Monday, 16 February 2009

Should brands engage in Twitter?

Social media and brand engagement strategies are being tested to the maximum in the beginning of 2009 with the high emergence of the micro-blogging website Twitter.com. The website enables real time connection between individuals, organisations and even Meerkats!

Web 2 and engagement has always been a hot topic and tough decision for brands across the world and it is only going to be further strained in the coming months as savvy players are identifying twitter as a resource for customer services and also driving considerable amount of traffic.

Twitter like other social media websites such as Facebook groups allow brands to display their identity to their loyal customer base – it allows full engagement from one to many and more increasingly one to one conversations to the extent that I’ve heard various Social Media consultants claim Twitter to be the new customer services or company phone as it has become such an extremely dynamic form of communication.

I’d thought I would take a look at some brands that I respect and see their engagement.

ASOS.com – http://twitter.com/ASOS
The successful pure play fashion retailer ASOS.com has set up an official twitter account with close to 500 people following. Judging on the current updates it appears this has had a high degree of uptake within their organisation as many of their employees are now listed and starting conversations.


Starbucks – http://twitter.com/Starbucks
Quoted by many following the emergence of brands appear to be using Twitter as a notice board to update their customer of various deals and offers. Starbucks currently have close to 50,000 followers and have tweeted close to 1,000 times.


e-Consultancy.com Experience
The guys and girls last week launched a fantastic little experiment based on the recently over-crazed twitter.

The team reference that the micro-blogging service is the fourth largest referrer of traffic to its website and as a result are now investigating areas to further embrace twitter with the newly redesigned e-consultancy.com. Well last week they pinged an email and launched twitter on their homepage with results promised this week.

What's certainly apparant was the amount of spammers instantly adding "econsultancy" to their tweets in aid to "build their own brand" - two I am sure you can spot below (haha) as it was a twitter conflab between a close friend Femi Omoluabi (Head of Search at Zed Media) and myself.



My Outcome
My personal take on this is that smart brands are the ones that are in the trenches; watching and listening to what the general public say about them. The world is now totally digital and those who choose to ignore it will be left behind and unaware of what the public perception is about them but whilst the evidence is there to suggest great positives on twitter, still there have been many factors which defines non-effective use of such websites, especially when resource and accountability are key!

Ultimately though brands cannot purely take this as a means of acquisition and should full plan, strategize and understand they need to provide value added content not just about their new products or services but also their given vertical, location, department or even competitors! Brands which allow their employees should ensure they have a document in place with ensure they do not write content they don’t want either their boss or mum to see! But it wouldn't suprise me if today's Email Marketing Managers are tomorrows Company Twitterers!

Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/cpbishop

4 comments:

michelle goodall said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for taking part in the Econsultancy Twitter experiment and for your comments....

By your definition, is Econsultancy not a 'smart brand'? It's not in our nature to stay in the trenches.... ;-)

We are more of an 'over the top' 'try anything twice' type of organisation.

Seems to be working pretty well at the moment...not too much spamming and a heap of positive sentiment from the Twitterverse/Blogosphere.

And it's fun to be involved too.

michelle goodall said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for taking part in the Econsultancy Twitter experiment and for your comments....

By your definition, is Econsultancy not a 'smart brand'? It's not in our nature to stay in the trenches.... ;-)

We are more of an 'over the top' 'try anything twice' type of organisation.

Seems to be working pretty well at the moment...not too much spamming and a heap of positive sentiment from the Twitterverse/Blogosphere.

And it's fun to be involved too.

Richard said...

An astute comment by the highly respected Mr Bishop. But it's "many to one" in Lovemarks speech - The Master!!!

Charles said...

A very interesting post with some good conclusions. I agree for todays big brands it is a matter of wait and see. Twitter isn't really "Mainstream" yet, but 2009 could be the tipping point.

I don't think companies should be jumping on the Twitter Bandwagon but should have a plan in place of how they will tweet and ensure that it is the correct fit for their Brand!

As a Twitter user I follow users for an individual range of reasons. I recommend http://twitter.com/retailweek for breaking retail news but then I hate it when other large "brands" use Twitter to tell you what they're having for lunch.