Navigating social media is not necessarily easy. I have fallen prey to trolls and a scam or too and way more clickbait than I’d care to admit (yes…I DO want to know what those celebrities look like today). But even with everything I’ve ever done wrong on social media, there are still blunders that boggle my mind. Enter Spiral and my old boss.

One of the things I really love about my old boss is his inability to bullshit. I mean, I’m sure he could probably bullshit with the best of them. He’s incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable. But he chooses not to and that’s what I love about him. In any case, one day he was tweeted at by a company called Spiral. In particular, their “collaborative classroom technology product manager and evangelist”. He tweeted out a to a large number of individuals, the following message,

“Hi, name redacted, Good news! Spiral is now compatible with Edmondo – try it out…insert link here”

My boss’s response?

“And who the fuck are you and why would I care?”

How can you be a product manager and evangelist and seemingly have no idea how to do social media marketing? Did someone authorize this man to speak for Spiral? Did they know what would happen? And how could someone be so obtuse?

Let me start by saying that there are good ways to automate social media marketing and some piss poor ones. Spiral, is a good example of the latter. Here’s what they did.

  1. Find a word that you think is closely associated with your product.
  2. Set up an automated tweet to go out to anyone that posts a tweet with that keyword.
  3. Just sit back and let the money roll in, hand over fist.

That’s how it works, right? Well, yes…and in this case, no.

Keyword research is important, obviously. Ask any marketer and they’ll tell you that finding the right words, the words that your customers and potential customers are using, is absolutely key to developing your online advertising strategy. But finding the right words is the first step, not the only step, and this is what Spiral failed to understand.

You can’t just yell at everyone that happens to use the right keyword. You might, on occasion, have to have at least some cursory understanding of context. I’ve received countless tweets from company’s because they found a word that I tweeted and thought, “oh, he used the word gym, we should probably talk to him about our new workout video.” Sadly, what I said was, “I’d rather die a thousand deaths than enter a gym or workout.” But companies like this, like Spiral, don’t care about context.

If you work in marketing, especially new media marketing, please, please understand context and stop tweeting me your stupid pitches just because I tweeted a word that makes you think about your product. As for Spiral, I think you have a long road ahead of you if this is how you market.

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