Brands will struggle for standout as Twitter grows

Twitter by Jeff Turner

Recent news that Twitter has reached 20 billion tweets is a major milestone. However, for brands looking to harness this channel for business, the opportunity for standout will only get harder as the service grows.

Early adopting brands including Dell have already demonstrated the value of this channel with reports of $1m revenue in 2008 when Twitter was handling 5 million tweets per day. Dell succeeded in part due to strong brand recognition but also because they were there when the competition was not. 

This experience, combined with a positive return has empowered Dell to grow its presence on Twitter with a full team covering different aspects of the business. This is a smart move to not only boost their team but to ensure they remain visible to the right people. By splitting responsibilities they can cover a wider audience maintaining visibility and relevance, rather than one stream to cover everything. 

My personal experience is also a testament to the growing nature of Twitter. When I first came on, I had regular conversations with @espares and @dogstrust one brand I was not familiar with, the other I had recognition from TV advertising but no relationship. As the years have progressed these brands are not so visible in my stream, only because the number of tweets I now see has increased. However, these early days cemented a brand relationship which I still have. If there are opportunities for me to continue supporting DogsTrust I will. espares is also my first point of call for any household spares. 

For brands still sitting on the sidelines this opportunity for easy standout has passed. The signal to noise ratio has increased dramatically for the average twitter user [and the twitter ecosystem as a whole] which means brands will have to work that bit harder to gain a following and build relationships.

Smart brands like @btcare and @easyjetcare have been proactive, looking for mentions of their brand and interjecting with polite offers of help. A simple keyword monitor for these brands will help the initial identification of customers but again as the number of tweets increases, the ability for these brands to identify and promptly react to mentions will become harder. 

In this harsh economic climate it is sometimes hard for brands to invest in new opportunities. However, the rapid growth of Twitter from emerging to mainstream will have left many brands with a mountain to climb if they are to harness this channel for business. 

There are no shortage of 'social media experts' offering to help brands harness this wave but the first point of call for any brand should be to register and pay attention. This does not have to be a corporate registration, just a personal or john doe account from which to understand twitter from the inside. 

It took four years for Twitter to reach ten billion tweets, but five months to double that figure. The longer brands sit on the sidelines the harder for late adopters. 

Photo (cc) Jeff Turner.