With Twitter and other social networks ever rising in popularity for both personal and professional use, it is not surprising to see more business Twitter account aliases emerging, as organisations seek to engage with audiences beyond traditional realms and means.
Marketing personnel increasingly have to build an understanding of best practice.
Books like Shel Israel’s ’Twitterville’, which was recently launched at a recent social media summit, is one reference point for those looking to integrate Twitter into successful online campaigns.
In his book, Israel cites over 200 examples from both individuals’ and organisations’ experiences, and reviews how Twitter can be used across all B2B and B2C sectors to deliver announcements, personal branding and customer service applications.
’Twitterville’ is the place one can ’meet’ and socialise with people on any topic of mutual interest, so is the name Israel gives to the Twitter arena. He argues this space reflects reality whereby one can intermittently access and listen in to conversation before joining in.
It is important for businesses to remember that they can indeed use this online stream of dialogue, or ’river of news’, as Israel describes it, to see what is being said about them, their competitors and their market generally.
Twitter and other social media outlets can be used as a way to track those that are talking about you, good or bad and gauge in reality, how products and services are being consumed, or not, as the case may be.
By joining that conversation, people within organisations can start to proactively supply information as an extension to their normal methods of communicating with respective communities, with the further potential to highlight useful links to other reference points, be that online or physical means.
This would apply not to just PR and marketing but customer service, support or product development, equally.
Tools enable Twitter to have links to audio, video and still images making anyone with a Smartphone into a one-person news crew, providing real-time on the spot reporting.
From small business, to global corporations, to sole traders, government agencies and the media, Twitter campaigns and monitoring are being applied with positive results across the board.
My own personal view is that Web 2.0 social media, when implemented holistically, impacts cultural and organisational behaviour positively.
It encourages communication and conversations at multiple levels both within the organisation as well as collaboration, relationship development and ’crowdsourcing’ externally.
This is also true for Twitter and should be embraced as a powerful conversation tool to engage with audiences, potentially far and wide.
While social media is not for everyone, it is a growing tool, which can be used to help build and sustain communities, and encourage and support conversations.
With some structured training, coaching and simple guidelines, authorised employees can use these tools to good advantage. Just like the PC and mobile phone, where early adoption was restricted or even banned in some cases, over time, Twitter and other social media will be regarded as just another useful tool to help create, develop and sustain ongoing communication between an organisation, its employees and its customers.
So if you’re nor an inhabitant of the Twitterville, then I hope you are going to apply for residency soon.
Note: Twitterville is not yet published in the UK but is available from Amazon.co.uk