If Twitter was 100 People…It’s Still All About You

August 2, 2009

Twitter100Just saw this great visualization on Flickr created by David McCandless. It displays a microcosm of what microblogging activity would look like if Twitter had only 100 users. The data is collected from a study completed by social media monitoring company Sysomos, and commented on by marketing guru Rohit Bhargava.

Essentially, it tells us that lots of people have created an account on Twitter but just as Twitter’s own Evan Williams recently stated there’s a long way to go for the enthusiasm to match engagement.

Rohit’s write-up provides great commentary on the conclusions presented in the study and is definitely worth a read to anyone interested in understanding what’s really happening in Twitter world.

Quick highlights:

  1. 21% (One Fifth) of Twitter accounts are empty placeholders
  2. Nearly 94% of all Twitter accounts have less than 100 followers
  3. March and April of 2009 were the tipping point for Twitter
  4. A small minority creates most of the activity
  5. Half of all Twitter users are not “active”
  6. Tuesday is the most active Twitter day (followed by Wednesday then Friday)
  7. APIs have been the key to Twitter’s growth & utility
  8. English still dominates Twitter

The study presents companies and brands with something to think about. What’s the value of Twitter, or really social media in general? I’ve previously posted that it’s understanding, strategy, and related action that determines business success in social media, and not simply jumping on the bandwagon of being ‘present’. The Sysomos study suggests that if you’re looking to connect with and communicate with your audience and consumers then you need to do what good marketing has always done; provide something valuable that people that people will love, enjoy, and share with friends.

Secret Sauce?

So what’s the secret to success of Twitter? It’s not a secret at all. It’s what works in any marketing medium:

A) Give something great to the world

B) Put your customers first

C) Reach the loud mouths and let them speak (just do A and B so they love you first)!

When it comes to getting your message across, the difference between social media vs. traditional marketing methods is really that you’re not in control of what responses the world will see. Plus, you don’t have to be present on Twitter or Facebook to actually be on Twitter or Facebook. People will talk about you and share their ideas with or without you. The only thing you can really control is your value.

So, don’t fret about your social media status. Have a presence, understand your audience, and know what the chatter is about,  but don’t get caught up in mass following, tweeting at 3am, or having lots of friends.  Concentrate on doing something great that people will love and you’ll be a social media darling whether you like it or not! :)

Twitter and Your Business… :) or FAIL?

July 25, 2009

Much has been made this week of Twitter’s 101 Guide for Business. With all the excitement around Twitter these past few months I’m glad Evan, Biz and team are leveraging the limelight to reach out and educate the enterprise on what Twitter is and what a valuable tool it can be for business. But (very big but!), Twitter, like every other tech tool is only as valuable as the corporate strategy and execution behind.

Here’s what Twitter says it can do for business…

So what does Twitter do for businesses?

Twitter is a communications platform that helps businesses and their customers do a number of useful things. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you’ve had a great–or disappointing–experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.

Great! In a nutshell Twitter is a communications platform a business can use to connect to customers. It’s PR, Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, and Customer Care all in one! Of course not.

What Twitter (or really Social Media) Really Means for Business

Twitter is the latest and greatest method of technology to connect us. As such, it can be used for any and all of the above needs but can also be a huge waste of company time and resources, and lead to disastrous outcomes. Factor in a recent Harvard study suggesting only about 10% of users generate 90% of activity, and the audience mix, and it becomes very clear…as usual, it’s not about the tools, it’s strategy and action that matter!

Twitter for Marketing: is your audience on Twitter? Are they active? Are they receptive to brand messaging? How can you reach them and not sound like a pushy sales person?

Twitter for Customer Care: which tweets matter and which are rants of a negative attention seeker? Which messages require action? What action? Do you have a process to respond effectively?

Twitter for Customer Relationship Management: do you have the tools to find out what’s being said about your brand/company? Which metrics matter? Is there a strategy to follow up and act?

Wait! Before dumping your budget into the company saving Twitter plan, recognize this: a whole lot of pundits were saying the same thing about Facebook last year! It’s not your Twitter strategy that matters, it’s your Social Media strategy and execution that is the key. The Web gives us many ways to make customers happier and business more successful and all tools used effectively can have great outcomes.

So before you stake your business or budget on social media ask these questions:

1. Is your corporate culture ready for social media; a place where you don’t always control the message?

2. Do you have a good understanding of the tools to engage and measure?

3. Do you know if your audience is engaged and on which platforms?

4. Can you devote company time and resources to be successful?

5. Ready for a brave new world where people control the message not you?

6. Can existing company processes and systems be used to take advantage of these great new opportunities to reach, enagage, and learn from consumers?

7. If yes to all (or most) of the above…ready to get started?

Need help, we’d be glad to lend a hand at Sensidea!

Obama’s Message: The Web Kids are in Charge

November 6, 2008

change_badge1Tuesday November 4, 2008. A day that will go down in history. A man captured the imagination and hope of a nation to become the 44th President on the United States. A man who will be the first president of our generation that is not a baby boomer. His military reference is not Vietnam. The face of emerging America; he’s young, educated, socially conscious, and a minority. Amazing, the 44th president is an African American. Even more, he knows, respects, and loves the Web. He marks the day the web kids took over.

Barack Obama used technology like no one before him. BarackObama.com was launched very early in the Democratic Nomination campaign and it isn’t just a website. Others before him used the web to tell their story and raise money. Obama? He understood the power of the social web. BarackObama.com isn’t a website, it’s a social destination. A place you can get information, read blogs, watch Barack TV, connect on Facebook, MySpace or sign-up and have your own account on my.barackobama.com. You can even get music. Ya, that’s right, music from a once hopeful, and now next President.

Here’s the scorecard:


Why this Matters

Exit polls showed that Obama captured the vote of blacks, Hispanics, 18-34 year olds and new voters. He also won the female vote. Safe to say that it isn’t the baby boomers that pushed him to the White House, it’s us, the web kids.

When Clinton won the Oval Office in the 90s the web was a young dreamer. When W won in 2000 it was starting to blossom (Google had just recently launched). In 2004, Blogs were few and YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace weren’t household names. It’s 2008, the web has grown and our generation has grown with it. It’s a part of our lives. We don’t seek to understand technology, it’s native to us. We grew up with it and can’t imagine life without it. Obama understands this because when the web was getting started in 1994 he was 30 years old.

It’s our generation (Gen Y, Millenniums, Net Geners, whatever) that are starting to shape the world and Barack Obama is the first president that understands. He’s promised to use the same technology channels that brought him to power while in power. The White House is connected.

Will Things Change?

Call me a hopeful cynic. Many (if not all) promises made during an election fall apart once elected. Wahsinton D.C. is a complex place with competing agendas, lobby groups, and pressure to maintain the status quo. Will Obama grab hold of the opportunity to really deliver change? Will he challenge existing norms and the military industrial complex and work towards a more just society and world? Although Obama has some great advisors (Dr. Jeffrey Sachs for example), he also has a lot of the same old faces around him (Podesta, Volcker, Ross, possibly Indyk). The presidency is bigger than one man and it will take a real champion to continue to challenge the norms and deliver real change. I’m hopeful but I’m realistic. It sounds impossible.

But then again, a black president brought to office by a young, mobilized, and technically connected group was once impossible. It’s your show Barack and the web kids are watching.


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