7 Questions Some Brands Are Asking About Twitter

This by no means represents all brands, but just some brands, perhaps those that are a bit more sophisticated.

Last Friday I had a conversation with a manufacturing firm that had some relativily sophisticated questions about how they will prepare their plan around Twitter. This was a nice break from the “why does Twitter matter” questions I usually get, as they were thinking through a plan.

Here’s some of the excellent questions this organization, and a handful of others brands are starting to ask:

  1. Should we create multiple accounts for different divisions? How should we name them?  How should the content be different?
  2. Is it ok to just tweet out news on our main corporate account? Or should we be conversational?
  3. How do we get our corporate reps (sales, product teams) to use this tool, and be conversational?
  4. Should we follow folks? If so, what’s the protocol? Should we only follow folks that follow us? We don’t want to appear like ‘big brother’
  5. What are the tools to use to manage multiple authors/tweeters?
  6. How can we find other examples of B2B twitter examples?
  7. How should we brand our Twitter backgrounds images?

Ok, that was more than 8, but I grouped them into related questions.  It was refreshing to hear this much thought being put into their conversational efforts, this was actually a manufacturing firm, not a high tech company and certainly not a young startup out of southpark in SF.  In general, the level of interest has gone up about Twitter since late Q4 2008 from my clients, and recently, we’ve been getting more questions about the topic.  

What questions are you hearing from brands that are approacing Twitter?  I gauge the level of sophitication of a brand by which of these five questions they’re trying to answer, just change out ‘social media’ to ‘twitter’ to gauge.

Are you at an agency or at a brand? What questions are you hearing about Twitter?

Update: Antonio has answered, as has Jess, and so has Dirk who heads social media marketing at Vignette.

41 Replies to “7 Questions Some Brands Are Asking About Twitter”

  1. I think, in many ways, that list can be summarized and broadened beyond Twitter to just “should we be conversational?” Or, perhaps that should be the first question, with Twitter being a potential part of the answer.

  2. Great stuff Jeremiah. The first question I always here is ‘what is Twitter’s relevance to my business and reaching my audience?’ Depending on how much they understand, the next biggest question is the why and how of integrating Twitter activities into the other areas of social media they are partaking in. For example, does Twitter work better with other tools/strategies, or simply by itself?

    Definitely all good questions to consider 🙂

  3. At my agency the questions we get most often about Twitter are:

    1. How do we build an audience?
    2. Who should be in charge posting (tweeting)?
    3. Should our Twitter profile be the company or a person within the company? Can it carry the CEO’s name while someone else writes the posts?

  4. Getting asked about how to use Twitter to actually sell. Meaning, is it possible (or what’s the right way) to drive clicks to a product site where people can be converted to customers. Don’t have the exact answer, but think yes of course it can be done, but you need to build and maintain a lot of trust and goodwill before doing the “ask.”

  5. Here are some ideas for the discussion-

    Q – Is it a good idea to recognize fellow employees over Twitter?

    Q – How can we capture economic value from real-time search on Twitter?

    Q – Is FriendFeed the next Twitter?

  6. I honestly dony get it.

    On the one hand you moan that Twitter is filled with marketers.

    On the other, you have been actively saying for the past 2 years that they should be using it and offering advice on how to.

    Can you clarify your position?

  7. Unnamed Journalist

    My position: The internet is filled with people and brands –they can coexist and I get to make that happen. (Update: I mean, I try to help the balance happen)

    I actually moan about when things get off balance, either way. Then again, I can moan about moaning, that’s the fun part of the job.

  8. I think companies need to let go of control and realize this is just another channel for the message. Stop worrying about the what if when ur clients r looking for u where they r, social media digital media. They actually value ur true engagement. Use that opportunity. I really like when a brand feels like an actual person. BE has so many people dedicated to social media channels; that’s why they’re successful. Adopt n adapt or just watch n see no results. Ur choice.

  9. Twitter definitely is a place for marketers. The trick is to not be overtly annoying when Tweeting. It is a challenge for a brand to talk about product releases and events and news without coming off as self-serving. At the same time, they need to work hard to foster discussion – the communal aspect of social media. Yes, it takes building trust, but that can come in time if the campaign is done right.

    As for who should hold the account? I think there definitely needs to be a corporate Twitter account. I also feel that individual employees should have separate accounts, but remain focused in their efforts. One account/employee per relevant department – Accounting does not need a Twitter account, Product Management does.

  10. These questions and many more are the discussions I have in my circle of business owners who “don’t have time” to Twitter and want to cut to the chase and create sales. Personally, and I share this with them, I think Twitter can definitely pique interest in a person and a company. Thus… sales. I do think however, you have to earn it the old fashion way… build relationships.

    I hope to start twittering for them soon. LOL!!!

    @AlexisCeule
    alexis@ceule.com

  11. the biggest questions we hear are simply “what is it?” and “how do we use it?” the level of education required in the corporate world is still pretty significant no matter how much you hear about Twitter in the news, on Oprah or NPR or in print.

  12. Good questions, which we have certainly heard (and variations thereof). One question we also hear a lot is “How do we measure ROI?” i.e., is there a way to estimate conversions from Twitter messaging?

  13. great list, thanks. one question that is being asked over and over again here @ an entertainment tv channel from Germany is: should we link just to our own sites when using twitter or also point at other sites if there are interesting contents.
    cheers
    Yousef

  14. Great stuff Jeremiah. The first question I always here is 'what is Twitter's relevance to my business and reaching my audience?' Depending on how much they understand, the next biggest question is the why and how of integrating Twitter activities into the other areas of social media they are partaking in. For example, does Twitter work better with other tools/strategies, or simply by itself?

    Definitely all good questions to consider 🙂

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