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Is Twitter Shallow?

Question: Is Twitter actually useful? I feel like it’s impossible to form a meaningful relationship in 140 characters and I don’t have that much time to devote to Twitter.

You wouldn't be the first to lament that Twitter's bite-sized exchanges are inane and unimportant. But Twitter’s focus on “the small stuff” has two advantages:

1. Twitter’s low-key nature makes it the only venue in which it’s completely appropriate to chat up a creative - about something relevant, of course - who normally wouldn’t give you the time of day.

2. While you won’t be baring your soul, you can get closer to genuine conversation than you would by “copyschmoozing.”

The Marketing Lab Social Media It Twitter actually useful to form relationships with clients resized 600

Copyschmoozing: Hiding Behind Bio Statements and Blog Posts

The longer the piece of writing, the more artists tend to copyschmooze: censor and edit themselves into the same sanitized persona. For example:

  • John Photographer: passionate about light, can execute your vision on budget
  • Jane Illustrator: years of experience, diverse clients, loves her morning coffee
  • Jack Artist Rep: top talent for any project

But if I'm a prospective client, what does a cautiously-worded spiel tell me about the chemistry we'll have while working on my next project? Even blogs can still feel edited and restrained.

Twitter is for Humans, Not Brands

Who do you feel more connected to?

  • John: professional, experienced and friendly
  • Jane: professional, experienced and friendly - but also: finally beat her nephew at foosball, saw an ad campaign so compelling it knocked the wind out of her, and has a funny response to your complaint about a hostile barista

Not only can Twitter help you make contact with those elusive creatives, it may even be a more effective vehicle than a long piece that smells of nervous, at-least-five-revisions copywriting. The immediacy, brevity and relatively quick death of each Tweet encourages you to share the humbler, more casual moments between saving clients from peril or utilizing your creative genius.

For a real life example, I recently needed an illustrator. From several competent artists, I settled on one whose Twitter feed made her seem friendly, passionate and down-to-earth. Perhaps the other candidates would have been equally pleasant to work with, but their websites were so neutrally written and meticulously branded, how would I know?

No Time to Tweet

Yes, to grow a hefty base of followers you'll need to make a more time-consuming investment. But for the purposes of asserting your humanity to a drive-by client, start small:

  • Post once per day
  • Follow creatives of interest, and occasionally reply in a casual, conversational tone to their tweets
  • No need to be devastatingly profound; just share what you're excited about, laughing at, or pondering – especially if it’s industry-related
  • Withhold anything incriminating or unprofessional, but don't be afraid to let your humanity shine through

Twitter may not be the deepest social media network, but it's one of the most promising avenues for letting clients see the person behind the presentation. Give it a shot!

About Melissa

Melissa Pang is Agency Access' copywriter, with several years under her belt working with artists at FoundFolios and The ADBASE Group. Melissa loves a good adverb, keeps one eye (or two) on the advertising industry and has a soft spot for illustration. Agency Access

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