Guest Post by Bill Seaver: The Twitter Balance Score (So You Don't Look Like a Jerk)

The following is a guest blog by Bill Seaver, Social Media Marketing Consultant

In one way or another we’re all marketers now. Once you got your hands on Twitter or Facebook or your WordPress blog or that Flip video camera for your YouTube channel, you became a marketer. Most of you did that on purpose, and you shouldn’t apologize for that.The question isn’t so much whether you use these tools for promotional purposes as it is this: do you use them the right way?

The way you use social media tools is directly affected by the way you think about them. They are excellent promotional devices when the promoter (that’s you) has the right mindset. With the right mindset you can connect with people and promote whatever you’re doing in ways that were never this cheap or easy.

With the wrong mindset, however, the best thing you can hope for is that you’re wasting your time. The worst thing would be that you’re becoming an annoying jerk who’s losing influence and dragging your organization’s reputation down at the same time. To use the tools effectively, you need to understand the new online culture and acquire the new mindset. The new mindset is to earn people’s attention before you promote anything.

Understanding The Old Mindset
The old mindset was one in which organizations just talked about themselves. The assumption was that people were interested in them. In some cases they were. In a rare few cases, they still are. For most of us, however, we’re just another one of a thousand people wanting someone’s attention.

Twitter is a perfect place to observe the old and new mindsets in action. With Twitter and other social media/social networking tools, a shift is occurring where people can more easily choose not to pay attention to self promotion. Marketers still need to get attention, but rather than screaming for it, they need to earn attention by being valuable to the people they want to reach. To earn attention with Twitter you have to understand it to be the conversation tool that it is. Twitter is a conversation tool that also does promotion.Many marketers seem to think it’s the other way around. As such, I have observed organizations that don’t understand this strategic mistake and don’t have the restraint to keep from over-promoting on Twitter. It’s fine to promote sometimes, it’s not fine to promote all the time.

Scoring The Right Balance
To help organizations strike the balance, I’m proposing a self-imposed Twitter Balance Score that is weighted toward conversation and sharing before promotion. The idea is that once you have scored 10 points, you’re free to promote, sell, or otherwise bring attention to something you’ve done. Until the points are scored don’t promote anything. Be part of a conversation or start a conversation.

Keeping Score
The easy way to think about the Twitter Balance Score is to think about sharing as the most valuable portion of a conversation and then listening. Only after that do you start talking. With that perspective in mind, here’s the Twitter Balance Score:

  • Share a link: 3 points
  • Retweet: 3 points
  • Ask a question: 2 points
  • Respond/reply to someone: 2 points
  • Update about what you’re doing/thinking/etc.: 1 point

The goal with this scoring system is to Tweet at least four times between promotions.

Negative Points
The downside to keeping score with anything is the ability to “game” the system. As such, someone could look at the scoring method above and just share a lot of stuff but still never talk to anyone. Beyond that, there are numerous tools available that give the appearance of activity and sharing without actually requiring the person to participate, which should result in negative points. Here are a few scenarios where negative points would be applied:

  • Provide links in three consecutive Tweets: -3 points
  • Three consecutive Retweets: -5 points
  • Retweeting compliments: -10 points (I think this is a big Twitter sin as I’ve written about in the past.)

So that’s the Twitter Balance Score. Think it will help?

Diving in to Social Media

Mark 2: 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

Follow me now – and please don’t take this as an exegisis of this Scripture passage. I’m chewing on something and honestly it’s still stirring in me, so you’re reading thoughts in development – kind of like me thinking out loud. If “new wine must be put into new wineskins”, I think new strategies and tools to reach, connect, engage and mobilize people must be employed with new mindsets.

The following is from my friend, Bill Seaver’s, MicroExplosion blog:

[…A lot of companies are considering trying some new marketing approaches these days. They have become enamored or curious about the new social media tools that are widely publicized and are trying to determine how it can work for them. This is a good spot to be in, but I’ve realized  something is still missing. What’s missing is the appropriate mindset needed to use the social media tools, techniques, and stategies well. The old mindset won’t work with the new tools. They don’t mix. Seth Godin wrote an entire book about that called Meatball Sundae.

New marketing only works with the new mindset. Simply using the new tools with the old mindset won’t bring about the marketing change you need and want…]

Many of you know that I work with churches, organizations and companies of all kinds. I’m brought in as an innovation consultant and these days almost all want to talk about using new media and social networking tools. What I’ve noticed is that they get excited talking about these new tools and desire to use them, but haven’t had a change in mindset (like Bill said) and thus are striking out.

I’m thinking of 2 cases in particular: One with a well known Christian organization (there’s no need to share their name) that desparately wants to reach the next generation and brought me in to consult on how to use social media/networking to connect with them and the other is with a fitness/health company that I consult on using new media to help get their message out and expand their business.

Both want to tap into the buzz (or what Tony Steward calls “the awesomeness”) – the latest tools and technology. Mind you: this isn’t a bad thing. I do like to keep it in perspective and realize that these are all just tools, but I like that they are wanting to enter this world.

The problem that I see with these 2 organizations (and honestly with a ton of churches, including my own) is that they don’t dive in. They try to dip their toes in the water and hope they catch a fish. A fisherman gets dirty, gets wet and smells. I love to fish (that’s for another blog – Brian Davis and I can bore you with fish tales) – but I know that when I fish, I don’t wear my best clothes and I don’t expect to cast once and catch a bass on the first throw. You have to have patience. You have to be committed. You have to think like a fish.

Some churches I work with don’t “get” Facebook. Most really don’t “get” Twitter. My assessment is that they haven’t been patient enough and don’t live in those worlds. Remember Bill Seaver’s quote: “Simply using the new tools with the old mindset won’t bring about the marketing change you need and want.”

One organization I work with had previously tried using Facebook in a broadcast-type model (we put out some info about our ministry and you come check it out). It didn’t work and they blamed Facebook. I’m now working with them on how to engage people on Facebook and tools like that. You don’t just put it out and say “Come get”.

Weekly I meet with Paul Watson, a digital missionary. We challenge, stretch, encourage and learn from one another. We have a weekly Bible study/discipleship time that always ends in him sharing his learnings as a full-time digital missionary – one who lives in online community and engages people in virtual environments (this is his full-time job). He’s fascinating and teaching me a ton.

Again, I’m processing a lot of this out loud and expressing things that have been rolling around in my head, but I think I’m speaking to somebody. Maybe you gave Facebook, Ning, Twitter or something like that “a try” and it didn’t meet your expectations. Maybe you, your church or organization is in research and development mode. Maybe you’re in experiment mode. Maybe you’re testing the waters, but haven’t fully dove in.

My prayer, heart’s desire and encouragement/challenge to you is to WRESTLE with Bill Seaver’s quote: “Simply using the new tools with the old mindset won’t bring about the marketing change you need and want.”

Friends, let’s discuss this out loud (or via comments). Does this hit home with anyone? Does this resonate, scare or encourage anyone? Are you committed to getting dirty, wet and smelly to reach fish?

How Do You Twitter?

I had an interesting conversation with some friends this week. I found that many follow several, random people and in turn, those people then find out about them and follow them – thus they have a lot of people following them on Twitter.

That, honestly, never occurred to me. I only follow people that interest me, so it’s a relatively small group (78). I could probably have more people following me if I followed more people (makes sense), but I don’t want to get constant updates from people that I don’t particularly want to follow. Does that make sense?

So… How do YOU use Twitter? Do you follow as many as you can? Are you picky? Are you following me? 🙂 You should. I will be releasing updates and exclusive Church 2.0 info on just Twitter.


Check out my friend, Bill Seaver’s blog on Podcasting 101 HERE.

Funny Video

In the spirit of my friend, Bill Seaver’s, Friday “Video of the Week”, I’d like to share a video with you of a youth pastor that crashed a motorcycle trying to make a memorable entrance. I think he accomplished it.

You may have seen this before, the interesting thing is you probably didn’t know I went to high school with this guy. Small world. His crash is now blowing up on YouTube!


What inspires you? Different things inspire me – I look for inspiration from other churches, American Idol, The Grammys, concerts, conferences, things like Blue Man Group and KA in Vegas, etc. My friend, Pace, from Fellowship Church sent me THIS link to something they did this past Christmas. I was inspired. I was encouraged and I was proud that The Church is using it’s gifts and creativity again. Check it out!

Each Friday I check out the “Video of the Week” from my friend, Bill Seaver’s blog: MicroExplosion. This week’s video was on giving a presentation. I thought it was great and would love for all preachers/presenters to watch it.

PresenTired: “The Voicemail” from Scott Schwertly on Vimeo.