Twitter Business Centre could expose firms to risk or reward

June 14, 2010


Bob Barker is VP of Corporate Marketing and Digital Engagement at Alterian. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Twitter’s decision to launch a Business Centre is an extremely positive development for brands that want to move beyond a marketing strategy of mass broadcast and one-way conversations with their consumers.

Astute brand directors know the old approach simply isn’t working and that individuals are becoming increasingly used to interacting with content, rather than passively receiving messages.

However, Alterian’s latest report, “Your Brand: At Risk or Ready for Growth”, highlights that 60 percent of organisations do not have a social media strategy in place.

This report is not just another social media survey, it is a call for businesses to be more aware of a new generation of “conver-sumers”, and with this latest news from Twitter it could not be more timely.

The Twitter Business Centre takes brand communications to a new level by enabling more than one user to post content from the account and allowing direct messaging from users who are not being followed by the the brand.

The second of these two is likely to be a real game changer. Brands are effectively opening up a “live connection” with anyone on Twitter who wants to communicate with them, opening the floodgates to incoming enquires and complaints.

The good news is that for brands who take the technology seriously and invest the adequate resources the reputational benefits could be significant. Alterian’s statistics reveal that 31 percent of respondents felt that interacting with a brand via social media made them think the brand was “genuinely interested in me.”

But, brands beware, you have to take the power of this channel seriously. If you don’t, you may well struggle to manage and respond to the influx of consumer opinion, questions and requests this channel, and new ones just around the corner, will open you up to.

All of this means that we are campaigning for all organisations to commit to a major investment in appropriate skills across every department, to make the most of the opportunities that deep rooted and widespread societal changes are creating.

The analysis, mobilisation and interpretation of data, quite possibly in real-time, presents significant challenges to the existing skill sets of current employees. The staggering thing is that many organisations still do not recognise the need to change.

What we need to remember is, that technology has empowered the customer through the proliferation of internet and mobile devices, but it is also technology that, combined with data collection, management and analysis technologies, will allow businesses to respond to this social change and build new forms of more personal, individualised engagement.

The new Twitter functionalities are just the beginning, the question is, is your strategy in place to reap the rewards?

Picture credit: A Twitter page is displayed on an Apple iPhone in Los Angeles in this file picture. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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