Twitter – expert panel offers view of its business use by Tony Thornby
Tweets can flag service issues, reflect reputation and contribute to company – market interaction. Ignore Twitter at your peril.
At Internet World (29th April 2008) a panel of experts gave their view of Twitter’s significance for companies. This article identifies some key points that emerged.
COMPANY POLICY ON TWITTER
Many companies main concern is employees time spent on social networking during the working day. But it is also clear that any company with employees needs to have a policy on their possible contribution to the ‘buzz’ about the company in Twitter and other social networks,
BUSINESS USE OF TWITTER
The usefulness of Twitter varies with each company and each should consider whether it is more appropriate to assign formal responsibility to sales, customer service or marketing/PR.
Some companies are successfully using Twitter to promote special offers – including BA and Dell. A more common advantage is however the unique insight that Tweets can give into what the market really thinks about your company: Specific mention was made here to website usability and unique value proposition.
If an account is explicitly a company’s account, it can become very highly ranked for searches of the company name and hence links in Tweets can bring visits to specific website pages. It would however appear that such links are not currently impacting ranking of those website pages.
The need for individual accounts to be consistent in their use was flagged – but lack of it can negatively impact the number of people reading that account’s Tweets (followers).
The importance of search tools to identify Tweets on your company, your competition and business opportunities was highlighted – for example talk about venues in a particular area might be of use to an event management company.
As with all social media / networking activity, the time needed to be successful can be considerable. It is therefore important – as in most things – to plan, implement, review in a constant cycle.
The growth in social media / networks means that more people are now aware what is being said about companies. It is therefore important to listen and be seen to be listening. Response to a criticism by solving the reported issue can turn a critic into an independent advocate.
Any ‘facts’ stated in Twitter should always be validated elsewhere because they are subjective and often just rumours.
THE FUTURE OF TWITTER
Microblogging is here to stay but Twitter may not dominate worldwide and certainly not in all countries. Effective use of Twitter requires use of eternal applications as well as the platform itself. It remains unclear how Twitter will develop a finance stream to fund its continued existence.
USEFUL RELATED ARTICLES
Types of Tweet – http://econsultancy.com/blog/3418-twitter-13-types-of-tweet-to-take-notice-of
Corporate twittering – http://econsultancy.com/blog/3675-confessions-of-a-corporate-tweeter
Search tools or Twitter – http://econsultancy.com/blog/3643-ten-twitter-search-tools
Measuring social media success – http://econsultancy.com/blog/3643-ten-twitter-search-tools
Hashtags – http://twitter.pbworks.com/Hashtags
Retweets – http://twitter.pbworks.com/ReTweets?SearchFor=retweet&sp=3