eView: Pay for Twitter Only if There's a Return
Twitter, the popular and fast-growing microblogging site, is like the Wild West — it has few laws, regulations or hard costs. It won’t stay that way for long, however. Reports all over the blogosphere suggest the company’s management team is floating the idea of requiring companies to pay for upgraded or enhanced services to the free offering. While details are in question, some form of paid services surely will become reality in the not-too-distant future.
The business value of Twitter
Many companies know that Twitter can develop unique, one-on-one relationships with customers, prospects and other stakeholders. In its truest sense, the service is a form of permission-based marketing, where tailored promotion and awareness campaigns can result in strong, relevant, personal connections with targeted audiences. Significant response and conversion rates ensue if done correctly.
Twitter is also a powerful informal research tool that enables marketers to gain quick customer insights. Responses and comments posted on the microblogging site can empower companies to take quick action to emerging service issues before they become catastrophic.
Return on engagement
The real question when deciding whether or not to pay for enhanced Twitter services is what kind of return on engagement with customers, prospects and other stakeholders must occur to make the investment worthwhile. Before launching a Twitter brand profile, for example, companies should determine their goals and then define specific metrics. These measurements could range from how much traffic goes to the organization’s Web site to how many people responded to a question or a company’s “tweet” (the term for a post).
To gauge the service’s full benefit, companies must measure the level of engagement as well as the impact those actions have on an organization’s other Internet properties, such as YouTube videos or answers to online surveys. Companies should understand that the most effective strategy likely strikes a balance between promotional tweets and responses to customer service or product inquiries. Regardless, Twitter provides an opportunity for brands to communicate and build trust over time. It’s the “trust factor” that'll lead to powerful experiences.
Get up and running now
While the specifics of how Twitter will monetize remain speculative, it’s inevitable. And in my opinion it makes sense given the value the tool provides. The site currently provides significant marketing value to organizations, so it's a great time for businesses to create account profiles and begin building followings while it’s ad-free and still in the anything goes phase. The lessons learned could pay even greater dividends as the microblogging site saddles up for the future.