SponsoredTweets Influencer of the Month
1. Describe yourself in 140 characters or less…
Not your average middle-aged-pseudo-intellectual-hipster-doofus. My life’s a open book; here’s hoping it doesn’t end up being a short story.
2. What do you love most about Twitter?
I just think that Twitter is an awesome communications tool, especially for someone as wordy as I have a tendency to be. It requires you to cut the crap and get to the point, and that’s especially freeing for someone like me.
I’ve always been a conversationalist — that’s just how I communicate, regardless of the medium in which I’m engaging. However, anyone who has ever read one of my blogs (or one of my emails for that matter) knows that brevity has never been one of my strong suits. That’s why Twitter was such a godsend (and a challenge) for me when I first began tweeting back in July of 2008.
My immediate thought was, “Sheesh, who am I kidding? I can’t do this! Heck, my SENTENCES are usually longer than 140 freaking characters!”
So what I’ve always appreciated about Twitter is that it allows me to say a lot in a manner I would never choose to employ on my own in any other medium. It forces me to be concise; to really think about what I’m trying to say, how I’m trying to say it, and in the process, I believe, continually makes me a better communicator.
3. What originally attracted you to Sponsored Tweets, and how did you ﬁnd out about it?
I first became aware of Sponsored Tweets’ existence through the #ad posts of a friend — fellow hockey blogger, Dirk Hoag (@Forechecker), who had already joined the program by early December of 2009.
This was at a point at which I’d begun to create a bit of a following on Twitter, having pretty much established myself as a ‘relationship-first’ kind of personality (which is how I’d like to think of myself in real life) in just over a year of active participation in the medium.
Coincidentally, it was also the point in time when Twitter had begun to grow exponentially, and acceptance of social media as a legitimate corporate advertising vehicle was really taking hold. Unfortunately, however, from the outset, not a lot of advertisers seemed to ‘get it right’, which infuriated numerous early-adopters of Twitter, whose non-engagement ‘spammer’ tolerance was all but microscopic.
I myself had a rather contemptuous opinion of the increasing role advertising was beginning to play in social media; yet when I saw that Dirk had aligned himself with Sponsored Tweets I was intrigued as to why.
Had my friend sold out? Happily, I discovered that he had not. I asked him about it and subsequently researched the ground rules of Sponsored Tweets. I was pretty impressed at what I learned.
The principles laid out by parent company IZEA stood out from the pack in my opinion. Their requirements for #ad disclosure legitimized what had been the sometimes misleading environment of Twitter product endorsement, and I thought, aligned well with the principles of ‘Twitter etiquette’ and overall engagement protocols.
But what I found most attractive about Sponsored Tweets was the idea that tweeters could truly make the ad message their own, conforming it to their own personal identity and brand. To me, that’s the definition of honest advertising. And if there’s any one thing I strive for most in projecting myself online, it’s genuineness.
I honestly believe in Sponsored Tweets. They do Twitter advertising right; their format fits me like a glove. I only participate with advertisers whose products I personally believe in; that’s why I do it.
Does everyone enjoy my ads? I’d have to assume that many do, but I’d be deluding myself if I believed that was the case for everyone. And in a slightly twisted sense, that’s something else that spurs me to stay with ST. I guess I’m on a mission to prove that Twitter advertising CAN be done the right way, if it’s done genuinely and in a (hopefully) entertaining manner.
Nevertheless, some purists will never abide what they consider to be inherent spam, no matter how it’s presented, and I know that I’ve lost a few followers for that reason alone. Nonetheless, ‘I’ believe in what I’m doing and intend to continue, trying to do it better — and that’s always the challenge for me; the presentation has to be an extension of who I am.
Just as Twitter’s 140 character restriction reels me in, forcing me to be a better writer, I believe that Sponsored Tweets keeps me grounded and mindful of my responsibility to my audience and to my personal brand.
(…but then again, makin’ a little mad money while I’m at it is kinda cool too.)
4. Finish this: Without Twitter I would…
…feel a lot less connected; a bit more isolated; certainly quite a bit less knowledgeable about the world around me.
5. What do you feel encourages engagement with your audience?
I’ve always made a conscious effort to (sometimes even randomly) respond directly to what might otherwise only intended to be a casual, standalone statement by another tweeter, in the dual effort of engaging conversation while (at very least) providing affirmation that somebody out there actually is listening.
I mean, everyone wants to know they’re being heard, right?
6. How do you make it easy to stay connected with your followers?
I’ll often intentionally fashion my tweets to be open-ended and conversational, and again, always make the effort to respond to those I follow who do the same.
7. Whatʼs your preferred blend of tweets made up of: RTs, links, original content etc?
Hopefully reality bares this out, but I’d like to believe that on average, my tweet stream is composed of about 50% original content (i.e.: conversations and stuff that I’M thinking about), 25% RTs (and MTs) of stuff that OTHERS are thinking about, and 25% comprising of a mixture of Sponsored Tweets, miscellaneous (non-#ad-related) links, and other random superfluity.
8. Any advice for Tweeters new to SponsoredTweets?
BE GENUINE. BE ORIGINAL. SPEAK WITH YOUR OWN VOICE! No offense intended to those who write the ST “suggested copy,” included in the initial ad opportunities that tweeters are presented with, but I cringe a little every time I see a posted ST #ad whose text is obviously just a carbon copy of the suggested sample text.
Give that ad your own spin. Make it fun. Make it you. Just because there’s a parrot in the Sponsored Tweets logo doesn’t mean you have to be one.
Own your #ads.
9. What do you love about IZEA and SponsoredTweets?
First and foremost, I love the genuineness of the account reps and those behind the scenes if ever I encounter a problem with the process, which is bound to happen in any enterprise from time-to-time. They practice what they preach. Their responsiveness is top-notch in my book. It alone is the leading reason I have no problem singing the praises of ST.
10. Finish this: A tweet a day…
…keeps mental stagnation at bay!
Congratulations, Jim! Follow him @AJinNashville.