Monday, May 18, 2009
Everyone's doing it - signing up for Twitter, writing about Twitter, even actually Tweeting. Everyone who works in communications and marketing, that is. No wonder the Twitter user profile is older than Facebook or MySpace.
I would rather eat my shorts than constantly Tweet about what I'm up to. On the other hand, I don't believe that Twitter is a flash in the pan. A recent article in the Australian (April 30 2009) "Time is up for Twitter", which suggests that Twitter lacks content to create communities, was misguided.
Granted, plenty of people (curious marketers) sign up and then hardly or never use it. But, outside the communications industry, Twitter is genuinely gaining traction thanks to the fact that it provides the public with a legitimate way to stalk celebrities - and for celebrities to exercise personal control over the manner in which they're stalked. Oprah, Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher are compulsive Tweeters and they have rapidly attracted huge communities.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of Twitter is its real-time nature. It's increasingly used as a Search service to get the pulse on the very latest sentiment across the globe instantly. Twitter is increasingly the first to receive breaking news stories from people on the scene. Major news organisations, including CBS and The Washington Post teamed up with Twitter to improve their own news service, in particular coverage of last year's US election campaign.
Twitter provides genuine opportunities for brands. They can communicate updates on products and offers to everyone who has signed up as a follower and moreover, they can have conversations with their fans. Provided they keep their information up-to-the-minute, in keeping with the way of Twitter.
Tourism Queensland has over 3,000 followers, thanks partly to its "Best job in the world" campaign. Since joining Twitter in December 2008, the World Wildlife Fund has gathered over 2,000 followers. Boardshop, a small Australian business, has recruited 1,500 followers since last October, to whom it largely communicates promotions. Clearly there's potential to go beyond one-way marketing to have a conversation with boarders. For more examples see Online Marketing Banter.