By George Nimeh MD at iris Digital and is on Twitter: @iboy
On Twitter, it is hard to accrue a group of followers and harder still to keep them. Ask yourself this: How many people will be following the meerkat in a few months? And how much will they care? And how much will it matter? I wonder.
The best use of Twitter I've seen so far is by Jet Blue, which is using Twitter at a "higher-brand level”. They use Twitter to provide utility in a straight-forward and useful way. It has character. The people "on duty" are named individuals, and I think that's strong. And they get involved: Posts about bad weather in one place; Answers to a man's question about bringing a special-needs child on board in another.
What Jet Blue is doing takes time, effort, dedication, a relaxing of the way the legal department operates with regards to "official" company content, and obviously, some cash. If you're running a brand (or advising one), ask yourself this: Is your organization capable of doing that? If the answer is no, all you'll end up with is a meerkat and I think we can all do better than that.
Beyond the conversations (and utility) mentioned above, celebrity, charity, customer relations and command line services make up the remainder of my wonderfully alliterative and incredibly retweetable "5C's on using Twitter for business"
5C’s on using Twitter for business:
Conversation: Twitter isn’t only about you and your brand. It is a social environment, and marketers should avoid the pitfalls normally associated with thinking that the world revolves around them. Agent Provocateur is joining up their conversations via Twitter, Facebook, a blog, a website and other “social media” activity to create authentic conversations. Not bad.
Celebrity: It is much easier for celebs to “Tweet” than brands or products. Twitter is intrinsically about following people, so it should come as no surprise that famous folks who lead interesting lives and have interesting things to say (like Stephen Fry and Al Gore) have large groups of followers on Twitter. The takeaway for brands and products is to give a face and a personality to what you are doing.
Charity: Twitter is emerging as a strong place to engage and enable social movements. The Twestival (a worldwide synchronous charitable event in support of clean water) will reportedly raise over $1M almost exclusively due to efforts of people on Twitter.
Customer relations: From basic questions to crisis management, Twitter provides an accessible platform for people to speak to businesses. Ideally, real people with real personalities should do this, eliminating the generic “corporate
Command line services: Savvy and innovative marketers can create and deliver "command line services" like the unofficial update service from @uktrains and the very handy @myflightinfo. There is a ton of untapped utility there which is bound to create brand love and big bucks.
1) First of all, we live in a world where utility, entertainment and crap all compete against each other, and Twitter increases both the signal and the noise. Marketers need to be careful to not to add to the noise, else few will follow.
2) Second, spam is inevitable, and Twitter is young. Just wait, it will happen.
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