I can’t believe how many people still can’t see the value of Twitter! That’s because the hype has focused on the tremendous growth of Twitter as a social network. and the apparent lack of Twitter’s ability to monetize their traffic (although this too is changing). That leads many veterans of the 2000 tech bubble to be wary of “eyeball metrics” when business models haven’t been fully thought through or well executed. Then of course everyone gets in on the 7 Tips for Optimizing Your Presence on Twitter gravy train which propels the lemmings into the Twitter sea, with no sense of why they are there or where they are actually going.
The answer is yes, you (or someone else in your organization) should tweet. At least until Twitter is perhaps eclipsed by a better real-time, short messaging service.
The most prevalent reason people cough up for not getting Twitter is typically expressed as the question: what can you do with only 140 characters? Since links can be sent with your tweets, you have ample opportunity to present your message in any format, from simple text to rich multimedia and video. And how many characters would you want to input into your phone? The mobile SMS nature of Twitter means you can tweet anytime, anywhere. Unlike other media, Twitter forces the marketer to boil down the marketing message to 140 characters. Tweets are therefore direct and to the point, with little room for bloated or mixed messages. Twitter is a place where you can hang out with people that share your interests any place in real-time, offering opportunities for deeper collaboration.
That brings me to the second question twitter-resistors ask: Who has the time for this? This is a trickier question. The answer depends upon your overall involvement with social media. Engaging on Twitter typically takes a relatively small fraction of time invested in one’s overall social networking opportunities. You can of course reduce the time you need to put in by leveraging content that you can easily find across the deep and broad web. There are also plenty of tools that enable you to replicate your postings on multiple social networking sites, as well as search tools to keep your Twitter view very targeted so that you don’t get distracted by all the other stuff going on in the vast Twitterverse.
But most importantly, there is no single social network or networking tool that will get the whole viral, word-of-mouth thing going for you or your brand. You need to work them together. Twitter is just another arrow in your sling.
SOME SPECIFIC REASONS TO TWEET
Let’s get a little less abstract and describe, more specifically, why its important for your organization to tweet:
Gain Market Intelligence. Find out what your customers are saying about you, your company and competitors. Listen to what they are saying about your products, customer service, community involvement, etc., and make adjustments to improve your products, services, and reputation.
Build the Brand. Increase brand awareness and reinforce brand messaging through another channel. Make brand adjustments based upon real data from your customers and the customers of your competitors.
Increase Sales. By providing real-time offers, based upon real-time information about your inventory, buying trends, etc., you can otpimize sales for the current moment. Perhaps the best example is how Dell earned $3 million by announcing special offers on Twitter. Another great example is the Kogi Korean BBQ Taco Truck that increased sales exponentially by simply letting their followers know where the truck would be in the LA area throughout the day. Hundreds of followers, who would have otherwise missed out on getting these delicious $2 tacos, line the streets at the specified time and location to buy their favorite tacos. All of the customer testimonials on the quality of the tacos, as well as the inherent fame of becoming a “social media celebrity, ” elicited requests to open up more profitable taco bars in some of the cities nightspots.
Improve Customer Service. As documented by the infamous website ComcastMustDie.com, Comcast had a terrible reputation for its poor customer service. As we all know, cable TV installations are fraught with problems, and Comcast was castigated for its inability or unwillingness to respond to service problems. Then came Frank Eliason, and his comcastcares presence on Twitter. His team of 10 has received about 30,000 public tweets to date. Their real-time responsiveness to customers has resolved thousands of customer service issues and has greatly overcome negative sentiment about the brand.
Facilitate Collaboration. More and more, the knowledge community is spreading throughout the far reaches of the globe. Even people who work in the same organization are less likely to be co-located. Instead they are spread out in offices around the globe or isolated in their home offices. Twitter has become a virtual “water cooler” for many of these workers by enabling informal communications to occur, often stimulating productive collaboration and creativity for the company. Even when it doesn’t yield direct productivity results, it adds another important social element to the work “environment.”
Still wondering why there is all this fuss about Twitter? Do you have your own examples about how Twitter has helped your business or reasons why you’re still sitting on the sideline?