project smile feature: Motive Quest CMO Tom O'Brien
truly human branding

twitter for business - I Know A Guy Marketing

Helping hands Social Equity is powerful. 

Pass-Along Social Equity is the holy grail.

Defining the Landscape

Marketer Social Equity - the transferal of an object or status that gives the user social value

Example - early iPhone adopters used their iPhones in social settings as personal statements (blogs, social media, real life public usage, name dropping etc.)

Marketer Pass-Along Social Equity - the transferal of the ability to give away social equity.

Example - allowing early Joost adopters to not only feature their status as an early beta participant on their blogs, but allowing them to invite a few friends as well.

What does this have to do with Twitter?

Twitter allows deep brand relationships.  Twitter allows me to access brands on my own terms when and where I need them. 

But the true value of Twitter (at present) to marketers is about more than the conversation itself. 

The true value of Twitter to a marketer is in the enabling of Twitter users to "know a guy". 

When I had an issue with AT&T, their customer support representative stalled and apologized, but said it was "out of her hands".  But I knew guy.  After contacting their PR firm via Twitter, my issue was promptly resolved.  I now knew a guy.

"Knowing a guy" is something personal.  He or she is someone in my network.  He/she is someone that I feel I know.  He/she empowers my bravado, my ego.

When my father-in-law asked me for help with his Verizon DSL connection (following a deplorable customer support experience), I "knew" a guy.  I was his problem solver.  I was connected.  Verizon gave me sociable social equity, and THAT is powerful.

Breaking Down the Social Brand Value

  1. When a company writes a blog, they open a door.  But that doesn't mean that I know that it's there, or that I consider us to be "connected".
  2. When a company comments on my blog, I know that they care. But unless we speak regularly, I don't know that I would view them as a go to resource.
  3. Twitter allows us to speak regularly, to be friends, to "know" each other.  Twitter empowers me to "know a guy". 

This is not to say that Twitter is the future of customer service.  But it begs the question - why isn't customer service generally available via AIM? or SMS? What is it about Twitter that makes it work?

I believe that Twitter works because it is a truly flexible connected community

Because Twitter is more than chat, different than email and certainly not a forum. 

Because Twitter is Twitter.

photo credit here

For more on business uses of twitter check out The NY Times' recent writeup, Chris Brogan's wonerful roundup of brand uses of twitter, J Owyang's tips for twitter here and here, Barry Hurds roundup of business for twitter posts or CIO's 4 Business Uses for Twitter.  On don't forget Business Week's recent writeup either.