Marketing with Twitter: How the parody Twitter account Adweak grew and helps with business leads

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Mickey “Paul” Taylor of Adweak
Mickey “Paul” Taylor of Adweak

Twitter account Adweak uses an Onion-type style of writing and pokes fun at agency and marketing life while marketing with Twitter. Founder and copywriter Mickey “Paul” Taylor joined me on a podcast episode and shares why he started the account and how it creates writing projects for him.

Listen to our conversation on Spotify here. On Apple Podcasts here. 

A sampling of Adweak Tweets

A few examples of marketing on Twitter in action with this satirical Adweak Tweets:

BREAKING: Over 50,000 New Ad Agencies Have Been Launched By Recently Laid Off Agency People

BREAKING: Copywriter Working Late At Home Wonders If He Can Still Order In Thai Food On Agency Tab

BREAKING: TripAdvisor Ad Sales Rep Not Having Any Luck With “Now Is The Perfect Time To Advertise” Sales Pitch

BREAKING: These Are “Uncertain Times” According To Every Email, Social Post, Blog Article From Every Brand

BREAKING: Brands Should Continue To Spend On Advertising, According To Ad Agencies

Mickey said the Adweak Twitter handle sees almost 2 million impressions a month and some readers click over to his website and contact him for marketing projects. He is marketing with Twitter by showing off his copywriting skills.

Many tweets are funny and often the brutal truth. The below is a summary of what was discussed on the show.

How did Adweak start? (2:28 min mark in podcast)

The most common comment they get is that posts are funny because they are true. The content comes from many years in the ad agency business. They’ve worked with big agencies and had their own agency. So it comes from personal experience.

A lot of times it’s what people want to say but can’t or won’t. Adweak can say them.

What’s the purpose of the account? (4:00)

Originally it was started just for fun and even had a website version. The website was harder to update than Twitter, which is often done on the fly, from a mobile phone.

They loved the Onion, the satire news site, and wouldn’t it be fun to do the Onion for advertising. The writing style is similar to the Onion’s, including the BREAKING in front of most every tweet.

At the beginning they were completely anonymous because they still worked in the agency business. The website was getting more and more popular and Adweak moved from digital issues to tweets. They also tried to duplicate the content on LinkedIn but it wasn’t quite as popular as it was on Twitter – potentially because LinkedIn is more formal.

Today it’s used as a lead generation tool. Most of the company’s business comes from people reading posts and reaching out to get help.

Prospects say they like the voice, writing style and want to work with them.

Adweak is also a bit of a test case to see what works on social media.

  • Sometimes they post often. Sometimes fewer.
  • The Adweak account follows nobody.

They wanted to gain an organic following and that’s one reason the account isn’t following anyone. Over the years, the follow-follow-back strategy is one that some brands have implemented. In that scenario, a brand follows somebody with the hopes that they will follow back.

How many people are reading Adweak? (7:00)

The account sees 1.8 million monthly impressions and sees 600-700 new followers per month. It’s grown organically because of the content.

What can the Adweak team be hired for? (7:43)

It’s a variety of marketing and advertising projects ranging from social media writing, press releases and other projects. Some conferences reach out as well to ask Mickey to speak at their event. Mostly copywriting because that’s what’s being highlighted on Twitter.

Check out my speaking page: Christoph Trappe’s speaking page: Content marketing | Digital marketing | Change Management | Business change management

Is marketing on Twitter effective when you hardly ever talk about products? (10:02)

Adweak hardly ever talks about services or products on their account. In fact, when Adweak asked for feedback on an upcoming book, I didn’t get the joke. Of course, there was no joke, but all other Tweets usually are poking fun at something. It took me a moment to realize they were really asking for feedback.

Marketing on Twitter and social media in general is about making a connection with your audience by showing off your skills. Another example that came to mind is the Holderness Family with their fun videos. The videos are fun to watch and also keep them top of mind for me if I ever need help with a video.

I want my videos to sing like theirs. It’s an easy conclusion to reach out to them.

The same is true here for copywriting. Need copywriting with a punch? The Adweak account is showing off their skills in that regard.

They also have grown a following. When the podcast episode first came out, it quickly broke into the top 5 of all my podcast episodes and was shared wildly. Some people even messaged me about it.

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What’s interesting about their marketing on Twitter strategy is that there’s hardly any strong calls to action. There’s a link to the website, which has an email listed at the bottom to reach out. People can also just send a direct message.

What about the Adweak book? (13:00)

The book is largely a compilation of tweets and is scheduled to come out in late May. Repurposing content for a book is a great strategy and I’ve done that as well. Some related reading on the topic:

Distribution strategies: This book is only available on podcast channels and here’s why

Create Once, Publish Everywhere: How to turn your podcast into a book

How to turn your blog into a book with real chapters

The Adweak book Is based on the Onion publishing a yearly book with the previous year’s articles. The same can be done with tweets. Every year there’s new content.

Cartoonist Tom Fishburne published 15 years of weekly or so cartoons in his book and people – including myself – bought and read it. (Links to books are affiliate links.)

I’m also currently considering updating yearly my Content Performance Culture book, which was released in early 2020. A lot of the content will be relevant for years. Some of the technical chapters could be updated yearly.

How to create content during an epidemic (17:00)

They also created a good amount of tweets that addressed the coronavirus pandemic. The trick here is to be on brand while not creating content that makes readers cringe.

Read next: 

Marketing during an epidemic: Should my brand share coronavirus-related content?

How businesses can maximize direct mail now as the U.S. Postal Services is seeing a decline

How to not let news coverage drive you crazy and keep you from getting work done during a pandemic

Marketing on Twitter wrap

The Adweak Twitter account certainly is a good example of how marketing on Twitter can work.

“There’s nothing new to being interesting,” Mickey said.

Be interesting and show off your skills on social media – and really all channels – and it can lead to a following and business.

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