I’ve just read a couple of blog posts about how the Twitter mute function affects marketers. I’m a bit puzzled. Despite what the posts I read said, as far as I can work out it won’t affect marketing at all.
Twitter doesn’t tell you when you’ve been muted. Apart from doing your best to avoid mutes through sheer social media marketing brilliance, how can not knowing affect what marketers do?
About Twitter mute
Twitter’s mute function lets you temporarily block people. It’s a handy step away from unfollowing them and means you can mute, for example, bursts of activity around breaking trends you’re not interested in, or the live match you’ve recorded for later.
Should we know we’ve been muted?
Because people don’t know they’ve been muted, it’s discreet. Nobody likes to hurt people’s feelings, even if they’re tweeting as corporate entities. On the other hand it’d be great if Twitter alerted marketers to mutes. It’d be a sure-fire way to identify when we’re on the wrong track.
My little brother, the MD of a heavy engineering company serving the oil industry, relishes complaints. To him they’re a brilliant opportunity to improve things and transform the dis-chuffed into advocates. He’d want to know. It would help him improve directly in line with what his audience wants, which is exactly the way things should be.
If you knew you’d been muted, you could deal with it. Tweet or DM your apologies, smooth troubled waters, make amends, compensate, repair the damage, whatever it takes. But you don’t know, so you can’t.
Is Twitter mute bad news for marketers?
As long as people enjoy what you’re saying and doing on Twitter, they won’t mute you. As long as you give your community interesting, useful, entertaining Tweets and links to content that’s genuinely worth sharing, without hard sells or constant badgering, you’ll probably avoid mass-mutes. But as things stand, you’ll never know how you’re performing.
If you knew, you could decide what to do based on the number of mutes. One mute wouldn’t be an issue unless you only had two followers, losing 50% of your reach. 5 mutes out of 5000 followers isn’t as much of an issue as 5 out of 100. It’s a matter of proportion, something you’d soon get a marketer’s feel for.
Why has Twitter made mutes private?
Why are mutes private? In the wider context, Twitter isn’t all about selling, or driving the medium like a pro. It’s a place to enjoy life and be human. I use Twitter for B2B networking, as do most of my followers and those I follow. It’s easy to forget Twitter is where millions of individual humans without a commercial agenda have fun, join in, engage, socialise and share stuff.
Looking at it that way it makes perfect sense to keep mutes private. Well done, Twitter. Not so well done to the marketing bloggers who see mutes as a ‘targeting tool to communicate with key influencers’. Hm.
Having said that, please comment if I’m talking bollocks. If so I shall apologise profusely and mend my wicked ways. If you like, I will even send flowers.