Last month, I blogged about the differing “social voices” on Twitter and how different brands use the popular microblogging service across a spectrum of objectives. As a follow-up to that post, I wanted to re-affirm Twitter’s importance to social media marketing and address the commonly asked questions around Twitter’s “ROI” and social media measurement.
In February, Twitter announced that it is seeing more than 50 million tweets per day and climbing. The fact that 2007 daily tweet volume was .000001% of what it is today (5,000 tweets per day in 2007) and Twitter now averages 600 tweets per second is further evidence of the platform’s explosive growth and usage.
[Do not get hung-up on an ROI calculation]
Instead, as your brand considers using Twitter to reach your audience, do an exercise in business goals alignment. CMOs should be asking, “How does Twitter support my business and marketing goals and how will I measure whether or not it’s having an impact?”
The chart above maps back to our previously plotted “social voices” chart. This is a sample snapshot only and is not intended to capture all objectives, goals, and KPIs but instead help provide a framework upon which you can begin to define your Twitter strategy.
1.Servicing (Customers): There is a growing list of brands who have built their Twitter engagement strategies around, “improve customer service” business goals.
By now we’ve all heard about, and maybe even used, @comcastcares which started more organically within Comcast and has now grown to be a seemingly key part of the company’s customer support operation. @twelpforce is Best Buy’s answer to social customer service. So much so, that the company used high cost broadcast TV spots to promote and help activate their channel.
2.Broadcasting (News & Alerts): In its early days, those who used Twitter as more of a broadcast communications tool got a bad rap but we are now living in the instantly gratified real-time web where content can spread like wildfire and Twitter has proven its usefulness in efficiently communicating news and information. This is why we see more than 1.6 million followers of @breakingnews.
While more of a two-way conversation, the American Red Cross designed their Twitter strategy around disaster preparedness and @redcross provides helpful tips, updates, and alerts.
When it comes to for-profit brands, a recent eMarketer article cited that that the top reasons people interact with brands on social sites were to get a good deal and learn about products. @DellOutlet is a great example of this with over 1.5 million followers as is @JetBlueCheeps.
3.Sharing (Thought Leadership): Twitter’s content-integration partnerships with Google, Bing, and (most recently) Yahoo have redefined organic search results by including Twitter’s 140 character content, literally, the second someone posts it. And now my Twitter feed is accessible directly from my Yahoo Mail page which further integrates Twitter into my existing online behaviors. Creating and distributing content has become a crucial part of inbound marketing.
Whole Foods’ presence on Twitter has been defined around a general food and environmental conversation and @wholefoods has over 1.7 million followers. Although Forrester Research’s very nature is thought leadership, @forrester provides an abundance of useful short form stats and sound bites to its 35k followers.
4.Humanizing (Brand Personality): Some brands on Twitter take steps to humanize themselves and further cultivate their follower relationships. @dunkindonuts has 45,000 followers who can engage with the brand through the personality of, most recently, “Java Josh”. Other brands take it a step further where the official brand’s Twitter channel is actually an individual’s personal account as is the case for @zappos and Ford’s @ScottMonty.
A brand’s presence on Twitter will most likely touch more than one of these categories or employ different Twitter channels for different goals. For instance, while I used @wholefoods as an example of thought leadership, the brand very much engages in customer service inquiries on the same channel whereas Jet Blue uses @JetBlue primarily for customer service and a separate, previously mentioned, channel @JetBlueCheeps for deal alerts.
[Twitter by itself is not a marketing strategy; it’s just a platform]
Ultimately, the real value in social media is its usefulness in helping to foster customer relationships. In the end, what a company chooses to do with Twitter as part of its business and marketing operations is what really matters. Twitter has and will continue to grow in its importance for brands that are passionate about directly engaging with its customers. While measurement is always a critical question for any marketing initiative, it might not be a black & white quantitative metric and, most likely, NOT an ROI calculation.
Note: I also posted this on Hill Holliday's blog.