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Twitter May Change, but the Approach Remains the Same

April 22, 2009

132864939_5522e4df6a1There has been much chatter as of late in the Twitterverse and the blogosphere about a Twitter turning point following Ashton Kutcher race against CNN to break 1 million Twitter followers, and the welcoming of Oprah on the micro-blogging site. Now Twitter, a once geeky niche community with a common purpose of developing relationships, sharing information and dialoguing, is now where all the cool kids are.

But what does that really mean for Twitter or the thought leaders who “were here before Oprah?” Will this medium become less helpful for businesses? Has Twitter become just another platform for celebrity gossip and popularity contests? According to Twitterholic, seven of the top 10 tweeters with the most followers are now celebrities, including Britney Spears, Shaquille O’ Neal and John Mayer. As Twitter makes its way into mainstream media, it will become increasingly challenging to filter through the “noise.” Techworld reported Twitter visits jumping 24 percent in one day after Winfrey made her first tweet, and 37 percent of those people were new tweeters.

Despite the fact that Twitter has seen a 752 percent growth in 2008, the purpose of Twitter remains the same. It is still a platform where people in niche communities can come together and share information. No matter what “noise” exists in the Twitterverse, tweeters still have the power to select what noise they choose to filter in and out. The fundamental ideas of community and how to reach out to communities are the same.

Photo courtesy of nighthawk7 via Stock.xchng

For businesses that see the value of social media, of Twitter specifically, the increase in Tweeters can only mean bigger benefits and broader outreach. Meaningful engagement with these communities require the same POST (people, objectives, strategy, tactics) methodology that it always has. Here are some fundamental basics to keep in mind that will maintain the value that Twitter has always offered.

Researching your targeted audiences and finding the appropriate niche communities that already exist will become more important as more “noise” enters the Twitterverse. Find the need out there and fill it. Sift and track discussions to evaluate which conversations would be appropriate for clients to integrate themselves into. Evaluate what is already going on, where the conversations are and what communities already exist. By doing this, you will find which communities your customers are a part of so that you can reach out and start building a relationship. It is all about finding the right people to target and dialogue with.

Content Production
As more and more businesses (hopefully) find social media a necessity, the greater amount of content will be available for consumers and a greater amount of content to choose from. It will be important for businesses to keep interesting and relevant content coming to their consumers. With content production, it is important for businesses to integrate themselves in the conversation but also understand that the user will be dictating where the conversations will go. Hannah Smith, an associate from Conkling, Fiskum and McCormick spoke to our class about her Tillamook social media campaign where they relied on the fans to create the content. By utilizing the Tillamook Cheese fan base and finding interesting user-generated content to share, @TillamookCheese always has interesting tweets that keep their followers interested.

Adapting to Change
Social Media is an ever-changing medium that you can’t control. The expectations and need for these tools are always evolving. Businesses must look to the future and create a strategy about what you want your community to look like and how do you want it to grow. Listening to your targeted audience to appropriately adapt to changes as the next wave of technology is just around the riverbend.

What are your thoughts about Twitter’s recent changes? How do you think businesses can help customers filter through the noise and give them what they want?

Amanda Ip 

Connect with me: Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2009 10:55 am

    Hi Amanda,
    This post was a fun and insightful read about the ever-evolving Twitter craze. I too have noticed that as Twitter’s popularity increases, so does the noise. Personally, I like to use TweetDeck to separate who I’m following. For example, I have Oprah, Britney and Shaq in one column and my classmates/PR friends in a different column.

    I think companies need to thoroughly develop a social media plan before diving head first into Twitter. If not, they might be missing the mark in terms of the content they deliver to their respective audiences.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote, “Listening to your targeted audience to appropriately adapt to changes as the next wave of technology is just around the riverbend.” I could not agree more. Listen first, then participate.

    Great read–I’ll definitely be coming back to this site in the near future! 🙂


  2. ssmstudent permalink
    April 23, 2009 11:40 am

    Hi Maddy,

    Thank you for your thoughts! You bring up a great point that I didn’t explore in depth with this post and that is: you can filter the noise!! So what if celebrities are on Twitter! If you don’t follow them, then you won’t hear the noise!

    Companies will just need to be smarter and do more research when choosing who are the thought leaders and consumers they wish to listen to. I agree that companies must research and learn about the natural habitat of their consumers before they fully participate. People are more likely to speak the truth and share their opinions when they are in a comfortable environment.

    TweetDeck is my absolute favorite monitoring tool, too. I feel that my listening is more effective when I’m able to separate the noise. For example, I have a column for peers, professors, news and PR professionals.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post! There are some VERY smart people in this class that have incredible thoughts to share! Definitely check in again and I guarantee you’ll learn lots!


  3. April 23, 2009 12:19 pm

    Great post, Amanda!

    • ssmstudent permalink
      April 24, 2009 9:03 am

      Thanks, Melissa!

  4. April 23, 2009 2:16 pm

    I will definitely (and finally) download Tweetdeck, because I actually don’t follow many celebrities because of the “noise” factor.

    I love the simplicity of Twitter; however, with its increasing popularity, I feel that it may need a few upgrades to keep the clutter organized. I know they are things like Tweetdeck that will do some organizing, but I think Twitter may need to evolve more to keep tweets and tweeps organized. For example, alerts for new @ message or DMs and follower suggestions, such as Facebook has.

    But who knows, maybe Twitter will be like In-N-Out Burger and keep the same menu forever. I think many people would like it that way.

    Great post!

    Courtney Smith

    • ssmstudent permalink
      April 24, 2009 4:36 pm

      Hi Courtney,

      I agree that Twitter has been experiencing some growing pains and will continue to do so. I believe that the changes will occur as people’s needs change. As people have turned to Twitter for news and gossip, celebrities and media have slowly adopted Twitter as another outlet for information!

      Thank you for your thoughts!!


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