Welcome to Twitterville

What is it that makes Twitter so appealing to millions of users around the globe? The ability to share snippets of information in real-time? The interconnected networks that span across countries? Well, I guess it is all these characteristics, and more, that make Twitter so successful. But how can businesses harness the power of Twitter? Some companies use Twitter as a channel to direct more traffic to their company website. They tweet links to press releases and their latest products; a very self-serving, one-way approach to using Twitter. But is that all there is to Tweeting? In fact, many Tweeterrers do not take kindly to being flooded with self-serving tweet spam, and the messages are usually ignored. Many prefer a more personal approach, where you feel that you are interacting with another human being instead of an inorganic bot that acts like an RSS feed. Another way companies use Twitter is for event management. Although it is time consuming, giving customers and prospects real-time updates from an event is a service that can be achieved through tweeting. People who may not get the chance to attend the event can still get up to-the-minute updates on what is going on. Not only that, but you can also get immediate, direct feedback from your customers. There are many other ways that businesses can leverage on the platform, but is Twitter as beneficial as all the hype it is getting? In the middle of last year, Twitter’s growth slowed from 7.8 million new users a month to 6.2 million, according to a recent study from RJ Metrics. The report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December, an all-time low. In an article on Enterprise Innovation – Social Media Presence does not Translate to sales, the editors cite a study sponsored by digital marketing consultancy, ECHOVME, which found that social media has no significant impact on direct sales. But there is a strong relationship between a company’s social media activity and consumers’ perception on its brand equity. “According to the research, social media is not an effective direct marketing tool because it is mostly ignored and considered as spam.  However, it is important for networking and engaging customers online.  The survey respondents consider social media tools helpful in sharing information, such as company and industry insights, project wins and recruitment processes.” Today, we see a move away from direct marketing strategies towards creating thought leadership articles, and providing readers with a knowledge hub where they can learn more about the industry and gain valuable insights that will help them in their own daily activities. There are also success stories on how business, like Ford Motor Company and UCC, use Twitter in managing a crisis. Afterall, social media is like an extension of our real life personas and can be adapted to cater to individual requirements; it is a matter of how you utilise the medium to meet your needs. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the evolution of social media and how it can transform into an even more adaptable, dynamic and organic platform for consumers and businesses alike. If you’re caught up in the social media hype and need a guide to navigate the maze, feel free to drop us a note at pr@eastwestpr.com

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