While I am still unsure about the real value of Twitter in marketing, Rohit Bhargava mentions four ideas of how Twitter can be valueable. I still ain’t convinced completely, but getting there…
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.
Undoubtedly, this could work. The question is: who is the target audience? If it is all those people at the event, who subscribe to one twitter feed about the event, it could be brilliant to let everyone know what is happening elsewhere within the event. If it is for people outside the event, the whole twittersphere of the event will sound like 140-character long gibberish to those not present, I suppose.
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.
This could be nice, but only if the show is live, too. Otherwise, we’ll be reading tweets about stuff that we know nothing about until we see it a few months later on TV.
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
This won’t work, if we truly believe in the end of programmed television. If people are not watching things at the same time, because everyone can watch „on demand“, then how can you share your thoughts with other viewers via twitter? Unless there is a „twitter group“ for that particular movie or series – and I just underestimate the scale of randomness: the fact that for some shows, there will always be somebody, at any given time, watching the same show as myself…
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.
This, I think, could be a fantastic use for twitter. A connection of customers in Twitter groups during promotions, enabling „swarm intelligence“, as we call it here in Germany, would be a brilliant setup for all sorts of ideas for promos, alternate reality games, real life social games or gatherings, etc.
So, in general, I start to like the idea of using Twitter for marketing, having been sceptical a few weeks / months ago. But I do think, that we still need a lot of refinement to make sure it’s not just a gimmick, but does actually contribute value to campaigns.