Since around the time of SxSW and perhaps earlier, the buzz on Twitter has gone through the roof. Collecting groups of text messages and emails from people cataloguing "what they are doing now" might seem like a colossal waste of time, but it has found a devoted following from bloggers and those actively engaged in social media because of the immediacy and real time appeal of sharing your thoughts. This is different than blogging, this is like carrying a text based recorder on your shoulder to broadcast your location and current thoughts to the world. It’s not hard to see why this would appeal to bloggers who are already sharing their personal views of the world online. Twitter adds a frame of reference and has the same live appeal of instant messenger.
Still, a quick visit to the homepage of Twitter may leave the uninitiated unimpressed. It’s mostly a collection of people you don’t know talking about doing stuff you don’t care about. Even if you read these updates from people you do know, it’s tough to get excited about. The tool, though, offers a great platform for sharing experiences real time and has plenty of potential for marketing. Here are just a few non-boring ways to use Twitter for marketing:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Tapping Twitter for marketing is still a relatively unique ocurrence — but from what I can see, there are plenty of opportunities. If the popularity of the site continues to grow it’s likely these opportunities will continue to get more appealing, and the list of ideas for using Twitter in marketing will grow as well.