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Sending Commercial Messages on Twitter

If you are using Twitter as part of your marketing campaign, you may be tempted to send commercial messages to your followers. As a general rule, you shouldn’t bombard your customers and Twitter followers with commercial message after commercial message. That gets real old, real fast.

If people think you’re a spammer, they’ll block and unfollow you. And if the folks at Twitter notice a pattern of a lot of people blocking or unfollowing you, they’ll suspend your account and possibly even cancel it permanently.

However, this rule has a few exceptions. In some cases, your followers may actually expect you to send commercial messages. It can be okay to share a commercial message at random. Your followers will accept you pushing your wares or products across Twitter if you have not sandblasted them with content every hour of the day.

For example, @DellOutlet has been one of Twitter’s marketing success stories and the one that many people point to as the shining star among corporate Twitter users. @DellOutlet tweets nothing but major discounts for Dell computers and products, and those discounts are available only on Twitter, not the Dell website or catalog. You can’t even call in to ask for them.

In its first two years, @DellOutlet grew to nearly 1 million followers and sold $3 million worth of products, with $1 million of that being within a 6-month period. What’s even more surprising about Dell’s Twitter success is that Dell doesn’t tweet every day, and it does actually communicate with its followers. The folks answer questions, recommend products and Web sites, and even send nice thank-you notes to people.

Some people scoff at the fact that @DellOutlet made “only” $6.5 million, compared to the $61 billion the entire company made in 2009. But think of it this way: when was the last time you made $6.5 million doing anything, let alone sending 140-character messages a few times a day?

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