Marketing|Demand Creation Blog: Thoughts on strategy, lead optimization, social media and the digital space

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Twitterific: Expand Your Multi-Channelverse

Original photo by Ken Thomas, released to public domain under Wikimedia Commons. Digitally modified by Joseph MannAfter hearing all the Twitter talk in recent months I decided it was finally time to give it a try and see what microblogging is all about. I figured I've been blogging for a while, so doing even smaller, quicker posts would be easy. Even so, I thought it probably wouldn't last long with me - I barely ever use the texting features on my mobile phone and hardly ever IM anyone (no one ever seems to be online when I am).

Still feeling a little self-conscious about broadcasting the mundane details of my daily life to the world, I decided to sandbox my musings for the time being and sent invitations to a dozen friends.

Well, it's been about 18 days now and not a single person has accepted an invitation to view my twitters. But oddly enough I keep sending pings to my Twitter account. I'm a little addicted. I even sent mobile text messages while I was away on vacation. Which leads me to the existential question: If you twitter and no one is there to read it did it really happen?

Who knows? I'm pretty sure it happened. But the experiment got me thinking about the nature of microblogging and how my immediate fascination with Twitter might be put to business use. Twitter defines itself as "a global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?" But this is obviously too trite to fly with business users. I think it boils down to this: Twitter is about instant communication with everyone (or just a targeted audience) in the way they want it. That is something business can latch onto: after all, driving business growth depends on communicating with your target audiences. For those who have shied away from building and maintaining a company blog due to the time commitment, a Twitter microblog may be the next best thing, or at least something else to add to your multi-channelverse.

Here are a few ideas I came up with (I'd love to hear more):

While the 140 character maximum message length can be a challenge, it does force you to focus on concise messaging. The ability to embed URLs means interested "followers" of your twitters can be directed to more detail on a landing page and then tracked. As with a blog, however, I think using Twitter in this semi-promotional way requires that you be upfront with what you're doing or risk being called out as a phony. Provide value-added microblog content and you'll be a hero.

Lastly, by way of the Twitter Fan Wiki here are a few more uses and mashups using the tool that I thought might be useful in Twitter microblogs for business:

Thompson, Clive. "How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense" Wired Magazine. June 26, 2007

Joseph Mann Sunday, August 05, 2007 Permalink | 2 comments |