Not a single day goes by without us hearing the word “Twitter” from friends, colleagues or on TV. With 18M Twitter users by the end of 2009, it makes perfect sense for a company to invest sometime maintaining its visibility on this social media phenomena. But is it just enough to add Twitter to your marketing mix or is there a game plan to how we should effectively engage on Twitter? I sat down with Shel Israel, author of “Twitterville” and a well known silicon valley social media pundit to find out more about Twitter. Download the podcast here.
I have summarized the key messages from Shel Israel’s podcast below to help you with your 2010 Twitter efforts:
What Twitter’s really about, and why it’s caught on so well, is that it allows conversations. It allows you to meet people faster than you can just about with anything else. And it allows words that are interesting and useful to other people to spread very, very quickly.
My advice to people and to companies is to use real people talking about their jobs. And let them show that the company is not this massive monolith marching forward in lock step, but just a bunch of real people trying very hard to do a good job with some level of integrity, and hopefully some level of passion.
Companies that are using social media, who are moving from one form of company, one form of management structure, one form of marketing, to a more conversation headset, these are the companies that are now prevailing.
Counting Twitter followers is a mass media model, and if I broadcast a message, what will the response be? That was a very good way of measuring in olden days. But for me the number of people who follow me – it’s good for my ego – of course I get to write books because publishers look at those numbers, but I’m much more interested in the other end of this, and that’s who do I follow? I follow people in a diverse number of categories because I have diverse interests. They become my 24/7 newspaper. They give me the information I count on.
Here’s my advice to companies: You need to look at what politicians do. They go to the funerals of famous people because that’s where the voters are. Well that’s where the customers are going. That’s where the conversations about your company and your marketplace are being held, and Twitter, as much as I love it, is just one tool.
Singling out Twitter as the tool is not something I’d advise a company to do, but using it as a way to enhance participation in other conversational media tools is the best way to go.
Two words that Shel repeatedly mentioned during my interview with him are being “useful” and “interesting” when it comes to disseminating information on Twitter. Companies like Dell (@dell), Comcast (@comcastcares) and Network Solutions (@netsolcares) have been very successful with their Twitter strategy by putting a human voice behind their Twitter handle and having real conversations. I hope the podcast will help you understand what works and doesn’t work on Twitter. I also strongly recommend Shel Israel’s book “Twitterville” to hear first hand experiences of how companies and individuals have benefited from Twitter.
Good luck Tweeting in 2010 and tell us about your Twitter success.