Should your business be using Twitter yet in your mobile marketing and online marketing strategies? So far, the answer is maybe. While Twitter marketing may one day be a vital online marketing channel for mass appeal, today’s Twitter users are more valuable for certain customers segments than a mass social marketing channel like Facebook.
According to Edison Research (April 2010), the Twitter brand is well-known, but actual usage is much smaller than media reports would suggest. While an impressive 87% of poll respondents had heard of Twitter, only 7% had actually used Twitter. What do these results mean? The research seems to show that while Twitter and the media have done a good job of brand awareness for Twitter, most people don’t find the idea of following short message updates from friends, celebs or brands via their cell phone or mobile phone all that interesting.
Why use Twitter marketing at all?
With 17 millions Twitter users as of April, 1010, some of your users might be engaged by Twitter updates. Further research may also determine if Twitter users are the much valued highly-networked customers as well. Highly-networked users have wide circles of friends, and can be key targets to marketers to creating buzz in saturated markets. So, while not as popular as Facebook, Twitter users should not be ignored by marketers either, and research should show when Twitter marketing engages a mobile-loving target segment.
So, does this mean Twitter social marketing a good use of time and resources for today? Again, the answer is a mixed one- sometimes. Twitter marketing may be a bit over-hyped given its low usage-to-awareness-ratio. Yet for certain brands, Twitter marketing may be a key or at least valuable marketing channel to engage certain customers. Given it’s current and future marketing potential, let’s dive into Twitter social marketing to find out some details
What are Twitter Basics
First, for those who don’t know the Twitter basics, Twitter messages are called tweets, and a tweet is meant to be a short and simple answer to the question, ‘what are you doing?. Updates and messages are mobile-phone based, and you can create tweets to share and follow the tweets of others. Messages max at only 140 characters, a limit based on making the tweet via mobile cell phones. Thus, each Twitter message is short and sweet, and you can tweet about anything that comes to your head, for those whose phone is a texting tool. Since you use your text message on your mobile phone to send and receive a tweet, you can read or tweet from really just about anywhere.
FUN FACT: for you tech geeks- the mobile text standards allow a max of 160 characters minus the 20 characters needed for author info. Thus, the magic number of 140 characters is both practical to keep a message short and also technical to be mobile-phone-friendly. Now you can impress your Twitter friends!
Is Twitter Marketing for You?
Some online marketing experts, including this author, see mostly highly targeted brand usage for Twitter marketing at this point. While certain brands and targeted customer strategies may yield impressive results, based on both the engagement desired by target customers and the mobile usage of target customers, mainstream brands may find only supplemental value from this Twitter marketing channel. Since marketing is all about customer segments, Twitter marketing for customer segments may be a great fit.
For now, the research suggests that tweeting would not be useful to most brands on a mass basis, wasting precious resources better used for traditional and higher online ROI marketing including other social marketing tools like Facebook. In fact, Facebook’s massive 200 million daily users will likely gain a more profitable ROI on your online marketing investments. A higher marketing ROI usually equals a better use of your time and talent. At the same time using Twitter marketing for movies, trend-based fashion brands, new restaurants bars or segments might be very successful. Think of a new hip bar in your town using Twitter to build some buzz.
Insight from the Edison Research Report
So let us look at some off the data to see where Twitter marketing may be useful? First, even though Twitter usage is small compared to Facebook, Twitter users still number 17 million as of April 2010. Depending on your target customers and marketing campaign goals, this community could be a rich resource for customer engagement strategies. Mobile usage is more popular in certain segments like the under 25 agers or in the Latino community, and research might show that Twitter marketing works in target segments that value mobile marketing in general. For example, American firms in China could use the powers of mobile marketing and Twitter for success since Chinese users find Twitter and mobile marketing adds brand prestige.
Keep in mind that the same research shows the downsides as well. Worries about ‘creepiness’ of twitter engagement and mistrust of brand sincerity were strong concerns. Like most marketing channels, customers know there’s a company behind the strategy, and its job is to sell you something.
Mobile customer engagement could be a good tool especially when your target customers use Twitter, and when customers control the Twitter engagement. Tread lightly, plan well, do your homework first, think in terms of customer segments, and avoid being ‘creepy’ with your customer knowledge or burning your own brand loyalty in the process.
When the time comes and you decide to engage in a Twitter marketing campaign, find a consultant or brand management firm with deep experience in social marketing, online marketing or Twitter marketing. Experience needs to be research based, since Twitter is new and shiny, and experience helps brand managers to build ROI and avoid PR disasters and wasted resources. Knowledge and research should drive your Twitter marketing campaigns to lead you to the path to higher online marketing ROI.
For more information about online and social marketing, see my articles online and social marketing advice at dampfang.com or check out general online guide for online tips about money, shopping, health and life at laneysguide.com for tips.