And henceforth the geeks shall inherit the Earth….
and so it would seem.
Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, Linkedin, Facebook, MySpace…the list gets longer each week. Are we over complicating life and communication somewhat? Or are we compelled to “join the gang” afraid that if we don’t we will forever live in a world of grumpy old outsiders moaning about the evils of these communities?
I sit somewhere between the two views despite having my own blog and Twitter accounts. My view is that you are unable to truly judge something unless you are prepared to learn about it for yourself?
This is the most important aspect of being a marketer today, not to get carried away with the latest fad but to evaluate it and place it in the context of your business. If you can find a use for it, a real tangible benefit that can be supported by your business then it’s worth embracing.
Truly there is a great deal of rubbish published on and about Twitter and Blogs which may put a large number of businesses off the idea of joining in. As I see it there are some pretty simple steps to determining if your buisness should embrace twitter or blogging as a method to communicate with customers, staff or prospects.
  • Identify who you want to engage with – prospects, customers, staff, investors, new recruits….
  • Establish which platforms they are “active” in using – a little research can save a lot of time, effort and money wasted
  • Ask yourself …does my business/ market, generate a healthy supply of original ideas or information that would be of interest to the target group?
  • Do we have the resources to mantain a regular feed of information – the people who front a blog on a specific topic need to be the ones who the business are looking to put forward?
  • Understand the interplay between the methods of communication i.e. Using Twitter to post a brief intro and link to your latest blog.
  • Crucially, measure the impact of your activity and set realistic targets for reaching specific audiences with clear messages.
  • Get a second opinion before posting. A b2b approach needs to be thought through and checked a little more thoroughly than personal very informal postings. The image and reputation of your organisation can be enhanced or damaged by the content and tone of your postings.
  • Don’t be afraid to test the medium yourself before letting it loose on your company, understand how it works and look at businesses in your market who are embracing blogs and twitter. Is it working for them? If so why? If not what would you do differently?
  • Finally, don’t loose sight of the fact that blogs and twitter are relatively informal methods of communication with the underlying imperative to entertain and inform. You may find your business absolutely fascinating but unless you can make widget related blogs interesting and useful to the reader you won’t get a great response.
On balance I think twitter and blogs add a really interesting dimension to net communities and there are already plenty of examples of businesses using them to good effect. Unfortunately there are also a large number of businesses who have jumped onto the bandwagon before they’ve checked if it’s going their way.
New mediums for communication do not necessarily require new rules for marketing. Once you’ve understood how they work technically, try applying the tried and tested tools of marketing management; fundamentally you still need to manage the process and measure the results to determine its success.
Overall I’d recommend having fun with the process and find through twitter and blogs a way to convey the personality of your business.
If you’ve got some examples to share please drop me a line.
David Laud – Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Chartered Marketer
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