The report says that micro- blogging (i.e. Twitter) is now the most widely adopted social media tactic, used by 78% of company respondents. This I find surprising. There’s waaaay more though.
Re ways companies use Twitter, it says:
62% use it for publicizing new content
54% – use it as a marketing channel
47% – use it for brand monitoring
27% – use it as a way of reacting to customer service issues and inquiries
25% – use it for gathering customer feedback
23% – use it to gain market intelligence
14% – use it as a sales channel
11% – use it as a human resources tool
4% – use it for “Other” purposes
21% – use it but for “None of the above” reasons
What the data say is that, contrary to the wishes and advice of most social media experts, companies are using this tool as a broadcast/push channel – a decision that seems to follow what I would expect. Clearly Twitter is a great way to tell the world about a firm’s latest blog post, product launch, PR stunt etc. What would be most interesting – and I realize that this would be very hard to compile – would be further analysis on how these broadcast and push usages work. Having this data would speak to the heart of the debate about this shiny new object.
Aside from this some of the data has more interesting implications and begs equally important questions.
First, almost half of the over 1000 firms surveyed use Twitter for “brand monitoring” which is congruent with the dictums of the social media elite. There is obviously some real value in this – in fact in my view it may be the single most useful application of Twitter, along with customer feedback and service (see Comcast on these applications). Even VERY small businesses can use Twitter effectively for monitoring. Services like Tweetbeep – essentially a google alert-type application for Twitter – allow time crunched entrepreneurs to monitor conversations easily. Powerful if you believe that benefits accrue to smaller players who can be more nimble and quick in responding to monitored conversations than larger, richer competitors. In this regard Twitter is an equalizer.
What is also interesting about the data is that 21% of the companies surveyed use Twitter for “none of the above” applications. What, I wonder, is going on here? Clearly Twitter – more generally real time micro blogging – is an evolving entity and the ways people use it as a business tool are ever changing. It would be nice to get a cursory list of the “none of the above” uses.
Are there things in this data that you find noteworthy or surprising?