I use to think that Twitter was for kids and just another version of MySpace where teenagers could go and chat about their favorite rock groups or latest video games. If you’re like me and thought Twitter was mostly about the mundane subject of what kind of oatmeal Bob ate for breakfast, then you have not been paying attention.
Who are the users of Twitter? Reuter’s reporter Alexei Oreskovic recently authored a blog post on Twitter demographics. In that post Alexei reported, “A recent study by comScore discovered that 18-24 year olds are actually 12 percent less likely than average to visit Twitter. The 45-54 year olds are actually 36% more likely than average to visit Twitter making them the highest age group, followed by 25-34 year olds.”
What opportunities do these demographics portend? If you look at Twitter like a river of ideas with an audience that has considerable spending power then perhaps like a Doctor listening to the heartbeat of a patient there is something useful to learn. Claire Cain Miller has reported in the NY Times that companies like, Starbucks, Whole Foods and Dell can see what their customers are thinking as they use a product, and the companies can adapt their marketing accordingly. “Twitter’s most productive use has been for businesses that want to peer into the minds of their customers, reading their immediate reactions to a product.” In her article Ms. Miller makes mention of how Starbucks customers often post their complaints on Twitter. Dell listened to customer complaints on Twitter about their apostrophe and return keys being too close together on the Dell Mini 9 laptop and fixed the problem in the Dell Mini 10. Amazon has changed its classification of books in response to Twitter criticism regarding some of its adult ratings.
According to Scot Finnie of Computerworld there are 5 reasons Twitter makes sense for business and IT:
It’s got a real business use.
It’s ok to follow people you don’t know.
Twitter delivers news, unique perspectives and stellar information.
You can mark your company or personal brand.
There are no cliques or hurt feelings.
According to Finnie, Twitter has an older demographic than other forms of social media. In Facebook and LinkedIn you need permission to befriend other people. In Twitter you can choose to follow anyone. People are followed because they have something interesting to say, not because they are a friend or connected to you in some form. Once a Twitter following reaches a large enough scale it becomes like a microblog and can be used to build out a brand for one’s business. Twitter is a great news tool and through the use of retweets (republishing another person’s tweet) the best news bubbles to the top. In this sense the collective voice on Twitter pushes the most popular ideas to the front by republishing them. The user can control the stream of the tweets on Twitter. If you “unfollow” someone it doesn’t send them a message hurting their feelings. These characteristics give Twitter strengths that are not matched by Facebook or LinkedIn.
How does the Twitter user track so much information? Ok, Twitter is not for kids, and plenty of adults are using it. Corporations are following the tweets and building out their brands. In a world of increasing demands and decreasing time how does one manage all this information?
One free software tool is called TweetDeck. TweetDeck works with Windows or Mac and is a quick and free download. Once downloaded you enter your Twitter account information, and then create a TweetDeck name and password. The TweetDeck provides a breakdown of your Twitter messages. For example when I installed it on my Twitter account, it categorized my Twitter information into the following categories:
One of the more useful breakdowns is “mentions.” As a Twitter user if you have a hundred different tweets in your daily account, you really want to hone in on the tweets that mention you. Also, “direct messages” is helpful for pin pointing, among the clutter, when someone is directly tweeting you.
Twitter isn’t just for kids. Adults and older individuals are embracing Twitter. Businesses are routinely monitoring Twitter to see how well their product launches are faring and altering course if necessary. There are advanced software tools for tracking and categorizing all the messages (tweets) flowing into one’s Twitter account. The time is ripe for leveraging this fast, timely, and omnipresent communications tool for expanding business opportunities. Finally, don’t tweet about that morning’s oatmeal.
Tweets by davidderrico
My guest writer David Derrico, esq has decided to dive in to social media. Every Monday his blog posts will illustrate what he has learned, and what he has to share. Hopefully those of you new to social media will find his posts helpful. In addition, I will be holding FREE weekly conference calls each Friday at 10:00 AM EST to help new professionals as they try to figure out social media. This Friday’s call is titled, “Pick Your Poison: Choosing the Right Social Media Site” -you can sign up for the call here.