Well, before I start this blog in earnest I should point out that for us here at Tunicca the jury is still out on the whole Twitter thing. Alongside Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. the Twitter phenomenon has exploded in recent months and expanded from being a social networking tool for keeping touch with friends, to a new marketing tool for businesses who want to keep in touch with customers and market their company to prospective new clients.
As I said, I think for us the jury is out as we (like many other businesses) are yet to really gauge the effectiveness of Twitter as a business marketing tool. I was at a dinner party last weekend with some industry stalwarts and we spent quite some time discussing the merits of the Twitter phenomenon. Around the table the general consensus was: are people really that interested in what each other are “having for breakfast” or that they are “on the train home after a hard day in the office”? That sort of stuff is far too mundane and uninteresting and of course why would we want to know all of the minutiae of someone’s life when we have got enough to think and worry about with our own daily challenges. Of course, it is not for us to cast aspersions on what people want to tell each other – if James from London wants to inform his friends that he “doing the laundry with a bit of a hangover” then that is up to him. Let’s not forget of course that with Twitter we don’t really have to listen if we don’t want to.
However, from a business perspective, social networking as a whole provides companies with the ability to get much closer to their customers. Whether that is through a blog (thanks for reading by the way!) or a forum, the thoughts and concerns of customers are much more accessible and the online community can drive change and development in a very powerful way. The turnaround of Dell from unreliable supplier to respected market leader is chronicled in Jeff Jarvis’s book ‘What Would Google Do?’ and it is clear that Dell’s success had a huge contribution from the blogging community. And it was Dell’s eventual participation in this community and was a fundamental driver in their success story. That’s the archetypal example of social networking making a real difference not just to a company but also to its consumers.
But what happens when a corporate misunderstands the whole thing. In Jarvis’s book (and Juliette Powell’s 33 million People in the Room) the idea of corporations opening their doors wide to their clients is expounded – social networking gives companies the opportunity to allow their clients not only to help them to improve their customer service but also influence the development of their product portfolio. For once consumers can make very powerful, collective comments (the power of the online community should not be underestimated!) but more importantly the supplier, if they are brave and embracing, can listen and be truly driven by the needs of the market.
Which leads me on to the point. A certain Pre-media vendor has clearly only recently cottoned on to the fact that everyone is busy blogging and tweeting and has obviously felt the need to jump on the bandwagon for fear of being left behind. However, this is where it all goes very wrong. Their attempts at tweeting merely involves them setting up some kind of script to tweet every single press release from the past 5 years – and I can tell you that is a lot of tweeting! I for one had to stop following as it was driving me nuts – I am sure others will follow me in deserting. And that is a shame because I am sure that they have relevant and interesting stuff to say on Twitter. But I feel that they have entirely misunderstood and missed the target and the results are somewhat unpleasant. But fundamentally, they have failed (as yet) to open the doors to their business!
By the way all you Twitter fans, we are @tunicca if you want to follow us!!
(Tunicca would like to make it clear that no babies were harmed during the making of this blog)
Author: Sean Runchman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.