Talking At People – Not With Them

This isn’t really going to come as a shock to anyone but it does make you ask yourself what happens to people when they go to work. there is a new study out this morning from 360i about how companies use Twitter and while their conclusions aren’t really a surprise, they’re a little disturbing.
The study, which you can download here, makes the following points:

Twitter is primarily for people, not corporations.

More than 90% of tweets come from consumers
Only 12% of consumer tweets mention a brand

Twitter remains an important tool for listening to what consumers are saying

And of course, my favorite and today’s subject:

Companies tend to talk at people – not with them.

What happens when the person (and one hopes most companies that are smart enough to use Twitter aren’t using robo-tweet tools) on the other end goes to work?  I mean since only 12% of all marketer tweets demonstrate active dialog with consumers, do you think the company selected the most anti-social person they could find to run social?  I don’t.  I just think that people forget themselves when they act on behalf of a business (incidentally, there’s a lengthy list of things people do that are far worse than Tweet spam in the name of business – things they’d never do to their families or friends).

I’m not sure most companies can clearly spell out their reasons for wanting to be in social media.  I hear of lot of the “everyone is there and we need to be too” thinking.  That’s not good enough and is a recipe to drive consumer anger, not engagement.  When nearly half of all non-business tweets are conversational, marketers need to find a way to participate or shut up.  There’s nothing wrong with just listening.

I’ve found Twitter a great source of information – it’s by far the best real-time data stream.  Marketers need to wade into the stream, find something that resonates, and engage.  As the study shows, there’s still a great opportunity to do so out there.

Any company you think is doing this well?

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1 Comment

Filed under Consulting, digital media

One response to “Talking At People – Not With Them

  1. Mister Reiner

    You should checkout Judy Shapiro’s blog. She has some interesting things to say about social media and marketing.

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