Monday, May 4, 2009

In Defense of Twitter as a Marketing Tool

by Bryan E. Wright
Executive Editor

By just about anyone's account, David Martin, VP of Primary Research at Nielson Online is probably a far smarter guy than me. I imagine he was fluent in Twitter months before I even knew it existed. So I feel bad for chiming in. In my opinion, however, Mr. Martin missed the fundamental point in his April 28 blog Twitter Quitters Post Roadblock to Long-Term Growth. While he makes some very insightful and well reasoned points, he misses the very most key point: Twitter is not for mass market consumption.

Following publication of Mr. Martin's blog, one of my clients pointed out, "Kind of makes you wonder about Twitter's viability as a business tool." That's true, actually. It did make me wonder. Though it ultimately led me back to a conclusion on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Why do most lookie-loos drop out within 30-60 days? Well, it takes about a month to really start to figure Twitter out. At that point, you probably know whether or not Twitter is going to add value to your life, either as a professional tool or as a networking resource.

If you have a legitimate business use for Twitter - and other social utilities - it's worth the trouble to stick it out, and most of us in that audience usually do. That said, I believe Twitter is temporary, desitined to one day be replaced by something more evolved. But it’s here now and it’s connecting a lot of people. So it doesn’t make sense to remove it from the toolbox simply because it might not be here in two years. Truth be told…our favorite daily papers might not be here in two years either. Will we ignore their editors because of that?

If you’re using Twitter properly as a business tool, the one-month dropout crowd isn’t your target audience at all. You’re on Twitter specifically to reach the early adopters, the influencers, the thought leaders who utilize it multiple times per day to identify and generate content for their own blogs, which aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You’re not targeting the end-user with Twitter. You’re targeting the people who target multiple end-users and you're hoping they'll value your messages enough to pass them along.

As long as companies remember who they're targeting and that social media marketing is a TACTIC rather than a STRATEGY, any of the network-based online resources, Twitter among them, can be really useful tools in support of solid strategic programs. .

No comments: