Twitter - Is it a good tool for brand promotion...

Twitter. The only meaning I knew of this word, before 2006 that is, was that of chirping of birds. But post 2006, the meaning completely changed. Tweeting was no more a patented item with birds. Humans started tweeting too! And it was started in San Francisco, USA, by three chaps ' Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone. No, not tweeting as a real vocal activity, but as an internet phenomenon.

Wikipedia describes it as "a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets.' Twitter's own About Us page is one better. It says, "Twitter is a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what's happening now.' Baah! This sounds so lame and boring. What they should write instead should be something like ' Twitter is, in essence, the very internet tool that helped "Mr' Obama become President' Obama' or Britney Spears gets high. Again. On Twitter this time, thank God for that! ' Such statements would be much cooler instead, don't you think so?

Allow me to talk numbers here, please. According to Quantcast, more number of females use Twitter than males, the ratio swinging 55 to 45 percent in favour of the fairer sex. And further breaking down into age brackets reveal that people in the 18-34 bracket are most active on this social networking platform than anyone else. That means you, if you are between 18 and 34 years of age. And me, because I am. What this implies is that youth is driving the internet industry most aggressively. And the fact that you're reading this article on web and not in some magazine is proof.

We particularly like Twitter Search. It is an interesting concept that walks the same line of philosophy as Twitter. But of course, it has to. You search for a keyword and Twitter Search will show you all the Twitter-based activities that have happened around that keyword on the web. This not only keeps you abreast with the latest news and happenings around the keyword searched for, but also lets you see the profiles most active that suit your criteria, so you can start following that!

But we have primarily been speaking about Twitter's social networking aspects till now. There is another angle that Twitter is quite good at ' marketing. The website has more than 100 million users worldwide and this automatically makes it as one of the most lucrative avenues on which to advertise. The beauty of internet is that you can choose your target audience and reach only the TG, if you want ' a major failing with publications and television.

Adgully took this topic to well known industry experts in a bid to understand how much of an importance Twitter holds and how it adds up to the bigger picture for them. We spoke with Debolin Sen, Brand Publisher, Lonely Planet and BBC Top Gear, Aditya Swamy, Sr VP ' Marketing and Sales, MTV India and Neeraj Sanan, Marketing Head ' MCCS (Star News).

A super list of guests that, isn't it? So what really happens when established members from different verticals of the media industry talk about the same topic? A debate? A brawl? Well, let's see.

We asked about the level of interaction of a brand with users and wanted to understand what exactly do the brands tweet about.

Sen said, "For us Twitter works across 2 levels: one, a mash-up that helps our community stay updated on the latest trends in travel, and two, sharing community posts and work. We mostly tweet about the best posts on the website, featured submissions, interesting magazine updates et al."

Swamy said, "Number of retweets, responses for the basis of our reporting. We are now using tools like HootSuite to get better analytics. We also use Klout to test our brand value on Twitter."

Sanan was on the opposite end of the spectrum. "It is really very difficult to measure anything without a tool. It is for twitter to answer, not for me. Unless there is revenue generation through it, it isn't wise enough to measure. Take the example OOH is one of the oldest medium that we have existing and we don't have any tool to measure its effectiveness and twitter is just the new kid on the block," he added.

Except, what baffles us is that, many established industry experts aren't quite aware of what's happening around their brand in the world of social networking. The brands are there, merely existing on Twitter or Facebook, agreed, but what exactly they are doing there is something that's a mystery to even them! Time to pull up your socks; roll up your sleeves and all the other motivational statements one can think of ' to start taking networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook seriously, for only then would the effectiveness be understood properly. And it doesn't hurt at all ' it's free and gives you a huge database of probable consumers. Beat that!


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