Marketing & Social Media - Another Way To Do It Right

24 Apr 2009

Many, many people will charge you money to shill your product on Twitter and Facebook. Many people have written many things on why this doesn’t really work, and I won’t rehash those points here. A little while ago, I came across this post describing an example of how social media can help with product marketing - basically, if your product is good, and you don’t actively prevent people sharing information about it, your customers will market it for you. (It occurs to me that you could make the same argument about The Pirate Bay, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)

In any case, yesterday I encountered another way that social media and product marketing can be mixed effectively. The sequence of events went like this:

1) I see a link on Daring Fireball to a Capo, a Mac application for playing songs in various ways (slowly, looped, and so on) so that you learn them on the guitar.

2) I tweet that it looks interesting, but I don’t really have the musical ear to take advantage of it.

3) A little while later, the developer (SuperMegaUltraGroovy) replies, encouraging me to try and learn, and pointing me at a video that might help.

There are two important points here. Firstly, it wasn’t a generic mass-mailed press release, but rather a specific reply to my post. That differentiates it from spam. Secondly, it was clearly from SuperMegaUltraGroovy - they weren’t pretending to be a neutral observer or satisfied customer. That differentiates it from shilling.

The end result is that, from relatively little effort on the part of SuperMegaUltraGroovy, I’ve come away with a very positive impression of the company, and am seriously considering buying a $39 application that I previously only had a passing interest in.

So, it seems there are ways to use Twitter and Facebook to promote your company or products without pissing people off. It also seems like a way that indie developers can differentiate themselves from bigger companies - I can’t see the latter pulling this off without it seeming contrived. We’ll see if this becomes the accepted way of doing things, or if more irritating methods prevail. Given that nobody seems to have figured out a way to make the irritating methods work yet, there’s hope.

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