Guest Blog: Social Media Tools – Part II Twitter by Pierre Schaeffer

Earlier this September, Twitter crossed two major milestones: the company turned five and announced it now enjoyed 100 million active users around the globe… Another proof, if needed, that Internet years are indeed like dog years.

If you are like me a regular user of Twitter, you know that while staying true to its core standard setting constraint of 140 characters per tweet, the “micro-blogging” service has radically evolved during all these years in experience, features and positioning. For a quick refresh on prior episodes, consult the Twitter history article on Mashable, the digital media and culture news site – http://mashable.com/2011/05/05/history-of-twitter/

Today, Twitter has become the de facto place where news, big and small, will break first before any other medium. It’s an obvious consequence of its succinct format, the presence on it of virtually all the information outlets of the planet (media, corporate or private), its ongoing deep integration with the mobile platforms or the upcoming match in heaven of the service with connected TVs.

As importantly, because your Twitter stream is naturally filtered and curated by the unique point of view of the people you follow – and provided you follow with a purpose -, my humble experience is that you will often discover content and articles that you wouldn’t have read elsewhere. On top of that, the latest generation of Twitter client software has certainly considerably helped master the “signal to noise” ratio of your stream by allowing you to structure in various themes your followers’ list.

It is therefore not a surprise to see the rapid adoption of Twitter by marketing organizations as part of their social media participation, especially as the measurement toolkit matures around this online service. Without aiming for exhaustivity, some mainstream Twitter applications include:

  • Customer support: the real time nature of Twitter allows you to be present at all the critical moments of truth when your customers invoke your brand (pre or post sale).
  • Engagement with the heavy users of your industry: whatever you’re into, chances are your heavy users play an over proportionate role in shaping your market (profit, influence, offer adoption…). Identify and follow them specifically as part of your engagement strategy.
  • Competitive watch: your marketing network can structure a stream surgically focused on gathering intelligence on a competitor by following the tweets of their employees, suppliers, trade news…. If needed, another reason why the adoption of a social media policy by your company is an imperative!
  • Alerts: deals, promotions, contests… depending on the mix of such alerts in your overall conversation stream with your followers’ base, you may consider opening a specific Twitter account for such tweets.

Like the law of gravity, typical best-in-class social media practices apply in the Twitterverse as well, including keeping your business goals in mind and playing to your brand personality in an authentic, transparent way.

Finally, to the detractors that regularly point out that the Twitter active population is mostly constituted of listeners versus active tweeters, I would like to point out the recent findings of scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities”): when just 10% of a population holds and shares an unshakable belief, their belief will always eventually be adopted by the majority.

Pierre Schaeffer (@pierres)
Founder & CEO, Marketect LLC

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