Information technology has been the underlying cause of business transformation for the past couple of decades. In the last couple of years, it has changed the way organizations communicate with their target audience. The cheap availability and wide reach of the Internet has got companies to reconsider their online presence and to use it for relationship building. From emails to social networking sites and the use of multimedia, the Internet has become a strategic tool for brand building. The latest networking tool being used by companies is Twitter.

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free, micro-blogging service. It asks the simple question “What are you doing?” and enables users to send and read short, text-based updates. These updates are known as tweets and they can be no longer than 140 characters.

One can send updates through the site, an SMS from their cell phones or through extremely convenient applications. One can also receive updates through RSS.

How does Twitter Help in Brand Building?

Twitter helps in brand building in the same way as any other social networking site does. It helps companies to connect and communicate with their target audience.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways in which Twitter can be useful for brand building:

Promotions: You can use Twitter to let customers know about new deals, new outlets and new products. You could inform them about discount coupons and special offers. Dell posts an update – “15% off any Outlet Inspiron Mini 10 laptop.” JetBlue tells us about its vacation packages. Whole Foods tweets “Surprise! Our new store in Paramus, NJ opens one day ahead of schedule! Stop in today for wonderful samples and shopping.”

Imaging: You can pitch yourself on Twitter and build a great image. Take Comcast for instance. Its positioning as “someone who cares” with its ComcastCares ID on Twitter has been quite a success. With this, it encourages customers to share their problems, issues and grievances. All issues, small and big, are heard and responded to.

Listening and responding to the target audience: Twitter is a great place to learn what people are saying about you. Apart from addressing customer issues, you could call in suggestions from customers, which could prove to be invaluable. Starbucks uses Twitter to invite ideas from their customers and then incorporates the feasible ones. This not only helps them align their product better with the tastes and preferences of their customers, but makes the customers feel great towards the company.

Getting Excited?
So, now that you’re excited about using twitter to reach out to your target audience and grow your business, I have to tell you this. Using Twitter is an art. For heaven’s sake, don’t use it like a one-way PR channel! This is not merely wasted effort, it is as irritating as the million spam mails that hit your mailbox. Being too formal is taboo here and if you are too informal, you may be perceived as non-serious. You’d like to sound professional, yet not make it too jargon-filled or corporate-like. It’s crucial to strike the right tone on Twitter. Of course, there is no secret formula for success. The strategy for Twitter would depend, among other things, upon your offering, company image and target audience (age, economic status, etc).

Companies are talking to their target audience 24*7. Twitter is an excellent opportunity to listen for a change. Know what customers feel about your product and brand and plan out your response according to their perception of what you have on offer. Use Twitter to build an interactive, responsive relationship with your customers.

For Those Who Have Spare Time

Love, nature, valor, patriotism and devotion

Guess what these really have in common

They no longer inspire poetry

Now that we have Tweety (check out a poem on Twitter)

PS What am I doing? Right now, I’m thanking god for having invented “Poetic License.”


The author, Priya Nigam, is the Chief Content Development strategist in the organization.