2008 was a big year for Twitter users and 2009 promises to be even better. The micro-blogging site is a great social networking tool, putting individuals, businesses, celebrities and spammers on the same ground. Twitter is a micro-blogging tool which allows up to 140 characters of short messages to be broadcast from its interface, which can be read by any other Twitter user. Unlike Facebook or Linkedin, Twitter allows users to declare who they are interested in following. A User who is being followed by another user doesn’t necessarily have to reciprocate. In comparison with our regular blogging, which is limited to a few posts in a month, Twitter fulfills the need for a faster mode of communication as it demands very little need of time and thought for content creation.
It is far more easier to communicate with other users than through any other traditional means or by social networking tools. On Twitter, a majority of the users seem to be open minded and they are aware of their expectations from the platform, making it easier to connect with each other. The platform crosses all boundaries when it comes to Social Media interaction. While popular social networking sites like Facebook/Linkedin ensure people keep in touch with personal/professional acquaintances, Twitter lets users connect with almost anyone who has a Twitter account.
I have been on Twitter for very few weeks and I have actively started using it only from 26th November 2008, the day when Mumbai was attacked. Information dissemination capabilities of Twitter is incredible, which has been proved time and again during the Presidential elections, Mumbai attacks and recently during Apple’s keynote at Macworld Expo 2009. Couple of weeks before Christmas, Will blogged about how Arena Flowers newsletter was flagged as Spam by Messagelabs, resulting in fewer sales from the newsletter than usual. A few of our blog readers, suggested that the post made an interesting media story and we eventually featured on Daily Mirror. Following this, we decided to punt the story around to see if it could gain any more mileage. This is when I realised how powerful Twitter is as a communication tool as it was easier to interact with a few Journalists and editors of Technology News sites.
As a Sales and Marketing channel, Twitter has tremendous potential for businesses, although it is a common belief that social media marketing for businesses is hard to quantify, as a majority of the value is realised by creating awareness rather than directly translating it into profits. Recently Dell reported $1 million in sales from Twitter, which in effect sounds like a drop in the pond for the companye as it represents 0.0016 % of the revenue. At the time of writing this blog post, Dell had a combined total of 8550 Twitter followers from nearly 30 Twitter accounts, which is lower than Apple. True, Apple has a single Twitter account. However, $1 million from 8550 followers apart from the brand exposure Dell gets is incredible. Dell could do much more with Twitter if it could be a little more intuitive rather than being the bugle for the company. For example, if you look at all of Dell’s Twitter accounts, only two accounts seem to have a higher number of followers (Dell Outlet & Digital Nomads). Clearly, users like communication and both of these accounts seem to be doing great job in doing that. On the DellOutlet account, customers seem to be interacting with the company by posting questions and comments, while on the latter Dell interacts with all of its followers, which is explained by the number of Twitterers Dell follows back. This shows that it is vital for Twitter users be a part of the community rather than being one dimensional.
Facebook and Twitter, two of the popular forms of social media, may not be the biggest internet money making machines like Google. But people behind these companies as well as investors are backing it completely because these platforms are teeming with potential customers and an astonishing amount of data waiting to be mined by marketers. Just a question how these companies get to monetise it? Conventional marketing channels (Print, Television, Radio etc) are always limited to various resourcing constraints, particularly for small businesses. However, Web 2.0 offers a balanced platform and inexpensive advertising solutions for all entities irrespective of their size and might. This is why it becomes relevant for businesses and brands to promote themselves on such platforms.
Businesses are on the road to adapting newer forms of ever evolving media and the Web 2.0 offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to pursue. New media is certainly not same as the old web, where there was a one directional flow of information. It fosters a balanced communication between businesses and customers. It’s about every day lives of individuals and businesses connected to time. With interfaces that allow users to track lives of friends, families and acquaintances, social media has been registering an exponential growth in the recent years. Clearly for businesses, Twitter, along with other social media tools, will become pretty much the norm in the coming months and businesses will realise the need to have a recognised social media team to scrape out the opportunities it has to offer.
When I began writing the post, the intentions were to list out top British celebrities actively tweeting on Twitter Space, before I slacked on the weekend. By the time I got myself back to the post again, a fair number of celebrity lists as well as Twitter tips had been published on many popular blogs and sites. There are many interesting posts on how to benefit from Twitter, How to use Twitter, When to follow back twitterers etc. Caroline Middlebrook, an internet entrepreneur and blogger, has put together a comprehensive Twitter Guide, which is very useful for budding as well as established Tweeters. Also, there is a great list of top 100 influential marketer’s with links to their Twitter accounts. Over the last few weeks, ever since Jonathan Ross followed Stephen Fry into the Tweet space, he has effectively played a Twitter detective and authenticated the presence of many Celebrity Tweeters. Just yesterday, another list was published by Guardian. Although not Britain specific, It has a list of UK politicians on Twitter along with a US list and a generic celebrity list. So if you are looking for a list of famous tweeters who you would like to follow, you should probably head to one of these many links.
If you fancy, you could also checkout my Twitter account for some famous names and businesses.