Monday, 9 March 2009

Why should companies use Twitter in their communications?

We often get asked by clients: “What’s the point of Twitter?” “I’m not sure I get it.” “Do we need to use it?”

Darren Waters of BBC Online has written a great piece about how he / the BBC uses Twitter in reporting / researching.

In his words:
1.Talking to and responding to queries from readers, fellow professionals and colleagues.
2.Asking the audience questions and using the crowd as a source of information
3.Reporting updates, breaking news, and giving colour and texture
4.Pushing out headlines and blogposts to Twitter via RSS and
5.Getting a very fast and very global sense of events
6.Using hashtags to find viewpoints around breaking news as well as a source of user generated content
7.Unifying different threads of reporting - news website, blog, Flickr etc

I think this sums up nicely why and how Twitter is a useful tool and is as applicable to businesses as to the BBC’s reporting. Twitter is a great tool for companies to talk to and respond to their audiences fast – customers, prospects, influencers (including journalists – particularly in tech areas); to test new ideas; to inform audiences about new products, services or updates; and to create and monitor conversations between groups of consumers.

Also worth a read is Forrester’s blog about its 'POST' approach, which is really about applying common sense to using blogs, social media, Twitter etc. In summary, work out: who you need to reach and where they are gathered; your objective; your strategy for engaging with them; and the best technology / place to do it.


Mat Morrison said...

Kate -- like the straightforward sell. I'm increasingly of the opinion that there's nothing special to Twitter. I wouldn't develop a "Twitter Strategy" per se -- instead we're trying to include it as "day-to-day" on client accounts as part of their overall digital/social media strategy.

What is the point -- I'd ask -- of listening to what people are saying about you on the blogs and boards, of keeping an eye on what they're sharing on sites like YouTube and Flickr if you're not going to watch Twitter as well?

And if you listen, surely you must want to engage?

I suppose the answer to my questions might come in the form of another question: "Where does all this stop?"

To which I can only say, "I'm afraid it probably stops where (what you call) your audience wants it to stop"

Kate Hartley said...

Mat - I tend to agree with you about Twitter. It's only useful if used in conjunction with everything else we use to engage with people. (I don't think that wanting to engage is a given, actually - I'm sure lots of companies monitor what people are saying and then do nothing with the information.) I'm not sure where it stops, either - this is why we need more of the sort of work you're doing to work out influence networks!