Twitter seems to be everywhere, a national rage, bolstered by the media and such heavy weights as Obama and Oprah leading the charge...
The latest numbers released by ComScore are astounding--In one month's time, Twitter jumped 131%, growing 5 million visitors to reach 9.3 million US visitors in March...
But what does this incredable growth mean for marketers today?
Assuming that Twitter is here to stay-- and not a fad-- what skills should every marketer hone to be most successful in the Twittersphere?
9 Mandatories for Marketers:
- Every Word Counts. Choose wisely to get your point across quickly and with interest. Short and pithy is what Twitter calls for. There are many who believe that the 140 character limit actually helps improve a marketer's writing and clarity of thinking.
- Focus on words that help create imagery, emotion and impact to bring your message to life. Twitter is a one- sensory medium; it takes skill and practice to create emotional connection without the help of audio, visuals or video and motion to bolster communication. The other day, Copyblogger wrote a great blog to help in this area entitled "50 Trigger Words and Phrases for Powerful Multimedia Content"
- Speed and flexibility are integral for effective participation with Twitter. New conversations and new content are occurring continuously for all to follow and engage with. Positive and negative word of mouth often travel with lightning speed. This requires a constant presence and vigilance to track and stay on top of what's being said-- and to take definitive action..."If you snooze, you lose"...New tools are continually emerging to help organize, manage and monitor tweets and their sentiment throughout each day...but the key is taking timely action...
- Each tweet gives others a view into the 'person' behind the tweet; perceptions of the tweeter (and brand) are created quickly. Consider how to optimize your twitter brand and remain consistent with other marketing tactics and media. Twitter also requires some authentic human touches and creative leadership ...For corporate Twitter brands, the most successful ones seem to have a 'human voice' behind the company. For example, in Pharma, JNJ and Boehringer have 'people' behind their corporate Twitter feeds that respond on behalf of the company (Marc Monseau and John Pugh, respectively). Or for Med AD News, its not just a publication twittering, but a person, Christiane Truelove.
- Twitter requires being the ultimate conversationalist... creating a back and fourth momentum that includes a mix of conversations- serious, educational, fun, and personal- that create interest and value for participants--and striking the right balance of talking about yourself, listening to others and asking questions. Similar to being at a cocktail party, focusing too much on any one aspect(usually yourself), can be deadly...the traditional one-way push doesn't work well for Twitter.
- Twitter requires new learning to target, track and optimize 'impressions' or tweets. What's the ideal Twitter formula for effective reach and frequency for your Twitter brand? Who are the influential twitterers that you want to follow? Who are the influential twitterers you hope will follow you? What is the right mix of content, frequency and even timing of delivery during the day to best reach and impact prime twitters? What's the best use of Twitter to complement other on-line and off-line tactics?...the merging of media and channels is rapidly expanding...ie. Tweetups are gaining in popularity which suggests that there is increasingly an opportunity to create complementary regional meetings and outlets to further engage and extend your conversations. ["100 Twitter Tools to Help You Achieve All Your Goals" or 100 Twitter Tools by OpenJason can provide useful ways to optimize here]
- New measurement and metrics are needed depending on the objectives and role that Twitter plays in your on-going marketing efforts. While competitive intelligence may have been something that once could be hired out, and done once a quarter, or less frequently, it may now be the 'job' of each and every marketer every day (along with the help of additional outside services and expertise). There's no time to wait for a quarterly report when customers are tweeting here and now...and in the case of negative sentiment or buzz, waiting and doing nothing can further exacerbate the smoke and turn it into a full fledge fire. New tools are continuously emerging to help organize and monitor results and sentiment. To follow Twitter conversations and sentiment about your brand or a competitors, visit a recent recommendation from Janet Johnson: twendz. Other tools are included in "100 Twitter Tools To Help You Achieve All Your Goals" or 100 Twitter Tools by OpenJason.
- Everyday, people are coming up with new uses for Twitter that need to be monitored, experimented with and improved. What started as a simple question "What are you doing?" ...is now a powerful marketing tool to: meet new friends and supporters, engage new conversations, drive traffic to blogs and websites, fund raise, maximize PR, create regional/local meetings with like minded people via tweetups, create synergies with other media and mobile technology etc. The question is what makes sense for the business. There is a continuous stream of new tools that integrate with peoples lifestyles, media and even health. For example, in Pharma, new health tracking tools are popping up. Based on the blog "100 Twitter Tools To Help You Achieve All Your Goals", here's the latest Twitter tools to track your health:
- Qwitter: Update Qwitter to shame yourself into quitting smoking.
- TweetPlot: Use TweetPlot to chart your food and fitness statistics.
- Tweetwhatyoueat: Keep a food diary to track what you're eating every day using Tweetwhatyoueat.
- gtFtr: Use the gtFtr tool to record your exercise activity on Twittr.
- SugarStats: Track, monitor, and share your blood sugar through Twitter with SugarStats.
- FoodFeed: This Twitter-based food log makes it easy for you to track what you're eating.
- With each Twitter user creating new content each day, this effectively adds to Twitter's mass repository of searchable information and data--the implications for SEO and integration with other media and platforms are considerable.
Is there a tenth skill or area of expertise that you think Twitter requires of today's marketers? Or 11th or 12th?
Please leave your thoughts below or join me on Twitter...
While Twitter is exploding with popularity and growth, most pharma companies are taking a cautious approach with social media and Twitter... after all, how do you fit in fair balance within the 140 character construct?
Boehringer Ingelheim seems to have made the bold decision to take part in Twitter online conversations and communities, and blaze a trail for pharma in the new media.
While other pharma companies have a presence on Twitter, so far BI is unique in achieving at least some conversational, and interactive blog-like style --and not just using it as a one-way PR feed.
The company began using Twitter in November 2008, led by its director of global corporate communications, John Pugh. According to Pharmafocus, "Boehringer has incorporated Twitter into its wider communications strategy and is using the site regularly to engage with its stakeholders. Along with posting press releases, Pugh uses Twitter to recommend other web-based information about disease areas, as well as articles he thinks followers might find interesting."
As of today, BI is leading the way among pharmaceutical company Twitterers, with 679 following, 745 followers and 47 updates.
AstraZenecaUS has 136 following, 440 followers and 22 updates. However, unlike BI, all of its tweets are outgoing, one-way communications.
Likewise, Pfizer has 351 following, 462 followers and 48 updates. And like AZ, all its tweets are one-way press releases.
Novartis has 0 following, 681 followers and 40 updates. Like Mrs. Clinton, they also missed the idea that Twitter is about following others in addition to pushing out communications to followers...
According to Pugh, "The company now sees Twitter as an effective way to communicate with its stakeholders and join in discussions...For example, BI recently gave 'thumbs up' to the government's national stroke awareness campaign, reflecting Boehringer's presence in stroke treatment...Push says the company uses media scanning programs to help monitor the constant online conversations which touch on its areas of interest, and responds quickly to engage with the Twittersphere, joining in or starting up conversations....
...He says the company's use of Twitter is still in its infancy, and that it offers huge potential for non-promotional communication with patients. "One of the projects that we're looking at is a stroke channel on YouTube, with a series of video interviews which we will promote through Twitter," says Pugh. "Culturally as the company finds out more and more ways of using Twitter, we'll use it more and more, and I think other companies will too."
Time will tell...