Twitter Filter: Making the business case
July 6, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

How to present the business case for using Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed et al to drive our company's business

I work for a small, blue-blood financial services firm. I have been recently tasked with with some basic marketing duties. I want to make a splash at our next management meeting with some real business focused statistics, resources, and information that will help me make the case for us using the social mediums mentioned above. I am hoping for something like white papers or industry reports that I can present and expand upon. Do such resources exist, and if so, where?
posted by Ezrie to Technology (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here's a super-comprehensive list of articles and resources for selling people on social media.
posted by mynameisluka at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Are you sure your customers (or potential customers) are on twitter, facebook et al?

the average Twitter user is "overwhelmingly young," though the average age of a Twitter user is slightly higher than most other social networking services... Twitter's median age is 31, while Facebook's is 26 and MySpace's is 27... Twitter users are more likely to come from lower-income households

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing the demographic for a "blue-blood financial services firm" doesn't exactly match that description.
posted by ook at 5:12 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: ook-

Excellent point. Our clients are big and small. Old and Young. Fortune 50 companies and mom and pop operations. The way I see it, making one good connection that leads to one extra new client per year makes the time investment well worth it. In these economic times, every avenue for growth is worth perusing. I thin my company is looking to me to guide the company through the waters of social media, and I am trying to add as much value as I can for my sake and the company's sake.
posted by Ezrie at 5:16 PM on July 6, 2009

I have been recently tasked with with some basic marketing duties. I want to make a splash at our next management meeting...

Advice from someone who has been there many, many times before... don't "make a splash."

Instead, suggest one single thing. One small, simple, non-scary and easy-to-sell idea that you can implement, test, and report back on with real results next time.

And if/when it works, you can add another, and grow it bigger, next time around.
posted by rokusan at 5:28 PM on July 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Rokusan-

Sound advice. Maybe I will start with twitter.
posted by Ezrie at 5:29 PM on July 6, 2009

or a blog perhaps?
posted by pyro979 at 6:05 PM on July 6, 2009

Twitter is vastly more powerful for business when it's backed by a blog, so I would start there and then *add* Twitter on top. The business case for blogs is also easy to make. "It will improve our credibility and search engine ranking" works for even slow evolvers.

Blogs and Twitter are easy asks with value. FF and FB I'm vastly less sold on for business. I think I might do blog, Twitter and then sit on it for a while. Recognise that you can't really drop a social channel, so I'd be slow to add them myself.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:16 PM on July 6, 2009

You need to take an honest appraisal of what, exactly, you would push-out to your customers via something like Twitter. Will your company come off looking helpful? Or just a 140-character nuisance? I can see far more possibilities for doing damage to both the company image and customer relations via Twitter, than I can any real upside. It's trendy, to be sure. It's the big buzzword. But does its utility really mesh with whatever service you're trying to provide your customers?

Now, a blog is almost de rigueur in business today. Frankly, I'm amazed your company doesn't already have one. That's where I'd start. It's a far better platform to actually serve your clients with actual information the client will value and appreciate. Plus, it's accessible on their terms at their convenience. I think that's far more respectful of the clients.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 PM on July 6, 2009

Prepare for the following argument: some more conservative investors might be turned off by a firm that's eagerly joining the Twitter craze. Also, the name "Twitter" is a little dingy sounding... just saying. You might not be that well served to splash this all over your marketing materials.
posted by amtho at 7:52 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: pyro979-

I should have mentioned that we already do have a blog, updated with some frequency, and the content therein is often cited in industry publications. (our small part of the industry is very specific). Perhaps a good idea would be to syndicate the blog posting to twitter as the post go up.
posted by Ezrie at 10:40 PM on July 6, 2009

It sounds like your customers are companies, rather than individual people. You need to figure out how decisions are made by your clients. Is there a purchasing agent? Find out who approves purchasing and what criteria are involved (i.e. does another employee review what you sell for suitability?)

Given that your customers are mainly corporate, have you considered something like a mailing list instead of tweets? Company email is practically a given these days. Given that you've decided a social media aspect is important, you might decide to host an unmoderated customers mailing list.
posted by pwnguin at 12:12 AM on July 7, 2009

This site has some awesome statistics/information.
posted by heather-b at 7:05 AM on July 7, 2009

Best answer: > Ezrie: "Perhaps a good idea would be to syndicate the blog posting to twitter as the post go up."

I'd like to advise not simply duplicating content from your blog to Twitter. Blogging and Tweeting are 2 different "styles" of communication (require different approaches). The people who read your blog (and dont read Twitter) expect a certain type of communication style. The people who read Twitter and not your blog, expect a different type of communication style. The people who read both - will be bothered if all you do is "syndicate" (copy) blog postings directly over to Twitter. You can have similar/linked content between your blog and Twitter, but make sure each medium is unique standalone thing. The goal is to keep things fresh and interesting - which psychologically has potential to make people believe your company is doing fresh/interesting/innovative things.

Some examples:

1.) Your blog updates with a semi-official announcement about your companies participation in an upcoming weekend trade show or event. Tie in your Twitter feed by posting "behind-the-scenes" info like setting up for the show, impromptu/silly pics of booth hosts, or something like "Next person at our booth who mentions this tweet gets a __random-prize__". Put some personality in it. Make it feel human and approachable.

2.) If you are looking to make "one good connection"... make sure you learn about Twitter hashtags . Search Twitter for the variety of hashtags your potential clients might be using and use it as a tool to research info about new clients. Follow other Twitter users and suggest/give helpful advice (related to your field) even (or especially) if its not simply pimping your own companies services. There are plenty of companies who use Twitter as a positive PR tool (see for example: Comcast Cares )

3.) Remember one of the big benefits to Twitter is the popularity of smartphones make it such that people can get "tweets" sent to their phone in real-time. (this is part/parcel of why it requires a slightly different communication style than blogs). Without knowing your exact company, its hard to generate some example ideas,.. but just dont forget the realtime aspect of it.

If I knew exactly what company you worked for..I could probably come up with more focused ideas.. but thats all the steam I have for the moment.
posted by jmnugent at 9:39 AM on July 7, 2009

Think of Twitter as a convenient way to have a conversation with your target audience. If you do it right (think lots of updates), in the right tone, you can earn some trust and loyalty. That's a nice thing but not a home run.

If you want to whiz-bang the senior team, implement Google Anayltics on your site (free) and start measuring your website visitor stats. It gives you fancy graphs and charts and trending data which as a bonus are quite useful. Create funnels for actions that you want to happen (like having people sign up for your newsletter). Find out where people are coming from and what search terms they are using. If you have the budget, you can bid on keywords. If you are in a highly specific industry, that may pay off. At the very least you can use the information to tweak your site for better page rank and to encourage visitor behavior you want to see.

Without knowing your marketing objectives in depth, it's hard to tell you what to do next. But your "big splash" should really be a well thought-out marketing plan with many channels, all working toward a common business goal. Sure social media is in there, but it needs to relate to going to conferences, cultivating media relationships, list building and segmentation, etc. I know it's boring but that's what works--and if you can put those pieces together, you will be impressive in a far more meaningful way.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:25 PM on July 7, 2009

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