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I only very recently started using Twitter. Late to the party? Yup, oh well.
As I was attracting new followers, Twitter was sending email notifications to me. Since I was getting 52, 77, 109 or more new followers a day I was getting a LOT of email.
Pain in the inbox?
At first I thought so... then I started putting these little pieces of gold to good use.
Each email included a graphic that included the new follower's Twitter handle and image. I created personalized "thanks for the follow" messages with them. I'd screen shot the image embedded in the email, draw on it a little, add a hand-written message, and tweet the new follower a personalized graphical "thank you" card.
They were simple little tweets, and I figured they'd serve as warming plates for future dishes. There was nothing genius about them, but people loved them. I got all kinds of notes back... "Wow, what app did that?!" they'd ask, and we'd chat a bit about sending these little one off tweets with handmade graphics. Sure, it took a little time to create each one, but I met some very cool people tweeting them. The conversations we had were warm. If any of these folks reached out to me again I'd certainly remember them.
From a marketing and networking perspective, warm is gold. From a human perspective, warm is priceless. In this fast paced, automated-everything world, we NEED more warmth.
I tried to get those email notifications resumed. I emailed Twitter. Crickets. I tweeted them @twitter. I did get some retweets, but nothing from Larry. Not cool. Don't they read their own stream? I guess they don't.
Feeling sad, lonely and ignored (sniff), I decided to figure out another solution. New followers were piling on, and I hadn't greeted anyone in days. I needed a solution!
Not perfect, but ok. DMs (direct messages) are Twitter's solution to chat. When my email notifications dried up my DMs exploded. So I guess that's what everyone else turned to as well.
As I was busy juggling other work, I was trying to decide how to use the feature to say hi to folks in a personal way. I hadn't come up with a message I liked. Additionally, I was frustrated that I couldn't do anything graphical, short of emoji which only make me a little insane. I'd spend a few moments on the project, get frustrated, and go back to other work.
Somehow basic common sense and copywriting skills had fallen out of the back of my head, too. I blamed distraction and overwork. Hey, it happens.
And then I received a message that was different from all the others.
There it was... one tranquil voice in the sea of insanity.
No strings of emoji on this DM.
One well-crafted message among the piles of pitches I'd received in the past few days.
How had I forgotten all of the years of good manners training (thanks, Mom), and the practice of copywriting I'd lived through?
The message simply read, "Hi Amy, can I send you a copy of our content marketing best practices guide? Based on some of your recent tweets I thought you might be interested. Let me know (including which email address to send it to)!"
Oh my gosh. I felt I was standing on a mountain top, the cool breeze of a York Peppermint Patty blowing through my hair. I heard choirs of angels singing.
OK, maybe it wasn't quite that exhilarating, but still, the message was refreshing.
This DM came from Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing in Seattle, WA. The sincerity and warmth of the message made it stand out as if it had been written in gold leaf raised lettering on my screen.
I've worked online in various capacities since 2001. I've worked in sales and marketing in some form most of my adult life. I know that Matt has asked for my email address, but listen: his message wasn't pitchy. It was warm. I felt he was speaking to me. Maybe he had actually seen, or even read some of my tweets. Matt's simple message was unlike any other I'd received. Which is why I responded, and which is why I am writing this article.
Matt's colleague, Kailee, sent the guide Matt offered me later that day. I read it, and responded with thanks, and referred to my favorite section. There were some great points in the report, and I'm sure I'll turn to it again.
We had a genuine and warm human exchange. Six or seven messages in all, over the course of two days. This whole message thread between us probably took less than three minutes in the aggregate (including Kailee's time to email me the report). But I feel I have a business friend in Matt, and I hope he knows he's got a friend in me.
Matt had something of real value to give and he had a very classy way to ask for something in return: my email address. He wasn't slick. He gave first. I was happy to give my email address, and happy to read the guide.
Marketing is about making an impression and telling a good story, with a purpose. Networking is about making a friend, also with a purpose. And at the end of the day, what's more genuine and human than stories and friends?
And let me tell you, when Matt Heinz's emails show up in my inbox, you can bet I'll be opening them.
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