Twitter Could Be Marketers Dream Come True



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While the drawbacks of getting sucked into reading seemingly random inputs from seemingly random people you follow on Twitter are pretty obvious, the possibilities for focused input, or even a true focus group, are amazing.

When I was an Acquisitions Officer in the Air Force, I worked for about 8 months on a program that processed security clearances and was given a team to work all the data on how fast the process was going, and presented daily metrics to the government agency in charge of the program. The words my boss told me when he gave me the duties, “The guy who reports the metrics can prove just about anything he wanted to,” turned out to be so truthful it was a little frightening.

The experience has made me a numbers and info junky on par with die hard rotisserie baseball geeks. And Twitter is filling that addiction to information like no other analytic tools ever has.

The magic is in its mission statement, a chance for people around the world to instantly share with others what they are doing. It also gives you the chance to look into the minds of those same millions of people, and see what they are doing, thinking, buying, or dissing.

This power is easily seen in the quick Twitter chatter scene during big television events as people who are looking to be a part of the mass experiences fire off snarky comments as an organic commentary track. This power has been most prominent in watching the ups and downs during the 2008 presidential election and the early days of the Obama Presidential Administration.

As a metrics nut, I like to lot watch the Twitter feeds during big events on TV, like new episodes of 24 and live performance shows nights on American Idol. But the real fun has come during President Obama’s television news conferences. Especially the ones that delay prime time television. Instant praise, instant hate, and instant color commentary is available to anyone willing to scroll thought a few pages of tweets.

Any marketer or sales manager can do a Twitter topic search on their company and find out exactly what is being said exactly when people are thinking about it. That was a good thing for the marketing team at Skittles that decided to make their Twitter search page the actual corporate product website, and a bad thing for Motrin after the Motrin moms took to blogosphere over a commercial that didn’t go over so well with them.

Monitoring your Twitter conversation does give you lots of insight into the thoughts of your brand or product. Just be ready to dismiss some of the more silly or snarky comments. After all, we are still talking about people using the anonymousness of the internet (even if it’s getting harder and harder to stay anonymous) to be a little to open and honest, with little regard of the consequences of the words going out to the world.

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