Skip to main content

Recently Twitter announced that they were implementing a mute button.

What does Twitter say that this means?

“Muting a user on Twitter means their Tweets and Retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user. The muted user will still be able to favorite, reply to and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline. The muted user will not know that you’ve muted him/her, and of course you can unmute at any time.”

What does it really mean? Some say that it means that users can now ignore your tweets with better efficiency without offending you. Hogwash! Because we all know people on Twitter are so afraid of offending others.

What it means to me is that Twitter knows that in order to monetize and keep their stock from falling any further, they need to follow Facebook and create a barrier for you to reach your followers. Creating a barrier to organic reach means you have to pay to get people to see your content. Which means more revenue and happier stockholders.

In a stroke of genius, they are being given cover by not hiding behind an algorithm like Facebook did. Instead of Twitter being responsible for killing your reach they’re letting your own followers do it for them. Genius!

So how do you get around this? Well, you shouldn’t have to “get around” the mute button if you’re utilizing Twitter the right way. If you’re already using Twitter correctly, you won’t have much of a problem at all.

However, if you’re one of those users that tweets all day long saying nothing and adding little if any value, chances are you’re going to get muted. If you’re curating content that everyone has already seen, you might get muted. (Please note: don’t retweet Mashable content to marketers. More than likely we’ve already seen the article and you’re just going to get ignored…or worse.)

goodcontentIf you’re a brand that’s merely pushing out commercial messages, I’m thinking you’re in real trouble. Twitter has you in their crosshairs!

Now you’re wondering, what’s the answer? It’s very simple. Stop broadcasting.

You’ve heard the Twitter cocktail party analogy a million times but you probably ignored it. Now, you might be screwed.

You may find yourself in this predicament because you haven’t taken the time to actually cultivate an audience. No one really knows who you are. Having followers means ABSOLUTELY nothing if they’re not a part of your audience.

But you say, “I’ve been using Twitter for years. I know what I’m doing!”

You may have been on Twitter for years, but you might have a resemblance to the guy with the pocket protector standing meekly in the corner of the room. How do I know this? Because I can look at your Twitter timeline and I ( and everyone else ) can see that you’re THAT guy or gal (or brand) that likes to scream in the forest.

You know that no one is listening and that no one really cares what you have to say, but for some reason, you think it works to use Twitter as a megaphone. Now, thanks to Twitter, we have a way to shut you up. To ignore you.

The bottomline is this…you’ve been using Twitter wrong all along and now, it appears, the gig is finally up. You’ve been so busy talking AT people that you’ve spent zero time actually talking TO people.

What am I talking about? Let me use my own Twitter profile as an example and you can follow along.

On average, I tweet out anywhere from 25-50 tweets per day. Sounds like a lot until you dig deeper. Normally, close to 70% of my tweets are directly TO someone. Let me say that again. I’m speaking directly to somebody else. I’m engaging in a conversation.

Another 10-15% of my tweets are re-tweets with an obvious mention to a user as well. The small remainder of my tweets, or less than 5 or 6 per day, are direct tweets with my content or curated content.

If you’re not seeing a MINIMUM of 50% of your tweets as conversational mentions, you’re doing it wrong and unfortunately you may indeed fall victim to muting or worse. Go back and look at your tweets for the last 30 days and look at what you’ve tweeted out. It’s pretty easy to see.

Chances are, if you’re like most, you’ve simply been screaming in a virtual forest. With their new announcement of the mute feature, Twitter is telling you in no uncertain terms that they want people to foster relationships and engage directly. That’s where the value is on Twitter.

Almost 80% of my business is inbound in nature. Almost all of my prospects are warm. I spend time developing a relationship well before any business contact is made. How do I do that? I simply talk to people about what matters to them. How do I know what matters to them? Really? You need me to tell you that?

Being more of a conversationalist on Twitter will really work for you. But you have to make a serious effort to stop broadcasting and start conversing. Put down the megaphone.

It’s pretty obvious that the rules of engagement on Twitter are changing. One thing that will never change is that directly engaging with people matters and keeps their attention.

I hope you can see that avoiding the mute button is a no-brainer, if you put forth the effort.

Barry Cunningham

Author Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Check out our case studies. They will give you an idea how we help brands & businesses amplify their conversion and lead gen campaigns by deploying digital advertising campaigns at scale. And I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

More posts by Barry Cunningham