While Facebook is mailing signs to businesses, I’m pretty sure no one is helping them understand Twitter – for free anyways. After all, Twitter is for narcissists, right? It occurred to me the other day that the phrase, “Follow us” or “Follow me on Twitter” is getting things off to the wrong start. Businesses should all aspire to connect with people who are engaged and interested in conversation, creating a value exchange – Twitter is just one of many tools to enable that access to direct conversations. Companies can ultimately activate that engagement by providing value first and asking for help in return.
My point: A business that says “Follow Us on Twitter” is going to be more and more likely to treat twitter as an opt in broadcast channel, which can ultimately damage the relationship among all the other noise and duck the value of engaging customers (and potential customers) in conversation.
I propose the following to the Twitter Pantheon: Get rid of “Follow Us” signs on web pages, blogs, email, direct mail, catalogs, billing inserts and anywhere else a business wants to use a badge. Replace it with the phrase: “Talk to Us on Twitter.” It’s a simple change that will encourage conversation from the onset and also change expectations within your organization of how Twitter can be used – more than just pushing messages. (I did a Google image search and found that only the Frederick, MD Chamber of Commerce had a quick badge on their site using the same language.)
A Little Help
Inspired by Christopher Penn’s post, I’m going to make it easy for you. Just edit the name in this flash tool below (feedreaders may need to click through to enable) and download the image. – You’ll have a jpg that you can use anywhere. If you prefer here is a photoshop template you can download and edit to your heart’s desire:
[SWF]/wp-content/uploads/TwitterLogo.swf, 500, 350[/SWF]
Here are a couple of examples, one for Whole Foods because I happen to be a fan and one for my employer.