Friday, June 26

Selling You On Twitter: uSocial


“We just signed a contract with a large Fortune 500 company who have invested around $22,000 with us to conduct a continuing Twitter marketing campaign. The package includes some custom-designed tactics for them, as well as some services of ours which are publicly available like our Twitter follower packages." — Leon Hill, CEO of uSocial.net

So what is uSocial’s Twitter follower packages? According to the OfficialWire, its suite of Twitter marketing services includes allowing their clients to buy Twitter followers.

Buy Followers?

Right. uSocial claims for an investment of only $87, "we'll bring you 1,000 brand new Twitter followers to your existing account, or we'll set up a new account for yourself or your business at no charge in order to deliver the followers." If you think that is a bargain, 100,000 Twitter followers is $3,479 (normally charged at $4,970), which makes us all cheap. Cheep.

“Our client has requested anonymity, however I can tell you they’re an organization in the health sector,” Hill told OfficialWire. “I wish I could say more, though I have to respect the wishes of my paying customers.”

We're not surprised. Any decision maker willing to purchase Twitter followers is unlikely to be authentic, externally or internally.

6 comments:

Kevin Goodman on 6/27/09, 9:36 AM said...

I have one twitter follower. So all I need to do is cough up 87 dollars? Then what? What do I do with 1,000 followers? Will that indicate that I'm an interesting dude to follow?

I'm being cynical, of course I understand the principal of ‘social proof’ which is prescribed by some sociologist as being among the most effective persuasive mechanisms. I suppose some people are still living in the past….Consumer vengeance is futile and this is just deceitful and disrespectful to our consumer intelligence.

Rich on 6/27/09, 12:54 PM said...

Kevin,

Exactly. The idea is that paid followers will make you seem more popular and Interesting, I imagine. And thus, more people will follow as a result.

But who cares?

The best case scenario is that it will skew traffic with people who aren't very interested. While it doesn't offend me, it's patently fake for both the external audience and the internal audience.

It's sort of like paying people to attend political rallies or walk door-to-door under the guise they are volunteering neighbors. Alas, grass roots becomes astroturf plugs.

Best,
Rich

David Reich on 6/28/09, 8:54 AM said...

Good post. Do we really need hordes of random followers who have no real interest in what we may have to say?

I referenced this post at "my 2 cents" at http://reichcomm.typepad.com

@Electricjuan said...

This will kill twitter and social

Bonnie Parrish-Kell on 6/28/09, 3:45 PM said...

Another perfect example, Rich, of folks scrambling to make a fast buck without any thought of future consequences - and not caring in the least what the true power of social media.

It's unfortunate that uSocial's new "client" doesn't include conversion metrics into their marketing strategies and tactics. If they did, they would soon learn that social media is not about selling, it's about establishing connections - real ones - with a variety of audiences that builds upon the "un-measurables" like trust, reliability and reputation.

@ElectricJuan - uSocial's approach won't kill Twitter and social media, only those who abuse those tools.

Rich on 6/29/09, 7:20 AM said...

David,

Solid post, though I'm not convinced the frequency alone is enough to matter much on Twitter. There is too much weight given to the number of followers because people are pursuing the perception of popularity.

We're run studies that show where some add value Twitter accounts (like Valeria Maltoni) do lead people to posts. But then there are some that have 10 times as many followers as Maltoni who post a link and nobody follows it.

Simply put, the perception of popularity and reality of influence do not meet on Twitter. Paid followers are nothing more than feeding self delusion, and in case, for someone else's profit margin.

@Juan It cheapens the Twitter brand, but won't kill it as long some foolish companies are willing to pay for it.

@Bonnie Social media can increase sales, with a variable split between direct sales and soft sales because the best programs do not discriminate how the customer might arrive at a purchase point.

However, you're right in that assumes the people who follow you are real people.

Best,
Rich

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