This week, I received a direct message on twitter from a non-profit agency telling me about their grand opening and then ended the message with “please RT”.
(Now, before I go on, I must tell you that I formerly worked for a non-profit and I actually believe in the work this particular charity does. This post has nothing to do with the work of this organization, just the approach they used to publicize it.)
However, something about the message just struck me the wrong way. While I do follow this organization on Twitter, they have never interacted with me before and vice versa. The immediate plea for help without any prior conversation just didn’t sit well with me. So, I let it sit.
It wasn’t long before I started to see other local folks begin to retweet the information from the charity. A number of the tweets were from media outlets and local reporters. I have to admit, I was very surprised to see people, especially media folks, share the information as I’m betting they were messaged out of the blue just like I was.
This approach reminds me of the old mantra from the public relations world — build the relationship before you pitch. In social media circles, the same message seems to hold true — talk first, ask second.
So, why did this work? I have to admit, I’m puzzled. The cold contact in traditional media often falls on deaf years, but perhaps this approach has merit in social media land. Or, maybe people simply felt compelled to share in this particular instance because it was a charity doing the asking.
Am I’m completely missing the boat here by not pimping my wares by begging people to RT my stuff? Somehow, I don’t think so. But, it’s always possible I’m wrong.
What do you think about this tactic? Why do you think it worked? I would love to know your thoughts. Let’s get a good discussion going in the comments.