Guest writer: Amita Paul
“Most Fortune 100 Companies Don’t Get Twitter” – this statement referring a study published on Mashable intrigued me enough to write this article. This study was conducted by Weber Shandwick and presented a report on how well Fortune 100 companies use Twitter. The stats led to conclude that a majority of these companies have yet to come up with a consistent methodology to leverage Twitter to its fullest. For example: Fortune 100 Twitter Accounts: 540; Fortune 100 companies on Twitter : 73; Followers:50% had less than 500; Activity / Frequency: 76% posted fewer than 500 tweets; Inactivity: 15% were placeholder / inactive accounts.
Twitter offers a clear opportunity for companies to convert their employees into evangelists. While this is true, there is huge amount of risk involved, if resources are not managed using systematic and coherent processes. This alone may explain why many companies still do not have an active Twitter account.
To efficiently use Twitter, companies need a centralized platform that provides complete visibility and accountability into the performance, be it of individual resources, functions, or the strategies that have been adopted. At the same time, the platform must allow for easy collaboration, increased productivity and result-orientation in team settings.
Twitter is a simple communication channel. And the strategies that making effective use of Twitter should be straightforward. Instead of jumping into execution, if companies adopt the simple framework of Plan -> Execute -> Learn -> Optimize, then not only can effectiveness be measured, but the knowledge gathered throughout the process can also be used for repeatable success.
PLAN: Companies need to determine the purpose of being on Twitter, and define Campaigns that communicate this purpose to their followers. There should be clear plan on:
1. Campaign definitions;
2. Start and end dates of a campaign;
3. Goals and expected returns from each campaign.
If the purpose is to create brand awareness, a company can create campaigns to send out product updates, webinar announcements and industry news. A campaign should have a related goal that can be measured. In this example, for product updates campaigns, the goals could be to maximize exposure, which can be measured through retweet information. Or for a webinar announcement campaign, the goal could be to increase visits to the registration page, and this can be measured through click-through rates on the URLs that drive traffic to website.
Once, campaigns are identified and goals are set, a company is ready for an effective execution strategy.
EXECUTE: Companies should use solutions that allow them to execute strategies tied closely to the plan. Execution becomes focused and result-oriented, when there is a plan in place and goal in view.
A good execution strategy should allow for the creation of different variations of the messages that bring them close to their goals. For example, if the goal for a campaign is get more traffic to the website, then it is key to share your content with the URL to your website more frequently, and at times when there is more traffic. Companies should use a solution that provides answers to the following questions before and after any execution:
1. What channels to use?
2. Should the message be tweaked for different channels?
3. What is the right frequency of updates?
4. Do day/time matter and differ depending on the channel?
5. What is the right content?
Campaign-based execution should be flexible, and modifiable as there is new learning about the campaign.
LEARN: There are facts, and then there are insights. A good solution should not only provide good visibility into stats but, also actionable insights. For example, a solution should provide the following insights based of just the clicked-through data:
1. Average click-through per post, for the campaign (so, you can compare two campaigns);
2. Most and least popular posts in the campaign (so, you see why?);
3. HeatMap of the best day and time of the day for a campaign (like, Monday 2-4 pm);
4. Channel wise distribution, and demography information.
And, instead of returning a list when monitoring keywords about brand or a product, a good solution should provide the following insights:
1. Who are the Influencers or Amplifiers?
2. Who are the Promoters or Detractors?
3. What is the Net Promoter Score?
4. What is the context and sentiment?
Actionable insights are important as they allow for redefining the campaign goals, and also modify execution strategy.
OPTIMIZE: The most important question that should get answered is “Is my twitter strategy working?” As a result of your campaigns, you may have received a large number of followers, or got significant exposure. But, you need to verify if these are relevant to your business. If they are, you have the winning strategy. If not, use the feedback to identify the gaps, tweak your campaigns and redefine your campaign goals.
With the right strategy and execution plan, companies can indeed brace themselves for a steady growth in their business via social media. Companies should not be “Twueless”, a word that Guy Kawasaki coined in his take on the study, but rational (“objective”) using a simple strategy that works. And ask this question more often than not: “Is my company effectively using Twitter? “
Amita is the founder/CEO of ObjectiveMarketer, which is an integrated platform with the above principles inherent in its design. It is a centralized solution that allows enterprises to implement strategies via campaigns. The product features several innovative solutions for marketers to engage with their audience with elaborate landing pages, and polls integration with the tweets. The architecture of the product allows for multi-tenant participation, with the whole idea of “work less, work effective”.