How Twitter changed everything

Author uses social media to sell thousands of books

July 2011
New book

Scott Stratten must be a publisher’s dream.

UnMarketing

The author, whose first book, UnMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging, was just released by Wiley & Sons ($19.76), has a 30-city book tour across North America at no cost to himself or the company.

The Oakville expert in viral and social marketing has used his status as one of the world’s top influencers on Twitter to pre-sell 3,000 copies of his book and pretty much guarantee hundreds, if not thousands, more.

Named by the global PR company Edelman the 19th most influential twitterer by engagement, the business consultant and blogger tweeted to his followers that he’d go to any city where a sponsor would preorder 100 books and pay his expenses. After posting the first 10 cities, fans started rallying.

“It’s pretty cool,” Stratten says, with a chuckle. “I’m going to write a book about the book tour.”

With 63,000 followers and climbing, Stratten, 35, says he originally joined Twitter to meet other business owners. “Running your own business is very isolating,” he says. “You don’t have a water cooler and that’s what I wanted to use it for.”

Now he can use it for whatever he wants, proving that by raising $30,000 in a one-day tweet-a-thon recently for a boy with muscular dystrophy.

We caught up with him for a little engaging, as he embarks on his 10-week tour.

Q: How did you become one of the most influential people on Twitter?

A: I decided to live on Twitter for 30 days in 2009 and I tweeted 7,000 times that month. I went from 1,200 followers to 10,000 followers and I said ‘Wow, there’s something here.’ I made it my habit, I made it my job, I made it my goal that I would be there so much that if I decided to take a day off from it, people would think something was wrong. And they did.

Q: What was your business before Twitter and how has it changed?

A: I’d been running the actual UnMarketing company prior to Twitter for six years. Everything before that was really all about viral marketing; we made online viral videos. It has changed everything, from the book deal to my entire circle of peers. Almost all the revenue I can look at in the past year, year and a half, can be directly attributed to Twitter.

Q: You teach business owners to unmarket themselves. Explain.

A: It’s all about getting to know people. I want people to become the CRO — chief relationship officer — for the company. People say they hate marketing; they don’t realize they are always marketing. Every time you talk to somebody, every time you’re at a conference, or online tweeting, you’re marketing. I want to show people how to do that even better.

Q: Talk about customer service and the experience gap.

A: What companies don’t realize is every single time your customer interacts with you, you can widen the experience gap between the best and the worst experience with your company. It’s the front line people who can (do) that the most. We’re standing up more and more (against bad service) and our reactions go out online. We tweet them, we go on Facebook.

Q: You believe building relationships should be the focus of business, but that’s not how too many operate.

A: We have been taught for decades the classical methods of advertising and direct mail, yellow pages and cold calling. There’s rarely a (current) curriculum being taught in the Canadian school system — and you’re talking to someone who just finished teaching at Sheridan for eight years. There’s no social media. We’re not even teaching the students and kids who use Facebook every day how to best use that in business. People don’t like to change.

Q: You tweeted 10,000 times before pitching something on Twitter, and say it’s about quality, not quantity. How did you tweet that much that’s quality?

A: Once I hit 50,000 tweets I used a site called TweetStats to analyze what I sent and 75 per cent of those tweets were replies. So 38,000 of those tweets were points of conversation. I’m engaging with people versus just spewing off things.

Q: Is UnMarketing just about business or do you have life lessons as well?

A: My profit from social media has not only been financial, it has been emotional, social and intellectual, in that it has given me a support system on top of a target audience. It’s a nicer way of doing business, where (people are) not only potential clients, colleagues, friends and supporters, they’ll step up to the plate for you.

The book tour is an awesome example.

Toronto Star
Barbara Turnbull


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