Marketing Basics: Twitter
The term social media is fast dominating the marketing profession and it has become virtually impossible to discuss the social media without talking about Twitter. First of all, the term social media seems to have many definitions but then we can define it as a medium in which the audience is the creators of its content. This is as opposed to the traditional media where the audience just consumes the content with minimal input.
Twitter can further be defined as a social medium which provides a message routing vehicle for the real time exchange of messages via various devices. One of the most outstanding features of Twitter is that it generates what sociologists have referred to as ‘co presence’ as a result of giving people the opportunity to know what their ‘friends’ are doing, thinking, reading and planning to do in an immediate sense. Twitter is actually a microblogging site which was founded by Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey, all programmers in July 2006. Williams is informally credited with being the first to describe people who write web logs as ‘bloggers’ after founding the free blogging service, Blogger which he sold to Google. Twitter was initially used as a form of interaction between employees following its conceptualization in 2006 by Jack Dorsey and its launch in the following year.
On the marketing scene, the very features that make Twitter unique in microblogging make it a veritable and indeed, very potent tool for marketing. There are fundamentally two outstanding features:
i. Simplicity: Ease of use is one of the most sought after tools in marketing today. The ability of the users or target audience to connect with the company or brand without much hassles to them is a plus for a marketing effort. Twitter is very simple to use and although more features have been added over time, it still remains simple to use to most people. This has attracted many people to it as there is no requirement to be an expert or sit for long hours to decipher any features just to use it. Additionally, the brevity with the message is written and delivered makes it possible to craft and share easily memorable marketing messages.
ii. Large Followership: Sequel to receiving an award in 2007, the South by Southwest Award in March 2007, Twitter gained a lot of publicity and had a lot of people talking about it and more importantly using it. When this happened, people jumped onboard and quickly alerted their friends to the fun on the site. The viral effect ensured that numbers grew and from just a site where people exchanged information on their activities, people it became a tool for reaching out to the critical masses.
Twitter has been used for many marketing campaigns in the business, non- governmental and political scenes successfully. One of the most outstanding examples of the success as a marketing tool in political marketing is Barack Obama’s campaign and the British Parliament. Whole Foods Market has also used it while the American Red Cross uses it in the non- governmental segment.