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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Twitter, Part 3: What Twitter is NOT via @shelhorowitz

The Clean & Green Club      May 2012
Twitter, Part 3
Just for You
Hear & Meet Shel
Friends/ Colleagues
Book Review
Connect with Shel on Social Media: 

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About Shel & This Newsletter
As a marketing consultant and copywriter... award-winning author of eight books... international speaker, blogger, syndicated columnist — Shel Horowitz shows how green and ethical businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green competitors.

His most recent book is category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet.

Shel also helps authors/publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.

Shel began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it
's changed names a few times along the way).

"As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don't share with you, because I don't find them worthy)."

Twitter, Part 3: What Twitter is NOT  

Twitter Bird

Wrapping up our three-part series on Twitter. First, we looked at the advantages of Twitter for marketers, then last month, how to tweet for maximum benefit. We'll finish out by discussing how not to be a jerk on Twitter.

My title is a little bit pushy, in that for some people, Twitter is exactly these things—but they have few human followers (robots don't count) and no influence; it would have been more accurate to say, How Not to Use Twitter. But I didn't think about that when I lined out the topic titles in March.

Remember the key principle: Twitter is only worth doing if you create a tweet stream that people want to read. Otherwise, there's no point. Every person who follows you makes a decision whether to follow you. If they're using a tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite, they also decide whether to place you in a most-favored column of people they pay close attention to you. In my case, I am following 5823 people as of May 12, when I'm writing this. But really, I'm paying attention to about 100 in my "must follow" column. So here are some pointers on what not to tweet:

1. An endless barrage of self-promotion. If more than 50 percent of your tweets are promoting your products and services, you'll lose followers fast. I strive for a ratio of one self-promotional tweet to 10 other tweets.

2. Continuous Amazon (or other) affiliate links. I don't understand these people at all. Their entire stream is nothing but affiliate links, and the products usually have nothing to do with each other. I see a lot of these pages because my Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green book is a popular product to feature, and I do click through to the profile every time someone mentions my book or me. The most recent person to list my book this way has made 22,288 tweets (probably all automated), has 421 followers, and is following 486 people. Of those 421, I'll guess that 400 are from people who automatically follow back. In short, no one is reading, the account is not operated by a human, and affiliate commissions are probably near zero. Why bother?

3. Daily minutiae. If you tweet about what you had for breakfast, or that you've just brushed your teeth, you'd better do it in a way that's funny or interesting. and keep it to maybe one post in 50. This is one of several reasons I don't do Foresquare, which tweets your location with alarming frequency. (Not inviting burglars to my house is another reason.) Don't bore people into shutting you out.

4. Lists and lists of people to follow. Again, boring! I do one Follow Friday (hashtag #ff) and one #ecomonday a week, and I publicly thank people who list me as someone to follow. It's a very small part of my stream.

5. Spam. Duh! It doesn't work in social media any better than it works with e-mail. Sending the same URL to a lot of people you don't know, or direct-messaging a URL labeled as a picture of me when it's not is just plain stupid. In TweetDeck, I can block and report a spammer in exactly two clicks, and I will do so unless I think the sender was hacked. Sometimes I'll publicly shame them first. (And because I don't automatically follow back, I am not plagued with direct-message spam. I get one or two a month, usually when someone was hacked.)

Two final bits of advice: Get five or ten juicy, high-quality tweets up on your profile page, along with a picture and something useful in the bio box, before you start looking for followers. And stay away from all the robot game-the-system approaches to building a followers list. You want real people who influence others to be following you because they love your content, not a bunch of robots following back in.

If you'd like me to consider following you, I might or might not if you have an interesting screen name. But I will definitely visit your profile (maybe not right away—be patient) if you engage with me. So send me an @shelhorowitz message that tells me something you found useful or helpful about this series (hint: if the @shelhorowitz is not the very beginning of the tweet, more people will see it). If I like what I see on your profile, I will follow back. 

Just For You: JV Teleseminar with Robert Smith    

June 19, 7 pm ET/4 p.m. PT
Click for details on call-in information 

I'm a long-time fan of joint ventures (JVs), because they let you go to new markets and audiences on the arm of someone they already know and trust I used JVs to reach 5 million people for the launch of my most recent book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green—versus the roughly 25,000 I can reach on my own.

Robert, a JV expert, approached me recently about doing a program for you. I listened to one of his earlier programs and thought you would benefit by having me bring him in. You'll learn:

  • How to set up Joint Ventures to make fast cash—sometimes in just a few hours using your phone book
  • Secret method for mailing 10,000 sales letters per month...at no cost...not even postage
  • An amazing strategy for telling 200 million people about your business for FREE
  • How to dominate your local market as a JV Dealmaker
  • How to use publicity to get potential joint venture partners to call you
  • Sneaky way to get $5000 a month in free radio promotions
  • From O to $1.5 MM using joint venture strategies

Robert Smith is president of Champion Media Worldwide, a public relations and marketing firm in Loves Park, IL. He has mastered the art of joint venture deals and teaches others how to spot hidden opportunities to help their businesses.

Hear & Meet Shel                       

Earn a Commission: Get Me a Speech in Hawaii in October

If your lead gets me a speech at my standard $5000 rate, you'd earn $1250 in commission. Drop me a note: shel ATprincipledprofit.com, subject line Hawaii Speech Possibility.


Friends/Colleagues Who Want to Help 
Spring of Sustainability 2012I've listened to several calls from ShiftNetwork's latest telesummit, Spring of Sustainability, and they are amazing. I'm so proud to be one of the presenters, along with such planet-changers as Bill McKibben (climate activist and founder of 350.org), Vandana Shiva (Indian activist who took on Coca-Cola), Van Jones (former White House Green Jobs czar and funder of Color of Change), John Robbins (visionary who puts the Baskin-Robbins fortune to good use), Hazel Henderson (author of Ethical markets and many other key works), Frances Moore Lappé (Diet for a Small Planet and other books, decades of food and democracy activism) John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hitman), Thom Hartmann (progressive radio host and author), Aqeela Sherrills (campaigner against gang violence and government violence), Julia Butterfly Hill (she lived in a tree for months to save it from being cut down), Vicki Robin (Your Money or Your Life), Hunter Lovins (energy pioneer and co-author of Natural Capitalism), Joel Makower (founder of GreenBiz.com), John Trudell (American Indian and earth activist)...WOW! Many of the interviews will be aired between now and June 22; for those you've missed (including mine), you can unlimited access to the replays for a very reasonable price of about $2 per session ($147 altogether). http://shelhorowitz.com/go/SpringOfSustanability

How to Blog a BookWatch for a guest blog, How to Write and Promote Your Book...at the Same Time, on June 12 from Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book (Writers Digest Books)

If you want to create a fan base for your book long before it comes out, a blog offers an inexpensive and effective means to do so. Not only that, you can create a community, a movement, even your whole manuscript with a blog, and then when you say, "My book is ready for purchase," your readers will run out and purchase it. In this post you will learn how to blog a book, the easiest way to write a book and promote it at the same time.

Nina AmirHer post, like everything in my blog, will be posted at Shel's Blog (http://greenandprofitable.com/shels-blog/). If you don't already subscribe, you might want to visit and sign up for RSS or e-mail feeds. I post a lot of my most interesting stuff there. 

Another Recommended Book: Greener Products  

Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands, by Al Iannuzzi (CRC Press (division of Taylor & Francis), 2012)

Much of the sustainability narrative has been written by people at the edges of society: small companies willing to create deep innovation in sustainability, and hoping the mainstream will absorb the lessons.

This book comes from "the belly of the beast"—the heart of the mainstream corporate world. The author is a high muckety-muck with sustainability duties at Johnson & Johnson; his case studies include many of the largest consumer-focused companies in the world (Walmart, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, among others).

And while the case studies of the green-in-our-founding-DNA companies like Seventh Generation and Method make it clear that you can be greener when designing a company and product line for sustainability from the ground up, the studies of the megacorporations show that when your largest customers or suppliers demand change, change happens on a much larger scale. Iannuzzi is happy to give full credit to mainstream corporate sustainability innovators such as:

  • Walmart for enormously speeding up the process of going green at supplier companies like Johnson & Johnson
  • Unilever for driving massive reductions in the tea industry's water use
  • Proctor & Gamble, for a substantial reduction in greenhouse gases by educating consumers about washing clothes in cold water and developing detergents designed to perform well without heating
  • Clorox, for smashing the perception that enviro-friendly cleaning products were less effective.

These are major shifts, and because of the size of these companies, spur change throughout the business world.

Note the title, "Greener Products"—not "Green Products." I've been saying for years that going green is a process; Iannuzzi agrees and says there's no such thing as a product without environmental impact—but the more we can reduce the negative consequences and replace them with positive ones, the better.

And that process constantly raises the bar. He notes that worldwide, there were four times as many environmental regulations in 2010 as there had been in 2004—an enormous challenge for manufacturers and retailers. And the small innovative companies also push consumer expectations higher up the ladder. Seventh Generation has figured out how to package dishwashing liquid in bottles made from recycled milk jugs; Method includes the Precautionary Principle (if we don't know it's safe, we don't use it) in its five-step product formulation requirements.

Iannuzzi claims this is the first book that looks at both the operations and marketing sides of going green. He is certainly quite comprehensive on the operations side. Some parts of the book are really written for engineers, and you may want to skim over those very dense sections if you're not a techie.

The case study section, looking very specifically at how companies have incorporated lifecycle thinking and profitability into product development, manufacturing, distribution, *and end use,* is worth going over carefully, and taking lots of notes. 

But the marketing section is relatively weak, focusing on just a few of the many possibilities, and once again tilting heavily toward corporate giants. You'd want to supplement it with Jacqueline Ottman's New Rules of Green Marketing and/or my own Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green.

And because Iannuzzi views the world from the lens of a corporate insider, he sometimes misses the obvious. Here's an example that jumped out at me: Discussing the German chemical and electronics giant BASF's self-certification of some agro-chemicals as environmentally benign, he accepts the company's declarations at face value—while I was full of questions. The company certified a certain fungicide as enabling "greater crop yield, lower environmental impacts, and lower production costs." I want to know—compared to what? Compared to an older chemical formulation? Or compared to an organic farming process that needs no chemicals in the first place?

Self-certification is useful as an internal measurement of achievement (and Iannuzzi cites dozens of companies that have improved their products as a result), but for consumers, unbiased third-party certifications contain much more value. Yet BASF actually markets its certification process and logo to companies wanting to gain validity in the green market. I find that at least a little bit troubling.

Finally, you should know that the book lists at $89.95. While clearly a prodigious amount of time and research went into the book, that's a lot higher than competitive titles. Perhaps the intended audience is buying books with company money at the large firms where they work as sustainability coordinators.

Accurate Writing & More, 16 Barstow Lane , Hadley, MA 01035, United States

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