You read that right -- it's the place where you watch what other people say they do. Some of them are paid and are keen on paying to to do it, namely brands. Sometimes you're inclined to talk back -- and now you can. Good news for businesses, people who use Twitter frequently are receptive to information about products and services.
Even more good news for B2B marketers as broadcasting is still alive and kicking on Twitter -- and now finally there is a medium that is within their marketing budgets. However, there's a catch -- while awareness of the tool is up to 87% in America, a respectable percentage that compares well with Facebook at 88%, this awareness does not translate in use.
Only 7% use the tool. People are still wondering what benefits they'd gain from using the tool. It looks like marketers and businesses in general discovered good uses for Twitter before they did with other social networks. Is Twitter’s most natural path to revenue to commercialize interactions,
providing the “plumbing” for enterprise Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) efforts?
This is part of the information presented by Edison Research in a study of Twitter usage in America over the last three years. The study is based upon a nationally representative survey of 1,753 Americans age 12 and over, administered via land line and mobile phone interviews in February 2010.A couple of thoughts
While Twitter is great for short news alerts, and can be used for product promotions and quick interactions, people are still grappling with information overload. The more sophisticated users or those with budgets to pay for social media monitoring tools have found ways to filter and manage the stream.
The native Web application itself offers little help beyond saving hashtag/search terms. The good news is that PARC and MIT built a Twitter client that clusters messages in a useful
way. Look for the publicly accessible client in the summer. [hat tip
What's a valuable tweet? In the client they built, PARC and MIT address topic-based browsing:
- Topic relevance: Users particularly appreciated tweets relevant to their interests. They empowered this approach in the Eddi prototype, described in the paper.
- Tie strength: Users made sure to read tweets by strong ties and individuals of particular interest. This approach lends credence to the tie-strength design taken by Eric Gilbert in WeMeddle (wemeddle.com).
- Serendipity: Some users followed accounts that were far from their usual social circles or interests, simply because the person’s tweets were interesting. These users deliberately increased the amount of “noise” in their feed for the reciprocal opportunity to find a needle in the haystack.
The paper does highlight one data point that is consistent with the Edison Research study -- microblogging has not yet achieved saturation for professional uses.Integration as best approach
I won't get tired of writing or saying it. It's early days. Look at the data, and you'll see for yourself. Is Twitter or microblogging promising? Given our increased attention scarcity, probably a good bet. To me, integration while testing the tool is still the best approach.
Thus, the launch of @anywhere built on the right approach. The auto-linkification feature went live two weeks ago.
If you consider how successfully the CDC used Twitter to inform (on Twitter) and educate (off Twitter) us about H1N1 in the past year, even before @anywhere, you will start thinking about the possibilities in terms of your brand utility. They integrated the public effort with internal newsletters and communications to 15,000 employees globally, said Barbara Reynolds at a recent conference keynote.
What I'd like to see on Twitter:
- better speed and reliability (both still an issue)
- a more powerful search feature to identify industries/interests
- better ways to create lists for filtering content (than manually)
- bulk subscriber management options (so basic -- why can't I search and select my own followers?)
- some sort of Inbox sanity for DMs (no spam filters -- really?)
- anything location-based that you don't need to be a programmer to figure out
- the ability to control the experience of my business profile (portability and design will also set Twitter apart from the rigid Facebook)
What would you like to see on Twitter? What would make it useful for your business?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.