To Tweet or Not To Tweet: Is Twitter Right for Your Brand?

To Tweet or Not to TweetFrom CNN to Jet Blue to the Oprah Winfrey Show to your Mom, it seems everyone has become a part of the “Twitter Nation.” As prolific as Twitter’s presence is, many multicultural marketing teams question Twitter’s ROI and are asking “What benefit can Twitter bring to my company’s brand?”

Twitter allows marketing teams or company executives to interface with an online audience in short, rapid-fire updates, or “tweets,” about the latest company developments.  With 43% of Blacks and 48% of Hispanics making up the online population of social networkers (Pew Internet and American Life Project, Pew Center, 2009), Twitter is increasingly proving to be a valuable addition to the multicultural marketing toolbox. One look at the faces of followers for anyone listed on BlackTwitters.com and it’s clear that people of color are tweeting en masse. But how do you decide if Twitter is right for your company? There are a few key questions to ask:

Do you have the manpower to maintain a Twitter feed?

Twitter gives a company a human face, so it’s important to maintain a positive and consistent presence. Building a reliable audience on Twitter takes time and good, thoughtful messages. Dedicated resources generating relevant messages and responses are key to success. The less frequently audiences are given worthwhile content, and the less a brand is able to respond, the less followers are gained or retained. The Home Depot has a member of their PR team and two customer care representatives managing their Twitter, answering customer questions and providing updates to their 13,438 followers.

Can you measure the success of Twitter as a marketing or promotional tool?

Tools such as Radian 6 or ScoutLabs measure followers and log positive/negative mentions of a brand online. There are many free services to measure followers, but they only offer ballpark figures. The aforementioned pay options provide more detailed analytics and means to detect trends in activity related to a brand. While measurement of social marketing continues to gain accuracy, it is still possible to measure Twitter’s ROI by being very clear in defining what success looks like for a brand.

Does your target audience use Twitter?

Many brands are unsure if their target audiences use Twitter, but until those audiences are engaged, how will they know? According to the Pew Center study, Twitter leads as the preferred status updating service for Blacks – 16% of Blacks use Twitter compared to 9% of Whites.  (Black Enterprise, 2009) Though audiences may not see Twitter as a means to connect with their preferred brand, by providing incentives, consumers are encouraged to follow to a brand’s Twitter for the perks.  Even if a brand’s key demographic is among the few slivers not participating in Twitter or other social media, growth trends indicate getting in early trumps waiting until those perceived non-existent groups have already entered the arena.

Your brand decides to create a Twitter account – how should you use it?

The up-to-the-minute nature of Twitter is great for providing time sensitive information and deals to consumers.  Possible uses include:

  • Extending customer service support
  • Monitoring and responding to product inquiries and information requests
  • Promoting discount codes
  • Alerting subscribers to new posts and articles on blogs
  • Providing live event coverage
  • Generating brand buzz
  • Breaking news about products and services

In the ever-changing world of social media marketing, it’s important to stay abreast of the latest developments and trends. But even more important is understanding every marketing tool does not fit the needs of every brand. Be clear of your brand’s multicultural marketing goals and be mindful of how social marketing fits into your overall marketing strategy.

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