There Will Be Haters (Part II)

In the days when I wrote often for ‘The Huffington Post,’ I used to say that it wasn’t a blog until you offend somebody. Seemed that my most successful blogs always brought out the trolls. That’s how I knew they were successful. Big audience numbers always come with lots of opinions.

How do you know when you’re doing marketing right?

You know you’re doing marketing right when some people complain. To promote something, you have to get loud. You want to do it meaningfully and intelligently if you can, but stupid also works just fine. It depends on your startup’s culture.

Be intelligent. But stupid also works.

GoDaddy does dumb really well. Media Temple does class. Namecheap, despite the name, positions itself for meaning by advocating net neutrality. (Media Temple is owned by GoDaddy, so their class is only skin deep.)

I’ve written before about experimenting with Twitter ads. I tried it again recently to promote a free class I’ve giving on crowdfunding. I was surprised to see that the new ads brought out the haters. People in the Netherlands (!) are leading the backlash against Twitter ads. They hated seeing those ads in their feed, and called me lots of bad names on Twitter.

Haters happen.

Hate online happens because one person’s effort to provide a helpful free class is another person’s spam. Everyone’s view of what should show up in their feed is different.

I’m going on record saying that I don’t think Twitter ads are bad, and neither are Facebook ads. We don’t own these services. As users of them we are merely digital sharecroppers, farming our content on their land. Both Facebook and Twitter have the right to get some revenue, and I’d prefer seeing some relevant advertising rather than them hitting me up for a subscription.

Relevant is the key thought in that last graf. The reason my latest round of Twitter ads got hated on was because they were not relevant to the viewer. I tried to fine-tune them to the right audience but failed. It happens on mailing lists, too, when people unsubscribe. I always see that as a good sign: the message has become focused and some people don’t want it. Why should they stick around?

It takes courage to get focused, to aim your thoughts at the loyalists who will care. Try not to appeal to everyone. You can’t.