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A Few Non-boring Ways to Use Twitter For Marketing

Since around the time of SxSW and perhaps earlier, the buzz on Twitter has gone through the roof.  Collecting groups of text messages and emails from people cataloguing "what they are doing now" might seem like a colossal waste of time, but it has found a devoted following from bloggers and those actively engaged in social media because of the immediacy and real time appeal of sharing your thoughts.  This is different than blogging, this is like carrying a text based recorder on your shoulder to broadcast your location and current thoughts to the world.  It’s not hard to see why this would appeal to bloggers who are already sharing their personal views of the world online.  Twitter adds a frame of reference and has the same live appeal of instant messenger.

Still, a quick visit to the homepage of Twitter may leave the uninitiated unimpressed.  It’s mostly a collection of people you don’t know talking about doing stuff you don’t care about.  Even if you read these updates from people you do know, it’s tough to get excited about.  The tool, though, offers a great platform for sharing experiences real time and has plenty of potential for marketing.  Here are just a few non-boring ways to use Twitter for marketing:

  1. Capture the live pulse of an event – This is one of the most popular marketing uses that I have seen for Twitter, where it is used to offer a visual display of conversations happening around an event.  More and more interactive events have this, and I suspect other non-Web related events will start to incorporate it as well to offer participants a visual way to track the pulse of an event and determine where to spend time.
  2. Deepen a static experience through live commentary – I saw an interesting story last week about how Fox is going to be using Twitter to promote their new show Drive by having the director provide live updates and directors commentary via Twitter throughout the show.  We will definitely be seeing more of this type of marketing in the near future. 
  3. Facilitate collaborative watching – When it comes to watching video content online or on television, Twitter can allow you to watch something "alongside" anyone anywhere by sharing your impressions and reading impressions from others as a program unfolds.  This is a powerful new method of sharing feedback and ideas   
  4. Add a new dimension to promotions – Scavenger hunts, user generated content campaigns, and other reality based marketing promotions are growing popularity as ways to encourage interaction from customers.  Twitter can offer a way of encouraging dialogue between promotion participants and adding an "instant message style" dimension to a promotion without the privacy and contact acceptance barriers normally associated with using IM for marketing.

Tapping Twitter for marketing is still a relatively unique ocurrence — but from what I can see, there are plenty of opportunities.  If the popularity of the site continues to grow it’s likely these opportunities will continue to get more appealing, and the list of ideas for using Twitter in marketing will grow as well.

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34 thoughts on “A Few Non-boring Ways to Use Twitter For Marketing”

  1. Great post!

    Twitter, like SecondLife, is something I hate as an individual (because… who has time for this stuff?), but as a marketer and interactive consultant I had to learn to first understand then and then love them. Your post provides some great ideas that really drive home why I had to learn to love Twitter.

    Reply
  2. These are great ideas. Also check out Jaiku.com which enables a conversational element to each “Jaiku” (post). Jaiku also enables the user to set up one’s own central point of presence with lifestream data, including your FlickR photos, Twitter, and LastFM music streams, etc. And their mobile feature lets users of Nokia S60 compatible phones transmit their location. I just started working with Jaiku in the USA to help get the word out.

    Reply
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  4. In reference to Dino’s comment, I know its possible to group within Twitter at least for large scale campaign purposes. Have a feeling self segmentation isn’t too far off.

    Reply
  5. Mindcomet…

    I’m new to using Twitter. Have you found any information (blog or forum posts) on how to “group with Twitter”? I’ve got a large event in early June and I’d like to have many of our event organizers and participants use Twitter to post updates during and leading up to the event. Appreciate any suggestions or leads from anyone.

    Reply
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  10. I very much like the idea of using Twitter to “Facilitate collaborative watching”

    Alternatively, I think old fashioned chat rooms that are self-hosted on your blog whether that be like what Tech President did for the GOP YouTube debates (I think it was Meebo and some other technology) or what the Huffington Post did (via a sign in on Basecamp with output to a Wiki).

    In the conference set up its amazing. At Barcamp Nashville, the folks that ran it had a hack which created a stream of eveything people at the Barcamp were posting. I know Wake Forrest runs a huge college event in their fall debate tournament (I think around 500 participants). What did they use to send messages back and fourth? Twitter + mobile. A great way to coordinate events and increase the intensity of shared experiences.

    Reply
  11. I very much like the idea of using Twitter to “Facilitate collaborative watching”

    Alternatively, I think old fashioned chat rooms that are self-hosted on your blog whether that be like what Tech President did for the GOP YouTube debates (I think it was Meebo and some other technology) or what the Huffington Post did (via a sign in on Basecamp with output to a Wiki).

    In the conference set up its amazing. At Barcamp Nashville, the folks that ran it had a hack which created a stream of eveything people at the Barcamp were posting. I know Wake Forrest runs a huge college event in their fall debate tournament (I think around 500 participants). What did they use to send messages back and fourth? Twitter + mobile. A great way to coordinate events and increase the intensity of shared experiences.

    Reply
  12. I very much like the idea of using Twitter to “Facilitate collaborative watching”

    Alternatively, I think old fashioned chat rooms that are self-hosted on your blog whether that be like what Tech President did for the GOP YouTube debates (I think it was Meebo and some other technology) or what the Huffington Post did (via a sign in on Basecamp with output to a Wiki).

    In the conference set up its amazing. At Barcamp Nashville, the folks that ran it had a hack which created a stream of eveything people at the Barcamp were posting. I know Wake Forrest runs a huge college event in their fall debate tournament (I think around 500 participants). What did they use to send messages back and fourth? Twitter + mobile. A great way to coordinate events and increase the intensity of shared experiences.

    Reply
  13. Rohit, this blog entry is even more relevant today. The ability to track and follow conversations based on our personal passions is unprecedented. If we can learn to filter out the meaningless “went for lunch” bahooey, and get the valuable stuff, it really becomes a great twitter experience.

    It really blows my mind what twitter can connect me to in just seconds now…really, really cool.

    Reply
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Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

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