Monday, 24 March 2014 13:55

Twitter's Role in Branding and Market Research

Written by Kelly Thompson, Creative Consultant
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Remember the VW "Lemon" scene in the first season of Mad Men? The reaction to the self-effacing Volkswagen ad is disgust or laughter, but the ad definitely changes the way that Creative Director Don Draper and his staff approach their next pitch.

The point is made that the more you know about your competition, the better you can develop your own strategies and campaigns.

To distinguish yourself from the rest, you have to know what the rest are doing. Twitter is one platform that can help you learn what your competitors are up to.

It's true that, even in 2014, Twitter is a somewhat polarizing platform. Since its inception in 2006, entrepreneurial magazines like Inc have deemed it a "comer," until recently.

In my experience, prevailing attitudes either embrace Twitter as a fresh method of communication or rebuke it with a dismissive "I don't use that." Although the difference is said to be in the usage demographics, personal opinion won't change the fact that the little blue bird will be with us for the foreseeable future.

In fact, Twitter has become a branding agent, marking distinctly those companies that are in-the-know from those that aren't. Syndicating posts from Facebook, while it may save time, implies a lack of creativity, a lack of hipness to the pulse of the industry, and worst of all, a disservice to clients.
So why Twitter?

For better or worse, Twitter is here to stay. Reports project it will rival or even surpass Facebook, which is predicted to experience a 20% drop in active users by 2015.

Market research is essential. When I log into a client's Twitter feed, not only can I see my updates, but I see the competition. I see industry news outlets. And I see Google's industry-specific news feed, with targeted commentary from other businesses and individuals in the field. At that moment, Twitter becomes more than just a place to rank with SEO value. It becomes an incredibly user-friendly industry snapshot with a real-time feed.

Organic engagement. Most marketers are keenly aware of the effect of community engagement on a company's brand and public image. Social media marketing is everywhere – it exists on customers' smart phones, right below photos of their cousin's wedding, or next to their best friend's update on the progress of the Knicks game. It incorporates a brand into their personal lives. And Twitter brings that brand as close to potential customers as possible, with updates in real time.

Keep it social, not syndicated. People will notice if you're just making noise and not participating in the conversation. They'll see that your content isn't customized, fresh or original. They'll spot automation in a second. And it's that lack of humanism that will make the most difference – that will define the brands and companies to watch for the foreseeable future. It's called social media for a reason.

The Twitter snapshot is real. While community engagement should be at the forefront, also keep in mind that the "Twitter snapshot" is a built-in, customizable, extremely powerful marketing tool. You want to be an expert in trends? Now you can. Are your clients in the auto industry? Mechanical? Healthcare? How about marketing itself? Do you know what people are talking about right now, in your own industry?

It takes more than a few clicks of the Follow button – it takes time, personnel education, and a commitment to paying attention.

Effective marketing doesn't refute trends – it learns to use them as successfully as possible. So the next time you find yourself saying "I don't use that," think again. Whether it's Twitter or another platform, the most benefits for content marketing right now will be found when we fully engage in conversations.

Read 6115 times Last modified on Wednesday, 07 June 2023 05:33