Why celebrities get Twitter right, and you get it wrong

I follow a couple of celebrities on Twitter, and I expect that you do the same.  In fact, I’m pretty confident that almost everyone who uses Twitter has at least a couple of superstars in their following folder.  I guess that there are even people who signed up for Twitter solely to get their dose of celebrity tittle tattle straight from the horse’s mouth rather than reading it in Heat magazine.

Admittedly, celebrities get a lot of their followers on the strength of their popularity, but the chances are, if you’re a reasonably sized company with any marketing budget, as many people have heard of you as have someone like Iain Lee who has around 25,000 followers.

If you’ve ever looked enviously at the follower counts of other people on Twitter, the chances are that you’re doing Twitter wrong.

The biggest issue with a lot of corporate Twitter streams is that they are all about the company, and rather than being a two way stream, they are a one way shouting session that reads like this:

Buy our stuff

Buy our stuff

Buy our stuff

Buy our stuff

Read our blog

Buy our stuff

…and so on…

Who wants to read that?

The reason why celebrities are so popular on Twitter is that it breaks down the impenetrable barrier that is perceived to exist between ordinary people and them.  We all live vicariously through the exploits of others – whether becoming engrossed in a movie or watching a football match, we live out our fantasies indirectly without realising it consciously.  The celebrity Tweeter gives us access to a world that is ordinarily closed to us.  We get insight into the daily lives of Stephen Fry or Demi Moore, and that’s terribly exciting.

Typically, a celebrity Twitter feed will look like this:

I just did something cool.

I’ve just been somewhere awesome.

@somefan thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

I’m with @anothercelebrity at some place

My new DVD is out.

The difference is obvious:  Not only do they talk about something other than product, they recognise the fact that they are using a social network.  They interact with other people, give them a chance to be part of the discussion.

All too often, you see a lot of inbound comments to a business twitter address, but very few outbound responses.  There is a lack of engagement.

Celebrity Tweeters become popular because they say something interesting to their followers and understand them, a lot of corporate tweeters fail to get traction because they are trapped in a mentality that the feed needs to be all about them.

Your website is about you.  Social Media is about your customers.

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