I know. You must be thinking “OMG, another Twitter post…”. Yes, Twitter has been on the spotlight for some time now and everybody seems to be using it. But what this post is actually about the uses of Twitter.
If you consider the basic use of Twitter, it is far simpler than a Social Network. That’s because you cannot consider Twitter a social network per se, although it contains a strong networking (essential actually!) and it is based on exchanging information amongst peers. Nor can you consider it a Social Bookmarking tool, although the use it has been having from most users is to share links to interesting stuff they come across the web. It’s not a messaging system either as it goes beyond it. So what exactly is it? It really doesn’t matter what it is – it’s a lot more interesting to check what it can do.
Twitter has something that is completely different from any other service of the same genre – it can work as an add-on to other tools online. That’s right – we can consider Twitter as an upgrade to the user’s needs and purposes online. Better yet, Twitter can work towards a company’s objectives and even a fellow website purposes. Consider the following examples:
- Digg – Digg is a Social Bookmarking website. What Twitter does is, instead of having all sorts of digital scrap on the top popularity links due to having the same “credible” individuals posting and using convenient titles such as “TOP 10 MICROSOFT vs. APPLE and IPHONE PICTURES” (all the basic keywords to attain first place on Digg’s homepage), Twitter allows the users to select the people most in tune with their preferences and just check the postings and links placed by them. Yes, I said it’s not a Social Bookmarking service, but the fact is that more users are using Twitter to share their common interests and “work” related information. Which leads me to my next point;
- Linked In – A professional social network, Linked In is probably one of the best sources of information for head hunters to find their targets. It’s like an online résumé. But what Linked In lacks (or simply users don’t use it to that purpose) is information regarding the involvement of the target with the type of job he has. Is he a simple Joe who just does his 8 hours of work and doesn’t do much more or is he this information powerhouse that would be valuable for the company? Simple – if this person has a Twitter account, you can check just the type of information he shares and is interested in simply by following him and checking who he is following. Sure, you can always say that the Linked In target is not exactly Twitter’s target, but consider that most Twitter users are professional above 35 years-old.
- MySpace and Facebook – Here’s the bigger issue. How to mashup Twitter and these two while the first two have a service that sort of works the same way Twitter does. Well, consider this – how much stuff do you have on your wall to check? With Twitter, you can focus the attention towards where on the Profile you want people to look at without all the crowded information about the Quizzes you did.
- Youtube – Having recently added a Twitter sharing button, Youtube has definitely discovered the potential in Twitter for it’s business. Twitter users are used to follow up links and, like I mentioned before, are more prone to go to a link to Youtube placed by a trusted followed source that on any other place.
I could go on but I believe you got the big picture. The truth about Twitter is that it isn’t a threat to other Social Media websites – it can actually work towards a common goal. It all comes down to how the relationship between the companies influences the integration of their tools and, of course, on the user’s interest.
Twitter is growing so we are sure to see more users joining Twitter. So, instead of fighting it, why not just ride the waves like Youtube did and find out how we can use it to the consumers advantage. Companies have already started scrapping Twitter and finding the first uses from this tool:
- Extending the reach for those individuals or companies that already have a blogging strategy in place, and want to deepen or further ties. Good examples: Carnival Cruise Lines. The ScienceNewsBlog’s weather tracking updates. Andy Carvin’s PBS blog on education and technology.
- Retailers announcing sales and deals. Good example: Deals on Dells. Blue-light specials at Amazon.
- Increasing the ability for frequent updates to blogs or web sites or news. Examples: The NY Times, CNN, BBC, Adrants, and those of us here at MarketingProfs.
- Building consensus or a community of supporters. Good examples: Presidential candidates John Edwards or Barack Obama.
- Building buzz. Example: Scott Monty and CC Chapman introduce a new blog.
- Updating breaking news at conferences or events. Example: Jeremiah at the Web 2.0 Expo. Forrester seems poised to use it to update happenings at its upcoming Consumer Forum.
- Updating your network to shape your own personal branding: Example: Oh boy… there are zillions. Pick a face on Twitter. You’ll see what I mean.
Get more information on how the Twitter community works and thinks for your marketing efforts. As I’ve repeat several times before respect your audience – don’t jump in and apply pure hard-selling tactics because that’s not what consumers what. It’s not enough to repeat that again.