Are You A Human or a Chew Toy?

We are helping one of our own select a social marketing profile today, so is Barb human, or is she a Chew toy?

One of my email delivery clients and has been swayed over to the social marketing side as email delivery continues to slide with Conficker delivering spam by the boatload and spam filters cranked up to an all time high.

So Barb asked me “Should she use @BarbSalisbury or @VirChewAll on Twitter. You know what I said and of course I asked her, “Well are you a human, or are you a chew toy?” You see Barb owns Vir Chew All, and makes just about the coolest pet toys on earth.

Her reply was “People will be looking for VirChewAll, not Barb Salisbury.” Those of you in the Google Wave Surf Club already know what I will say next…

If they are looking for you, then they already know your site, the job is done. They will go to the site.

You are not looking to meet people who know about the site.

You do care about NEW people who never heard of Vir Chew All. These people will be looking for other pet owners, not someone trying to sell them something.

Those people DO NOT want to get to know a business, they do want to get to know ANOTHER pet owner.

When they have gotten to know Barb Salisbury, THEN they may consider the business behind the person.

It’s time for a Chris Lang “What If…” story!

Let’s say you are standing in line at Petco. Like me, you take your dog with you when you go shopping for pet stuff or to Lowe’s, HomeDepot, etc. (mine is usually the one taking a crap in the isle BTW)

So here you and I are standing in line for the cashier. (AKA the last minute pitch isle from hell where for some reason you feel you just HAVE to buy one last thing, we don’t know why…)

Our eyes meet as we just happen to be looking over some of the plush puppies. (I myself love the turtle one and they are NOT available at Petco)

Now I chime right in as I am a WAY overly friendly kind of guy. (those who really know me understand this) I say “Hey, my dog loves those things, they last forever….”

Good stuff for any product, huh? Some random person just happens to endorse the impulse buy a random pet owner is considering, while our two dogs happily sniff each other’s butts in line. I mean how much more friendly do you get than that?

Let’s Say the Conversation Continues One Step Further:

You and I continue to chat and the dogs do things to each other I won’t describe, as we now wait, the cashier waits and the WHOLE store seems to wait in line for the manager because of some high level decision that only a Petco manager could possibly make but who is right now smoking a cigarette out back and texting his girlfriend who will never text him back.

We chat on and you ask me “So what do you do for a living” and I say “I help people learn how to use Google Friend Connect to make money.” I say help, because I give the thing away darn near for free.

You ask “Really, are you on Twitter” I say “Sure, my name is @VirChewAll, we make those Plush Puppies your basket is loaded with…”

So, my question to you is this:

Do the Plush Puppies stay in the basket? Of course they do!

We know each other.

We are both real people and have stood in line with each other at Petco. (boy, I love standing in lines)

Our dogs know what each other’s butts smell like.


Would any of this have happened if I had been wearing a VirChewAll T-shirt and been in the store stocking my ends caps and checking on a corporate display? No, I definitely don’t think so and you should not either. Would you have walked up and asked me what my Twitter name was?

We became friends BEFORE you knew I had anything to do with VirChewAll. A search for VirChewAll would return your Twitter profile no matter your name. But if you added anyone as a friend on Twitter how likely would a @VirChewAll name be to pull return followers?

Barb returned via email this saying “For the sake of argument – customers will be looking for Petco, not ‘Janice-the-cashier’ “.

Customers look for you on Google, people look for people on Twitter.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Exactingly! We want “Flo the Cashier” my favorite #1 example of how social marketing should be done via a commercial entity. Janice the cashier is exactly what I would say would be the middle road, if you must be commercial. She is only second to Vince the Slap Chop / ShamWoW guy.

We could talk about Flo all day but let’s get back to Barb. What is her Twitter name going to be? I say we all vote in the comments below and you all help her decide!

I vote, well who cares what I think, what do you have to say? Are you a chew toy or a person?


  1. Posted June 15, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I do want to say very quickly that I am in no way affiliated with Plush Puppies, VirChewAll PetCo, Lowe’s or HomeDepot, thank you all for not suing me and thanks to who ever cleans up those piles left behind by my dog. This is all for the sake of humor and telling a story.

    P.S. My lawyer made me say this.

  2. Posted June 15, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Also you are more than welcome to post a link to your Twitter account so we can see what you are doing there too.

  3. Margie Dee
    Posted June 15, 2009 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I would prefer to get to know the person first. As we become friends then we can open up to more interests and what it is we do..
    About the dog, I hope you cleaned up after your Bow Wow pal..(aka. your four legged friend).

    Thank you for sharing Chris..
    Sending Smiles:)
    Margie D

  4. Posted June 15, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Sorry for the double email to my subs today, I guess that makes me a chew toy because I have never pulled that boner before. This is an old trick the gurus use all the time to get away with a double email, I am just glad it was to something silly like the ShamWow post.

    Thanks to those of you who have me the heads up right away, never pulled that bone head move before, but I guess there are still some bullets in the newbie gun…..

  5. Posted June 15, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Why is it that the cats never want to go with me to Petco?

    I’m an advocate for be yourself – all the time. Even if you work for a big company like I did until recently, make the relationship with the customer be about you and them, not the company and them.

    I’ve been able to call my former customers, say my name and get a great response, “Oh, Hi Julie” instead of “Where did you work before?” They know me – because I use my name.

  6. Posted June 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    IMHO: I would say for Twitter, use your own name. Suppose you decide to sell your very profitable business selling chew toys and decide to open another business selling shoes. Chances are you won’t be using your chew store name to sell those shoes.

    As you mention, Chris, people want to build the relationship before they’ll trust to buy something from you online.

  7. Posted June 16, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Certainly food for thought.
    A funny thing happened – when I signed up for Twitter using my own mame, apparently I unwittingly allowed it to “follow” all Tweeters in my address book (or so it seems). I think that my name is well known to my customers – it’s on every email, every newsletter, and my mailing labels say “Barb Salsbury’s Vir-Chew-All Enterprizez”. I laughed out loud when I got two direct tweets from customers saying “Who ARE you and WHY are you FOLLOWING ME!”?

  8. Posted June 18, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “Who ARE you and WHY are you FOLLOWING ME!”? What a stupid thing to say. If you want a walled garden and only want mutual friends to be allowed to see your profile, go to Facebook. Twitter is a micro blogging platform. IT is about sharing and meeting new people what ever your interests.

    Twitter is about conversations with those from all over that want to share interesting things and chat about them. Those people are idiots. “Who ARE you and WHY are you FOLLOWING ME!”? The most stupid thing I have heard today….

  9. Posted June 19, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I would say she should go with Barb as her handle, but in the process might as well snag up the vir-chew-all name too to protect the brand.

    I use my personal twitter handle (the ultra-creative @AdamPieniazek) and that’s where I spend most of my time, but I have one set up for my company too (. The company was is used to send out news, links to resources, links to new posts. There’s some communication going on there too, but not much. It’s basically there to protect the brand.

    My personal one is where I spend most of my time and have gotten clients via because I talk about what I’m passionate about, which ends up showing what I’m good at too.

    So, my final answer, it’s free to grab both so do that but in the end use the personal one mainly.

  10. Posted June 21, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve been successful with using both my personal picture along with my branding name…”GutZyWoman” on twitter and all of my online real estate, but I’ve also been at it a few years, so people make the connection. I also don’t sell on twitter but only let people know what I’m involved in and passionate about.

    I do not follow tweeples who send me straight to a sales page from their twitter page when they first follow me. I think it’s rude. However I have plenty of people I’ve bought from after following the for a while…like you Chris. It took me about 6 months to warm up to you and now I’m a member.

    So my vote is if people are already following Barb, maybe she will be successful combining like I have.

    Deb Ducic
    aka GutZy Woman

  11. Posted June 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Deb, you must be one GutZyWoman to have still be reading my stuff after 6 months. Most feel it works the other way around. LOL! Seriously, though, you have just demonstrated that what the gurus teach in correct:

    That subscribers are where your sales come from, not direct sales. I have been testing this lately rather loosely but email is STILL king.

    Even though I am a social marketing know it all, I do have to make it clear that RSS, Twitter, Facebook sharing, it does not matter, hands down email is still the return traffic and sales king.

    Always a pleasure to hear from you Deb! – Chris

  12. Posted June 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Also looking back to see who commented on this I am surprised. Everyone of you are paying Surf Club friends. Hhhmmm, there is a case study brewing in there somewhere…

  13. Posted June 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I have to say it took me a while to see through your tough guy presence and notice your passion and heart felt desire to help people work through the bull. After getting fed up with all the hype out there and the slick dressed up dishonesty…I found you to be refreshingly real, a bit rough around the edges and all.

    I think that’s why women are so into social networking… looking AND FINDING “for real” people. When people are truly themselves online, women look past the surface, warts and all (not saying you have warts Chris ;)and find the ones who offer real value in the form of what’s going to truly benefit them without having to follow a pack of has-beens or those with ego’s the size of the state of Texas. (We both know there are PLENTY of them out there).

    I encourage you to keep being yourself…even when you hit the “big time”. Your garage is kinda cool! Just try not to let your ego get in the way of your desire to help the little guys. Keep on keeping it real!

    I am convinced that Google is an incredible tool…you’ll be seeing more from me very soon about that as will the online world with my “GutZyGrams”. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge about it.

    And thanks for making me feel good about contributing here on your site!

    aka GutZy Woman

  14. Posted June 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    @Deb, thanks so much for the straight talk. So many old school marketers kind of turn up their nose at my “every day, working class guy” personality. You don’t know how much your words mean.

    We have thought about a more professional approach but if I step back and when I get comments like these I realize that this is not what I am, but who I am.

    Paul Myers, who I mention all the time still answers his own phone. He walks down to the corner bar and hangs out with a bunch of bikers. Definitely my role model as a real person.

    My best friends are NOT computer guys. One is a plumber and the other a commercial electrician. They are the first to tell me when I am getting to big for my britches!

    Thanks again Deb. Your words mean so much, but when it comes from someone who is paying me for my social marketing stuff then it is worth so much more. Cheers!

    Humbler and Wiser – Chris Lang

  15. Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    She should have both, and here is why:

    Saying that she can only have one, or that there is only one role she can play on twitter is like telling her that a woman can not be both a mother and a wife at the same time, or that the role of wife & mother are identical in nature.

    She should have an account, and her business should have one too.

    They are 2 distinct different things and serve 2 different purposes.

    @VirChewAll would be the business account, which is for her established customers to follow, to stay informed on what’s new and when she runs specials, and for her to get a chance to get to know her existing customers on a more personal, friendly, social level.

    She can show the public that it is a company that approachable, has a heart & cares, and is run by normal people and not a bunch of automated machines.

    She can also handle simple support issues and direct those in need of more specialized help how to get it, answer questions about her products, etc.

    Except for following anyone that mentions her company or product by name, she should not actively seek out people to follow with this account. For the most part, she should let them come to her and follow her first.

    @BarbSalisbury would be her personal account, where she gets to be social and actively seek out and make friends and then draw them towards her business, at which point they become customers and then followers of her business account, too.

    This is the account that she will use to follow all of the twittering dogs. Then she will comb through the followers of all those dogs, looking for real people, the dog lovers… avoiding the clueless marketers looking to turn everyone’s stream into nothing but annoying irrelevant ads.

    Her tweets should be personal in nature, with at least 1/3 of them being direct replies to her followers tweets. She should drop occasional links to nice dog stories that she finds on the web, funny dog videos, etc, being careful not to overdo it.

    It should not become an ad stream and she should not mention her products or company except in real conversation with other people. Never post anything that smells like an ad. It should always be a personal recommendation to a specific person that she has taken the time to have conversations with in the past.

  16. Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    @Eli, awesome post, thanks for taking the time to write a detailed set of instructions.

    I definitely agree Barb should protect her brand. But the personal participation that makes a social profile effective should come from a personal profile.

    I am definitely agreeing with you Eli.

    What I do want to point out is what I have been pushing for over a year now: Decide on ONE social site you ENJOY using and make it your home. Do not go out and sign up for 50 social sites like the 30 Day challenge suggests. That is totally a plan for failure. Do not do that.

    Pick one site: Digg, Stumble, Facebook, Twitter, whatever you find you enjoy and PARTICIPATE and replace what you normally enjoy doing each day with the social site.

    If you love reading the morning news online use Digg to discover breaking news stories.

    If you are into personal interaction and networking, especially if you do not focus on your site or do not have one, then Facebook could be great for you.

    But by all means if you HATE using the social site, then scrap it and move on. Track your conversions with Google Analytics and if you are not meeting high quality NEW contacts and making SALES then move on.

    Then learn EVERYTHING you can about Google Friend Connect and Google Wave. This is going to completely dominate how we use the Internet and promote our selves and our products for the next 10 years. IT is not even a social site, it is an OS. A Google OS, they are using social features to make it popular. After July 4th I will have a new video out and Jack Humphrey and I will be making this extremely clear.

    See you then! BigChief SEOless of the WhiteHat Clan – Chris Lang

  17. Posted June 30, 2009 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    hi guys

    I go with using your own name as your main twitter..but here is the rub for me..

    I have more followers on my commercial twitter using my commercial name

    Hyperadvertiser at twitter

    than I do on my personal twitter at

    Geofflord at twitter

    so how did that happen !!!

    Geoff Lord

  18. Posted June 30, 2009 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    hey Chris

    with regards to your comments about signing up for many social posting sites as recommended in the thirty day challenge.

    I would disagree with you on one element of your thoughts. It depends on what your overall aim is regarding your internet marketing. If you are looking to build credibility and a good following of eager readers to what you may personally have to say then yes, stick to one social media, but if you are looking to gain “exposure” to a specific website for commercial purposes then social posting to multiple sites is required.

    Social posting to multiple social sites for website “traffic” and “backlinking” purposes works well if done sensibly. Google still take into account the value of those “backlinks” to your site and especially when those sites which are pointing to you site are authority sites.

    I use both strategies, depending on what my intentions are regarding my activities, so to say that one is method is wrong and the other is right is in my opinion is misleading.

    Geoff Lord

  19. Posted June 30, 2009 at 7:00 am | Permalink


    You said “Social posting to multiple social sites for website “traffic” and “backlinking” purposes works well if done sensibly. Google still take into account the value of those “backlinks” to your site and especially when those sites which are pointing to you site are authority sites.”

    Completely wrong for social bookmarking and I would not publicly go into this but that sounds like something Howie Schwartz would say before the social bookmarking slapdown of Christams 2008. Those days are gone with social bookmarking software and spamming social sites.

    * There is only Facebook when it comes to networking.
    * There is only Twitter for well…. Twitter.
    * There are only 3 social bookmarking sites worth your time.
    * There is only Digg for Traffic.

    It takes 10,000 minimum in monthly visitors to get enough fraffic for conversion for most sites. Any goal for traffic I set with a client’s site starts at 100,000 visitors a month.

    It is also important to note I am talking commercial sites that sell a product, not sites that support brick and mortar businesses or professional carriers.

    And 5 Diggs is not worth your time. If you do not get 100 Diggs, go back home. If you do not reach a threshold of a good indicator then it is a negative one and 5 Diggs or any pathetic number like this should be billed as a failure.

    If you do not get the most votes for a keyword term in social bookmarking then you have gotten nothing. Second place in social bookmarking sucks and is a failure. There is only one, the one that is top ten on Google.

    Since it takes devotion and participation to get what you want out of social sites then you do not have time to waste it on more than a few. Signing up to 30 to 50 social sites and spamming them with submission software in NOT how to get the positive notice of Google. Those days are over.

    If ANYONE advocates that run the other way. But no one listend to this advice before and I do not expect them to listen to it now. Just search “social bookmarking slapdown 2008” and you will see what I mean. Remember that 3 top marketers all pulled their so called “Systems” in January 2009. Just look back in the archives here….

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