So what’s this Twitter thing anyway?

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | September 24th, 2013

 

The social network, Twitter, recently announced plans for a launch on the stock market:

http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/business-it/twitter-ipo-plans-announced-in-tweet-20130912-hv1qi.html

However, many people and businesses still have no idea what Twitter is all about and why it is so popular.

In essence, Twitter is what is known as a micro-blogging platform. Think of it like sending an SMS but when you do so it is public, in that it can be read by everyone. Why is that a good idea you may ask?

The most popular digital communications tool in use today is probably email, however email has its limitations. Firstly, much of the information inside emails is siloed. This means that it can only be seen by the sender and the receiver. In many cases the information in these emails would actually benefit others if it was public. The second issue that many people are now overwhelmed by emails. As some studies show that people are spending at least 30% of their work week dealing with emails:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/manage-inbox-email-overload_n_3921823.html

By having information public, by having it available in streams people are better able to control and find the information that is relevant to them. Compare that to email where you have no control of what people want to send to your inbox.

But how does Twitter make sense for a business? Take a look at Westpac’s Twitter feed as an example:

https://twitter.com/westpac

Westpac have a team of people monitoring the social media space of mention of their name. In many cases this will be people complaining about the company. Westpac can generally respond to these concerns, address and resolve them in a positive way, all the while doing it publically. Because the conversations in Twitter a public it rewards good customer service.

The other point to consider is that if you were to send an email to an anonymous account at Westpac would you expect a reply? Most people wouldn’t these days, but on Twitter, because it is public and being constantly monitored you are pretty much assured of a timely response.

Because information in Twitter in public it can cut both ways of course, however it does provide an opportunity for most businesses to raise their profile and garner more engagement. If you haven’t considered a strategy around Twitter then at the very least you should take a look at what other businesses are doing and how they are using the service to grow their business and server their customers better.

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