Why Tweet?

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...

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.


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?

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8 thoughts on “Why Tweet?

  1. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  2. Pingback: Why Tweet? | CaniCule

  3. Rob,

    One of the other reasons for not Tweeting is that it is SOOOO OVERWHELMING!! The amount of data and messages flying at you is incredible!

    Two things changed my attitude towards Twitter. The first was understanding that no one expects anyone to read or respond to everything. It’s not email or voicemail. Feel free to ignore/read/answer/Tweet as the spirit moves you. Twitter is a giant river: dip out a drink whenever you want!

    Second, the basic Twitter software is hard then heck to organize to follow what you want to follow closely. Use a third-party software to organize Tweets as you want to see them. With a little filtering to pull selected streams, the medium becomes a fascinating place to keep up with what’s going.

    Don’t take Twitter too seriously. It’s meant to be fun!

  4. Pretty cool post. I just found your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  5. Pingback: To Tweet or Not to Tweet, that is the question « Holistic Visibility

  6. Rob wrote: That brings me to the second question twitter-resistors ask: Who has the time for this?

    I find this to be popular objective many companies small and large make! I will use this article as fuel to prove the value in using this tool for business (branding & revenue). I have introduced and managed twitter for a few of my clients and they like it but they don’t really feel like they have time to stay with it! That’s were I come in, and play the role but there has to be trust and both parties have to be on the same page. Likes the blog Rob, I hope you don’t mind I posted this on whollysblog.com I though gen Y would like to hear what you have to say! 🙂

  7. Rob,
    Thanks for providing this valuable information on how to keep the conversation going with your clients.
    It can be overwhelming if one doesn’t have a roadmap.

  8. Your comment about Comcast is interesting. We have Comcast and I never heard anything about this comcastcares initiative. I still think their service stinks.

    So who does it help? Not me. If they’re only implementing this great service strategy on Twitter then they’re missing a huge portion of their audience, made up of those who don’t Tweet and those who do but didn’t get the memo (tweet).

    I think Twitter is still new and still a *very* imperfect tool. Until it’s matured, I can’t be bothered with the hit or miss nature of it. I am an entrepreneur with a HUGE pile of work on my plate, and all of it is a lot more promising than trying to figure out how to get Twitter to work for my business. Maybe it is fine for companies like Comcast who can throw a half million bucks at a project, but for a bootstrapping startup it is not very practical. IMHO.

    Thanks for the interesting post though, I’m still looking for reasons to change my mind, which is why I read it :-).

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