Lying, Begging & Promising in Social Media

I think I’m starting to see why people think it’s important to gain Twitter followers. They think you can use Twitter in ways that you actually can’t. I touched on this in “Shilling Away Your Social Capital”, but I think we need to think about this a little more deeply.

Stop Begging

Bill CammackBegging on Twitter will net you diminished returns, and quickly. First of all, if you’re begging people to come to your site, event or live stream, that means NOBODY’S THERE to begin with. That’s YOUR fault. You didn’t pub it correctly. You didn’t let people know what was happening. You didn’t inform them WHY they should show up, which is the most important thing.

If nobody showed up to your live stream, take that as a hint that nobody cares. Instead of making yourself look even worse by begging and then STILL nobody shows up, accept the situation and roll with it. Also.. Do not alienate the few people that decided to check out your show by acting like they don’t matter. If you wanted more people than you got?… Keep. It. To. YourSELF and keep broadcasting. If there are more people in the room than on your live stream, that’s the way the cookie crumbled. The show must go on. Live with it.

If you insist on begging, understand that nobody’s going to click ANYWHERE just because you asked them to. Your task is to provide them INCENTIVE in the format of text which explains what they’re going to see, hear or receive if they show up. If you can’t do that, don’t expect any viewers, AND retain whatever integrity you have left by not begging at all. Inform people about what’s happening, and if they show up, they show up.

Stop Promising

Stop promising people that you’re going to provide them with an audience when you publicize them. Nobody cares about YOU. They care about the content that you’re providing them. If you’re streaming the UFC fights, fans of the UFC are going to show up. Do not regard this as any form of Social Media Clout that you personally have. They came for the content.

This is what people don’t understand about having Twitter followers. It doesn’t give you any actual influence over the people that are following you because you’re not an AUTHORITY in ANYTHING. I know about video editing, music, beer and chicks. If I Twitter something about an antique auction, NOBODY’S GOING TO SHOW UP!

Knowing that, I’m not going to promise an antique dealer that I can get ANY decent percentage of my 2,300 Twitter followers to view a stream about his or her business. I’ve seen people with TEN TIMES the number of Twitter followers that I have beg and plead for people to show up somewhere and have fewer than 30 viewers at any given time during the broadcast.

So promise people and companies what you can provide… A Stream. Period. Don’t promise them that you have 20,000 Twitter followers in your pocket, because you don’t. ‘Matter of fact, if you aren’t any good at providing the video stream, don’t even promise them that. Call it a day.

Stop Lying

Stop lying about what the topic is going to be if people show up to your show. Stop lying about who’s going to be on your show. Stop lying about contests where you can potentially win things. Stop lying about how much Social Media Capital you have. The more you lie the more credibility you LOSE and that’s what this game is all about.. Conversion of Cred.

People are so busy trying to convert that they’re alienating their viewers/readers with bad leads, bad links, worthless content and lies. This is why your returns diminish, practically immediately. People know after you dupe them a couple of times that either you don’t know what you’re talking about or that you deliberately lie to people to get them to show up so you can claim to a client that you’ve brought attention to their site or product. Meanwhile, the only people showing up are the ones that haven’t figured out that you’re using false pretenses to get them there in the first place.

Assume Curiosity

Out of the few people that show up when you announce something, assume that a number of those people are only there to watch the latest ‘train wreck’. Some of them are only there to see if you got it right this time. Some of them are there to see if you subcontracted the work this time to someone who knows what they’re doing. Some of them are only there to see if your tactics are gaining you more of a following or less of one. Some of them were there because they randomly select shows to watch all day and happened to select yours for the time being. Some of them are there because they saw your show in the “now live” section and wanted to see what was going on inside.

Also assume that most of these curious people are not people that you’ll be able to convert into passionate viewers, much less subscribers for your next event. Also assume that if you put a decent-looking female on the screen that half of your viewers don’t even speak English and are waiting to see if they’ll get to check out her ass.

Plan Effectively

If you want people to show up to your site or show, make sure you have the content and personnel on hand to attract viewers. Do not BEG people to show up. Inform them of what’s available for them and allow them to show up if they feel like it. Tell them that the creators of a site they love are in the house and taking live questions. Inform them that they can get a sneak preview of something in demand if they show up to your stream. Tell them that an expert in whatever is giving out tips on how to increase their efficiency or proficiency in that field. Tell them that you’re discussing a currently hot topic live for the next hour or so.

Let people know about these things ahead of time. Let them plan their schedules so they can make time to come see their favorite stars or check out something on a topic they’re interested in. Help the viewers plan to take that late lunch so they can watch your show in peace without the boss hassling them. Help the viewers help YOU by telling THEIR friends that so-and-so is going to be on your show tomorrow or next week. Give your guests time to let THEIR fans know too so you have a better chance of them showing up.

Carefully select the events that you endorse. It’s in your best interest that people perceive you as an authority on something so they feel like if you’re suggesting it, it must be something worth watching. If you endorse just ANYTHING, you’ll become known for that and nobody will care when you link something. If you have to, make separate accounts for each niche that you want to be known in. People don’t want to hear about the greased-pig competition on your blog theme coding account.

Parting Gifts

Social Media is your opportunity to inform people about things you think are worthwhile and build your own credibility with your fans & followers. A lot of people these days are trying to use it as a way to trick viewers into arriving at a location and simultaneously trick the location owners that they’re receiving visits from passionate viewers. This trick isn’t going to last long, and you’re going to develop a reputation as someone who misuses Social Media and has no idea what they’re doing at all. That’s not how you want people to perceive you when that big break shows up and you get passed over because due to your history of trickery, you’re regarded as a lying, begging clown and not the Social Media Hero that you thought you were.

~ Bill Cammack

Twitter: BillCammack
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  1. Bill once again you post something so relevant it’s simply amazing. At times I have seen all of what you describe above, and for a moment I’ve thought of giveaways, and other things to gain viewer ship. In the end I realized that I wouldn’t be real with my audience. The next time I show up they are gonna want more free stuff.

    I don’t want to trick anyone, and your post gives me the understanding that I was right when I choose not to use gimmicks.

    Great Post

    1. Thanks man. 🙂

      See, there’s nothing wrong with giveaways, so long as they’re relevant and consistent with whatever your themes are and so long as they’re rewards for members of your community that have already demonstrated that they’re interested in what you’re doing.

      You’re right that if you try to pull other people in with giveaways, they’ll show up with their hands out and leave when they don’t perceive any more. It’s fine to gain viewers, but you want PASSIONATE viewers, not passers-by. The reason you want that is when you announce something that’s relevant to your niche(s), you want to broadcast that to people who CARE about that niche. Therefore, it’s better to have 1,000 followers who all want to hear what you have to say or consider you an authority in something than to have 10,000 followers that don’t have any reason to value your opinion or follow your suggestions to click on a link or check out a site or event.

      I think the best way to gain followers is to inform them about your content. Inform them of what’s available if they follow @JaysonFlint, and the people that are interested will subscribe and if they get what they came for, they’ll tell their friends FOR YOU and your job is done.

      I actually need to write a post about PASSIONATE VIEWERS, because that’s something I learned about from @Drew Olanoff when we used to work on “Scriggity” together:

      Thanks for the props, man! 😀

  2. Bill – you’re just friggin’ funny. I love that. You’re informative, with a very clear point of view, and friggin’ funny. I’m RT this! – steph

  3. Bill, you told the truth & put it down in a time capsule:)

    Sadly enough, most newbies and even experienced Twitter users will fall on their own sword several times before realizing that dysfunction does not work online even if it appears to off line.

    Keep adding photos that drive home your point since it raised my curiosity enough to know that you were going to produce a smile and chuckle on one level or another!



    1. hahaha Thanks, Roney. I did kind of “use myself” right thurrr, with the pic of me trying to get some attention, hahaha. I wasn’t actually begging in that pic…. no… really.. I wasn’t…..

      But yeah, I think being a newjack in the city is part of the problem. You see people with followers and you want some too, but you don’t know how they got them or WHY they have them. You want to look popular with 1,000 followers, but you don’t have any content (on Twitter or off) which might make people naturally want to hear what you have to say. So you jump in the game with everyone else and end up with a bunch of people that followed you for NO REASON that you can’t convert in any valuable way shape or form.

      1. Self-sustaining pimp move all the way:)

        Just to touch on JayMoney’s comment about giveaways: I did a giveaway earlier this year of 2 HD camcorders.

        Although the giveaway led to an increase of registered users of a new site, there were so many lessons learned on multiple levels and dimensions that I would not have learned elsewhere.

        As a result, I highly recommend a giveaway just for the education and personal discovery alone.

        The giveaway will reveal true friends, haters, and people up and down the food chain in terms of the giveaway itself.

        If the giveaway is truly a valuable item, the effort will reveal your heart and intentions more than many other techniques will allow and doubly so if you have people who unregister simply because they did not win:)

        The giveaway has yet to be repeated although I can easily see taking it to a higher level than my own comfort zone would allow at the time it ended:)



        1. That’s really interesting. If you made a post about your findings, please feel free to link it here or email it to me. I’m definitely interested in reading about it.

          As an uneducated guess, I’d say that a giveaway would be useful to temporarily put eyes on a particular site. I wouldn’t use it for something subscription based because a) like you said, when people don’t win, they’re going to unsubscribe and b) the people that DID subscribe didn’t do so because they liked your content or were interested in anything other than potentially winning a camera.

          Also, I would have to have a merit-based giveaway. I can’t stand those “draw your name out of a hat” joints haha. It would have to be a contest where I would be able to demonstrate why I selected whichever entry to be the winner.

  4. Bill,

    Thanks for a great post. I had not thought about people aggressively doing some of the things you have mentioned here. Certainly, if you think about it, you do see that what you are saying is true.

    I have been trying to compile posts relevant to my target market of people aspiring to be baby boomer entrepreneurs. I certainly plan to share a link to this great post. i would want them to learn what you are saying and avoiding going down this wrong path as they try to establish their business. Thanks for the great heads up.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Shallie. 🙂

      Twitter is a platform. There aren’t any rules to using it. People come to the table knowing what they want to get out of it and then they invent ways to make that happen. There aren’t any ethics involved. You use it for what you use it for.

      The thing is… When you’ve been on the service for years already and see people coming in all of a sudden with new tactics, like these “get followers fast” schemes and basically using Twitter to further their own agendas at the expense of their social credibility and perhaps also at the expense of their BUSINESS credibility, it’s obvious that they don’t know the detrimental effect they’re having. They think they have some new toy, where you do whatever you want and everything’s always positive. “Cry Wolf” enough times and you’ll find out down the line that all that advertising you were doing dug you into a hole that you suddenly wish you weren’t in.

  5. Oopsy, deleted the original comment. You’re dead on. Too many begging Keith Sweat’s, let it go, provide some content.

    1. That’s just the problem. People don’t realize that good content creates the buzz you need. Over-hyping productions with garbage content just makes you look like a snake oil salesman and you’re eroding your own cred. Sooner or later, people know you as the person that talks A LOT about nothing that’s ever worth anything.

    1. Thanks, Wayne. 🙂

      It’s really a shame to see people build something and then go the wrong direction with it because all they saw was a chance to pimp people instead of actually communicating with them, getting to know them and what they want and actually providing a useful service to the world.

      It’s not always how many followers someone has on a site or app, it’s also about HOW those followers were attained and how “valuable” they actually are. If people are “listening” to what you have to say, but aren’t actually interested in YOU or your niche, you don’t have any valuable people to bring to the table when you tell a client you can pull an audience.

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