beware: twamway

A huge part of the Twitter culture is the twitterfying of words. OK, that twitterfying thing is our word, but the Twitter culture does have all sorts of created twerms: Twestival, tweeps, tweighbor, twoop, twibe, twitcetera (twitcetera is ours, couldn’t resist).

Twamway is another one of our words. We’re combining Twitter and Amway. Sorry if you’re a huge Amway fan…we’ll apologize in advance for this post because we’re pretty sure you’re not going to like it. Some background: Amway’s a multilevel marketing company. In our experience, whenever people talk about Amway, it is almost never about the products–it’s always about how much money they could help us make by being in their “line” or team or whatever. Bottomline, to us it always sounded like Amway wasn’t primarily promoting great products, it primarily sold opportunities to make more money by convincing other people to convince other people to convince other people to sell the products. It was always a pretty vague business plan but what was clear is that they were mostly selling us on selling to other people.

pyramid scheme?We’re not opposed to making money, but we have a problem with making money by never selling a service or product. That Amway-thing always felt to us like an uncomfortable business model…one of those pyramid schemes. Just our opinion, we don’t want to hear from anyone’s lawyer, OK?

To be able to best recommend to our clients how to use Twitter, Oneicity has been using a variety of Twitter tools and techniques to gain more followers and to find people to follow. An interesting pattern has resulted from these experiments. We are seeing an increase in two kinds of twitterers:

1. The Twamway Twitterers. These are the guys who will teach you how to make money using Twitter so you can teach others. They are the social media “experts” who may or may not have experience and expertise. Certainly not in Christian ministry. Most likely not in integrated marketing campaigns. The problem with these guys is that Twitter, as an independent strategy, not integrated with everything else you are doing, will not likely make you any money. Ever.

2. The Twamway Bait and Switch. These are the guys whose Twitter profile looks like something it’s not…might even look like the guys above. But when you click on their bio, you find that the Twitter profile was a disguise for their “how to get rich quick online” website. These people connect with you on Twitter in the hopes that you will buy their “Get Rich Easy as 1-2-3” product from their website, which has no personal contact information and no relevance to your market.

Twitterers like this can cause good marketing strategists to discount Twitter and Social Media.

Sure we’re going to hear from some people on this. But please, we’re not trying to defame people who are using Twitter, and we’re not against teaching people to use Twitter (Oneicity is even doing some teaching). We’re just taking a stand that Twitter must be part of an integrated strategy and that using Twitter all by itself won’t make you money.

If you use Twitter as a tool in your integrated multi-channel strategy you can:

1. Connect with other ministries (in and out of your area of service)
2. Learn from those who serve nonprofits
3. Be a thought leader and share what you are learning and doing
4. Drive traffic to your website
5. Discover people who could be fans of your cause

We think Dale Carnegie would have said it like this, “Twitter…it’s a great place to ‘win friends and influence people.'”

Two questions for you today:
1. Have you bumped into any of these “Twamway” types? What are your strategies to manage them?
2. How are you integrating Twitter into your overall fundraising and marketing?


Hoots and Thomas

(photo credits: lyng883)

Hoots and Thomas

Hoots and Thomas

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