchcock bad tweets parody | Mom-101

As much as we’ve talked about bad blogger pitches over the years, I feel like I’m seeing more and more bad social media pitches lately. Which might even be worse. Because they’re public.

Yesterday, a brand I have never heard of tweeted a random statistic to me. It wasn’t on the topic of anything I had been discussing, and I was kind of sleep-deprived after the Oscars, to be honest, so it confused me a little. Had I missed some conversation I was supposed to be part of?

(Seriously, so sleep deprived that I walked out of the house with a bra hanging off my scarf. High point of my life.)

I tweeted back in a light way, asking why it was directed to me. The response from the brand was an expectation that I would retweet it to my followers.

Now I’m sure this is a brand with a relevant message of some kind for the right person and I’m not trying to call them out specifically. But I see it happening all the time, every day, all day long. I can’t imagine walking into a cocktail party, approaching the first stranger I see, and without introducing myself, handing them a business card saying, “pass this out to all your friends, okay?”

Then, when they don’t respond, I try it again. Only with Justin Bieber.

See, no one wins with blind pitches. Not even you, marketers. Even if you get a response or two, your stream doesn’t look like anything anyone wants to follow back.

@HuffingtonPost Promote our new boxer shorts that double as beer cozies!
@CoolMomTech Promote our new boxer shorts that double as beer cozies!
@lmayes Promote our new boxer shorts that double as beer cozies!
@AlphaMom Promote our new boxer shorts that double as beer cozies!

As for the people getting pitched to on Twitter, we are left with no good options. Either we’re jerks for ignoring them, jerks for trying to correct them, and if we take the time to say no, however kindly, we’re jerks for calling attention to the misstep.

I love Twitter. It’s an amazing forum (and a great way to let your network know you’re alive when you have been too busy to post on your blog for two weeks, ahem). But I can see why it’s so confusing for brands to figure out how to engage. Sometimes Twitter feels like a whole bunch of people all together in a room who believe they were invited for different reasons.

One guy is doing stand-up with a mic in hand, another person is spouting inspirational quotes, one woman is talking about her lunch, someone else is just repeating everything everyone else says–and then there are a whole bunch of people in the corner who just want to find the bar and chat loudly about the Most Shocking Rose Ceremony Yet. All the while, marketers of various stripes are tapping them each on the shoulder, interrupting to ask them to do something for their brand.

So with as much kindness and benevolence as I can muster, I am begging the brands and PR people who pitch individuals publicly on Twitter to try a new tactic. Find an email address. Write a letter. Use DM.

I’d imagine that no good relationships ever started with one person putting the other uncomfortably on the spot.

[image via]


23 thoughts on “Blind tweeting and public pitching. Make it stop? Please?”

  1. Here, here! I’ve also bee approached publicly on Twitter to help PR people find people to tweet in their Twitter parties. First, pay me, but second, no. Now I’m the dick who looks uncooperative or judgmental in public.

    1. I think that’s a lot of it. Otherwise nice people can’t really respond appropriately in 140–plus I don’t want to bore my followers with one-on-one conversations about someone’s pitch.

  2. Your comparison to an in-person conversation is spot-on. There’s a fair amount of extraneous noise on Twitter with entities trying to insert themselves into larger conversations without giving a thought to the bigger picture. These are conversations, for the most part, and interrupting with totally off-topic information is just as rude online as it is in person.

  3. I used to tweet back to those people/companies asking them to stop spamming me, but that usually started a really annoying conversation where they would explain why they weren’t spamming and I would explain why they were. Now I just send them here:

    My first draft had a line with my email address in it for pr people who couldn’t see where it says “Contact” in big letters at the top of EVERY PAGE of my blog, but then I took it out, because the odds of me actually wanting to work with people who are lazy spammers is pretty slim.

  4. Its unfortunate that there are some who feel that because they can easily access people it’s acceptable to ask for ‘favors’ from strangers. Im glad I’m old enough (cough, cough) to have done business before social media and I will always believe in relationship building not stranger blasting. And I am a marketer! But it is regularly made clear to me that people need to be coached in the old-school, hand shake, here’s my card if you need anything way of being in today’s market. Its my USP. Thanks for sharing….its nice to hear feedback from you and those who RT you.

    1. Thanks Catherine. I agree that old school isn’t always old, sometimes it’s just right. Even in new media.

  5. This is perfect, now we need every PR person to read this — especially the interns who are probably in charge of the Twitter account anyway, because it’s not like it could actually be important, right?

  6. This para: “One guy is doing stand-up with a mic in hand, another person is spouting inspirational quotes …”

    Best characterization of Twitter I have ever seen. Now The New Yorker needs to make a cartoon out of it.

  7. Ah, yes. In February a company suggested I incorporate their product in a “how to spoil your husband post.” Uh huh. I write a blog about divorce and being a single parent. Does that really sound like something my readers would be interested in? (Hint: The answer is not yes.)

    1. Oh my gosh, Lynn. I haven’t heard a story like that since all the infertility bloggers used to share their baby and kids’ product pitches. Companies really need to stop buying lists–or at least vet the blogs before they just dump the addresses into a database and pitch indiscriminately.

  8. I’m glad you’re mentioning this as it happens to me as well and I was not sure how to respond . Or not respond at all and feel rude about that. But they’re the ones being rude, thanks for pointing that out!

    I love Selfish Mom’s Spam page; Would love to turn that into an auto-responder!

    1. 🙂 I think somewhere down the line the credit should probably go to The Bloggess, for her picture of Wil Wheaton collating papers. That must have been my inspiration.

  9. Hi Liz, I actually find that social media is a great way to reach out to other bloggers in order to pitch posts. It has always been pretty well received in my experience. However, I can see how it might be annoying if not approached the right way. I don’t see why anyone would send a public tweet to pitch though.. you are right in saying that a DM is more appropriate.

    1. Thanks Kostas. Judging from the comments here (and on other channels) I’d say that social media maybe isn’t the best way to pitch posts. It might be a great way to reach out, or create relationships or join in on conversations, but I am getting the distinct impression that a public pitch of a post on any social media channel creates discomfort.

  10. It’s sad to see how some people use social media to spam others. How is that supposed to drive any business back to them? If anything, it’s hurting their brand. Social media is about creating good relationships with your customers.

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