As I’m writing my first post on PandemicBlog, Steve Jobs is speaking to the crowd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and is announcing the next generation of Apple’s mobile operating system and its mobile phone device. The secrecy and buzz that is built around these keynote speeches have always given a boost in the traditional media to the announcements that Jobs makes that day and therefore boost sales the day that products finally reach the shelves. The online real-time following of the event takes place through blogs, Twitter and Twitter tools like Summize, generating an enormous amount of Apple-related content and opinions before, during and after the event. During a Steve Jobs’ keynote, Twitter traffic is 10 times greater than usual. Within an hour of the end of the keynote, the majority of the Twitter community is aware that on July 11th the new iPhone will be available at stores with a price of $199. This is how Apple will benefit from the Twitter/keynote combined madness and is also an example of the potential of Twitter for viral marketing efforts.
140 Characters to promote your brand
Several brands are using Twitter as part of their online marketing strategy. Moreover, they are engaging users by being in a position where they can penetrate their “circle of trust”, which in Twitter is the circle of the people they follow. Here is a list of companies (and their number of followers) that are using Twitter to inform “fans” of upcoming products, events, promotions, announcements, etc. In the case of Amazon, their Twitter profile works as a Book Finder; if you send them a message with a book title or ISBN, they answer back with the book’s price.
- Carnival Cruise Lines (249 followers)
- Apple Inc (2,467 followers)
- Intel Software Network (160 followers)
- PodTech Network (1,163 followers)
- Barack Obama (37,544 followers)
- Zappos (6,352 followers, Zappo’s CEO is twitting)
- H&R Block (482 followers)
- Amazon’s Book Finder (328 followers)
The mechanics of influence
The Twitter community is made up of highly engaged, pro-technology early adopters that look to enrich their Twitter activity by following important, interesting and influential members, as well as friends, relatives and colleagues. Being an “influencer” community, it is likely to shape the direction, preferences and opinions of others. The more followers a Twitter members has, the more influential he or she is and the more impact his thoughts, recommendations, complaints, reviews and comments will have. Like any other online tool that has reached a critical mass, there has to be an overall strategy in place in order to include it in a social media marketing campaign.
The Twitter pulse
The instant and constant nature of Twitter posts, and their ability to be generated from everywhere (thanks to Twitter integration with mobile phone devices via texting) opens the door for a parallel universe of user-generated content. Tools like Summize or Twist let the user search for a specific word in the “public timeline” and Twist also allows the search for trends of a specific search term against another. Twitter can be an excellent tool to see what is being said in real-time about your brand and manage your online reputation. Moreover, it let’s you socialize the way you manage your digital footprint. It is important to know that the Twitter pulse is representative of a certain segment of consumers and that this segment is highly influential and highly opinionated.
Bernardo Sosa is a new member of the Pandemic Labs team and he will be blogging here regularly.