Since Uladoo.com is a twitter app, it seemed logical to us to market it using twitter, but it hasn’t been exactly obvious how to do that effectively. So we’ve done some experiments trying to figure it out. Here’s what we tried and how it turned out:
- Tweeting about Uladoo - when Uladoo went live, I tweeted about it, and so did Shawn. We got some nice re-tweets out of it, and we garnered some users.
- Using @Uladoo - When we started Uladoo, we really thought the public-ness of posting to a chart would help it spread, and we were mostly right. When a twitter users sees someone they follow tweet something like “@uladoo calories 1200 Pigged out at Hardee’s”, it’s natural to check out uladoo’s profile and see what it’s all about. That totally happened. What we didn’t really appreciate was how quickly people would get irritated with the updates. This was made perfectly clear when I started tweeting my calories as I consumed them - even my friends threatened to stop following me, and before long we implemented direct messaging to Uladoo. This approach was totally a double-edged sword.
- Getting others to tweet about uladoo - one of the most effective things I did to promote Uladoo was email Marshall Kirkpatrick, a journalist with about 10,000 followers. He tweeted about it the same day, and we enjoyed a really nice round of re-tweets for the next two days.
- Playing the follow-me-follow-you game - If you’ve had a twitter account for long, you’ve seen this game played. Someone you’ve never heard of follows you, and if you follow them back they stick around. If you don’t they drop you. There are tools for automating this, and it seems lots of people are using them. One day I used search.twitter.com to just randomly follow people and see what came of it. I was surprised by the amount of followers I got back. I was also surprised at the complete lack of any sort of corresponding bump in our stats. Nothing. Not even a blip. If you’re going to take this approach, you’ve got to do a much better job of identifying your target audience than I did.
- Spamming people - I used twitter search to target people I thought might like using uladoo (I think I focused on fitness) and used @reply to send the unsolicited messages. I felt very uncomfortable about this, cuz it was kind of spamming, but it worked. A good portion of the people I tweeted @ retweeted me, and we got more users. The only bad thing about it was I used my twitter account (aldos) instead of the uladoo account, so everyone who followed me got spammed as well. My boss almost unfollowed me again. Lesson learned - use a twitter account that is specific to your product, not your personal account.
- Auto DM Followers - At first I tried I tried a human-ish message. This made me feel icky. I hate getting auto DMs when I follow someone, cuz it’s so obviously a computer pretending to be a person. I let that go on for a few days, but couldn’t get over the ick. I was just about to turn it off when I had a moment of clarity - a robot pretending to be a human is false and annoying, but would a robot admitting to being a robot have the same problem? So, I changed the message to something like “Thanks for following uladoo - the twitter powered charting robot. uladoo.com”. I felt better about that, but I really don’t know how well it works because I don’t have a tool to tell me if people are clicking on my tweets or not.
Promoting a product with Twitter is a weird game. I’m not sure it works yet - I’ve certainly had a mixed bag in terms of results. I’m beginning to invest in some tools to help me out, like something to help me know which of my tweets people actually click on links in. Check back after a while - I’ll be posting updates as I learn more about promoting Uladoo with Twitter.4 years ago