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360i POV on Twitter for Current

360i POV on Twitter for Current



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Published by: 360i on Apr 28, 2009
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NEW YORK | ATLANTA | CHICAGO | DETROIT | SAN FRANCISCO | LONDON | info@360i.com | 888.360.9630
© 2009 360i LLC. All Rights Reserved
Integrated Solutions. Measurable Results.
360i Point of View on
Current TV
April 2009
Twitter is a fast-growing communication platform where users post short updates for anyone whofollows them. Marketers are using it too, by listening to what others are saying as a form of buzzmonitoring and by participating with the community.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a communication platform that allows users to post brief, public updates (or “tweets”)and respond to others, creating conversations that anyone can read. Twitter users can submitand read updates from the Web, mobile devices, desktop applications, and other channels.Instead of making friends like in social networks, Twitter users follow each other, and it’s notnecessary to reciprocate. All posts are textual, and they’re limited to 140 characters, which iseven shorter than the 160 character limits for a standard text message. (By way of comparison,the previous sentence is 142 characters, and this one is 84.) Posts commonly include links, andthere are services to post photos and other multimedia content, though those are built on top of Twitter and not part of the core platform.Twitter usage is often considered “microblogging,” and it’s the most popular by far of any suchtool. Michael Arrington, founder of the blog TechCrunch, summed up the community’s devotionin April 2008 when he wrote, “I now need Twitter more than Twitter needs me.” Many bloggers use Twitter to complement their blogging, as Twitter allows people to post quick,timely updates that wouldn’t necessarily work as blog posts, and tweeting fosters livecommunity interaction that’s hard to accomplish through a blog.
Who’s Using Twitter?
Soon the question will be, “Who isn’t?” The service has grown exponentially in 2009. comScorereported that Twitter attracted 9.3 million unique visitors in the U.S. in March and 19.1 millionglobally. Twitter’s month-to-month growth in the U.S. was 131% in March, after growth of 55%in February and 33% in January. The U.S. growth is charted below.
NEW YORK | ATLANTA | CHICAGO | DETROIT | SAN FRANCISCO | LONDON | info@360i.com | 888.360.9630
© 2009 360i LLC. All Rights Reserved
Integrated Solutions. Measurable Results.
360i Point of View on
Current TV
April 2009
Why Should Marketers Use Twitter
Here are some of the benefits for marketers participating with Twitter:
Engage in real-time conversations with key influencers for a brand and amplify theenthusiasm of brand evangelists
Gain immediate feedback; use Twitter as a real-time focus group
Intercept negative brand feedback and address it before it spreads virally
Establish a brand as an industry resource for bloggers and the media
Create a human presence and voice for the brand
Gain brand credibility as an early adopterEven without participating, almost all marketers can benefit from monitoring Twitter to gaugewhat people are saying about them, their competitors, and their industry.
Marketers Using Twitter
Below are some notable marketers using Twitter, along with their total followers and updates asof April 2009:
Current TV (@current): arguably the greatest tweeter of all time, and winner of thirdannual Twitizen of the Year award for contributions to twittderdom (12,500 followers,1,900 updates)
Comcast (@comcastcares): responds to any discussions of Comcast and will call users tohelp with customer support (17,000 followers, 29,000 updates)
Zappos (@zappos): CEO regularly tweets about his business, Silicon Valley, his travels,and anything else (500,000 followers, 1,600 updates); twitter.zappos.com links to over400 employees using Twitter
National Geographic Channel (@natgeochannel): Program information, fun facts, andregular contests (11,000 followers, 650 updaets)Publishers are also on Twitter, including CNN (@CNN), MediaPost (@mediapost), The New YorkTimes (@nytimes), and Wired (@WIREDscience). All of them post news updates, and none of those listed communicate with readers. Some popular bloggers take a hybrid approach,including Mashable (@mashable) and TechCrunch (@techcrunch).
NEW YORK | ATLANTA | CHICAGO | DETROIT | SAN FRANCISCO | LONDON | info@360i.com | 888.360.9630
© 2009 360i LLC. All Rights Reserved
Integrated Solutions. Measurable Results.
360i Point of View on
Current TV
April 2009
Challenges of Twitter
Like any new communications channel, Twitter presents its own challenges, including:
: For consumers and marketers alike, Twitter can require an investment of time tomonitor and participate in the channel. If participating is successful, it can take evenmore time responding to and conversing with followers.
: Marketers need to adapt to the more informal, conversational nature of Twitter.The brand must find its voice, and one that sounds like a person, not a press release.
: When starting to Twitter, what do you tweet? Posts must be succinct whileproviding value to followers.
: When Twitter users talk about brands, they tend to love getting responseswhen those brands are on Twitter. Yet when those same users discuss any other subject,they may find brands to be more intrusive. Marketers need to be cautious when insertingthemselves into conversations.
: Marketers can have fully branded Twitter accounts, corporatespokespeople who are clearly identified with the brand, or executives who post their ownupdates but also represent the brand. Marketers must figure out what fits best for theirown organization and craft policies accordingly.
Measuring Success
It can be challenging to measure the direct impact of a Twitter program. Dell has reported thatTwitter monitoring and employees’ Twitter communications boosted sales by $1.5 million. Evenbroad estimates like this can be hard to come by. Twitter should also not be considered a directsales channel; simply posting sales or coupons on Twitter will not reach a wide audience. Brandbuilding success metrics (i.e. uptick in awareness or consideration) need to be developed toevaluate Twitter, and other similar forms of media. For starters, 360i recommends tracking thefollowing metrics:
People following the Twitter account
Traffic generated from Twitter
Sentiment of posts on Twitter
Blog posts and media mentions generated due to Twitter
Video views stemming from Twitter links
Number of customers or consumers assisted or interacted withOne thing that is challenging to quantify is the strength of an emotional connection that Twittercan help marketers forge with consumers. Someone talking about a brand and then hearingback from that brand with a personal message can create a deep appreciation for that brand,one that is likely to fan word of mouth buzz beyond Twitter itself.

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