Business Applications Of Social Media Inside Organizations: Twitter
Does Twitter have the potential for reaching business customers? Is Twitter an effective communication platform to create strong, long-lasting relationships in the corporate world?
Photo credit: Alessandro Viti
"As organizations look to the future, the same trend emerges as seen in the general social media and Twitter responses: a shift toward more customer communications and, in particular, toward prospecting."
Twitter and, more generally, social media deliver the ability to communicate immediately. As a customer contact tool, where speed does count, this immediacy has great potential. Problem is, such potential can only be fulfilled if you and your customers are using social media.
In many B2B markets, Twitter is not yet considered as an effective customer contact tool because of its specific microblogging structure and its limited audience compared to other social media (e.g. Facebook). According to a study from ES Research Group, "The New Social Media: Do They Enable B2B Selling?" only 4% of sales respondents said that Twitter has ever directly helped them win a B2B sale.
However, Twitter is not entirely disregarded as a business communication tool. There are also many markets where Twitter is influential.
A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that Twitter users are highly involved with other social media. Findings show that 23% of social network users employed Twitter or a similar service, while only 4% who do not use social media have ever tweeted. Chances are then, if your customer base is already engaged in social media, many will be reachable using Twitter.
In part 2 of this report (Part 1, Part 3), Josh Gordon extends his analysis on business applications of social media inside organizations, focusing specifically on Twitter and how business organizations use and plan to use Twitter in the near future.
The Coming Change In Social Media Business Applications: Separating The Biz From The Buzz
by Josh Gordon
Business Applications For Twitter
External Use of Twitter
External use of Twitter could shift sharply toward an emphasis on customer involvement.
For external communications, the business use of Twitter shows the same shift as seen in Part 1 on the general findings for all social media forms. That shift is away from general communications, toward a focus on connecting with the organization's customers.
Right now, the most commonly used external Twitter function is "Sharing breaking news," followed by "Extending a personal face to customers."
But as organizations look to the future, they are shifting their expectations. Looking ahead, their top pick is "Keeping in immediate touch with customers," followed by "Extending a personal face to customers," then followed by "Sharing breaking news."
The future use of Twitter could shift toward greater involvement in customer contact (see chart).
Internal Use of Twitter
Internal use of Twitter focuses on information sharing.
Fewer organizations are using Twitter for internal communications. The top two measured options are about 20% lower than the top two external uses of Twitter.
The internal focus is on sharing information, knowledge, and resources, as well as networking.
Looking to the future, the internal uses of Twitter that organizations plan to use are almost identical to those of the present (see chart).
Practical Use of Twitter
Put this information to work:
I initially signed on to Twitter because I once had to sell a high-level Silicon Valley executive who could not be reached any other way. After countless failed attempts to contact him through more traditional channels, his assistant told me,"Josh, forget the phone, he never answers it. And he will not answer e-mail either, because he thinks it is ancient technology that wastes time. He thinks of himself as a member of the digital elite and says that the only people who count are all on Twitter."
I quickly signed on to Twitter and got right through to him.
Twitter delivers the ability to communicate minimally but immediately. As a customer contact tool, where speed counts, it has great potential. But, that potential is only realized if your customers are on Twitter. As of now, Twitter's market penetration is still uneven.
In many B2B markets, Twitter is not effective as a customer contact tool. According to a just-released study from ES Research Group, "The New Social Media: Do They Enable B2B Selling?," only 4% of sales respondents said that Twitter had ever directly helped them win a B2B sale.
However, there are also many markets where Twitter is extremely influential.
You can estimate how many of your clients might be using Twitter from a finding in a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. This study found Twitter users to be highly involved with other social media.
According to Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at Pew, "Both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood that an individual also uses Twitter."
The study found that 23% of social network users used Twitter or a similar service, while only 4% who do not use social networks have ever Tweeted. Chances are, if your customer base is engaged in social media, many will be reachable by Twitter.
Survey respondents also wrote in "other" uses of Twitter, including:
- "Mindsharing" with industry peers;
- providing thought leadership;
- educating others;
- recruiting talent;
- providing tech support;
- notifying constituents of upcoming events;
- monitoring for issues regarding products or reputation;
- keeping in touch with bloggers;
- extending communities of interest; and
- customer service.
Twitter is also a great way to connect with media outlets. Here a long list of media outlets that you can connect to via Twitter.
End of Part 2
Originally written by Josh Gordon for Social Media Biz Buzz, and first published on July 20th, 2009 as The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications
About Josh Gordon
Josh Gordon is president of Selling 2.0, where he works to improve the performance of organizations and sales teams with research-based training and consulting services. Josh has written four books on the subject. For more information, visit www.Selling2.com.
Josh Gordon -
The Coming Change In Social Media Business Applications: Separating The Biz From The Buzz - Marinini
Practical Use of Twitter - Andrzej Tokarski
Reference: Social Scoop [ Read more ]
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