In the context of the Entertainment industry, here’s a great story on how “tweets” are impacting movies.
Oh- if you really want to find out more about about the impact of twitter on Celebrity, The Media, Advertising and Politics, attend, or follow Jeff Puler’s 140 Characters Conference – #140Conf coming up soon in Tel Aviv, LA and London.
Here’s the intro to the story from Forbes….
SAN FRANCISCO — Summer is the critical season for Hollywood blockbusters, and this summer’s numbers have been affected by Twitter. Apparently opening-night movie goers have been weighing in on films via “tweets” and so magnifying the normal cycle of upswings or drop-offs in attendance. Good films are getting quicker notice; bad films are losing attendance faster than ever before. Twitter and other social networks are changing the game for the entertainment industry.
Is Twitter something that could affect your industry too? Can it help build your business–or is it just a glorified blog?
A quick recap: Twitter lets registered users submit tweets (messages) of up to 140 characters to followers (subscribers), and allows them to track and view tweets from others. The past year has seen torrid growth, transforming Twitter from a geeks-only tool into a worldwide phenomena.
Companies are still getting comfortable with Twitter. While many companies now have a Twitter presence, it is rare for them to use it for anything other than public relations, the distribution of marketing messages or occasional customer support. In many ways Twitter is like a blog or forum where information can be posted, yet there is a one-to-one component that blogs lack as well as a common platform.
But what’s really going on? A quick survey of Twitter activity for big brand names shows lots of idle banter and the occasional complaint but not much substance. While there have been tales of people bypassing the regular customer service channels and getting the ear of a retailer or airline through tweets, I suspect that will be short lived.
There is a potential danger in that too many people will employ Twitter as a short-cut for customer service.
Stories of someone getting the flight they were told was sold out or returning a product that was not returnable will only embolden consumers and raise their expectations. The fact is that most companies with hundreds or even thousands of customer-service staff around the globe only have one or two kids from the PR team manning their global Twitter presence. They just aren’t staffed to respond to a heavy load of substantive tweets.
Most companies don’t really want a public airing of every complaint or issue. On the phone, nobody can hear you scream! On Twitter, everyone can. That means that one of the greatest values of Twitter is as a barometer of public sentiment. It may be imprecise–but it is effective.
How can companies learn to use Twitter as something more than a public address system for the newest product launch or news of the latest golf tournament sponsorship?
I have been asking my most savvy friends this very question. I get lots of answers about monitoring public opinion, cute contests and promotions, even taco trucks notifying customers about their exact location. But most of those things can happen on Facebook, in a blog or via e-mail. Yes, Twitter can make them more effective in certain instances, but does it really make something new possible?
It seems to me that the power of Twitter is still in its one-to-many combined with one-to-one. Yes, it is a potential mass-marketing platform, but it also allows for personalization, which can be leveraged to launch brands, enhance customer loyalty, provide information and build trust. Even so, I only know of a few decent examples:
Dell ( DELL – news – people ) has been using Twitter to move incremental equipment and has apparently had good success. This is a clear case of Twitter providing a new channel, but it must be said that Dell could probably have had the same success through traditional opt-in e-mail marketing.
Best Buy ( BBY – news – people ) has built a tool to allow followers on Twitter to look up price, availability and location for any SKU in its product catalogue. Thus Best Buy is essentially pumping its product mix directly into the Twitter channel. This is a clever application, but I do wonder if most people wouldn’t just visit BestBuy’s regular Web site instead.
At DriverSide, we use it to help consumers track the vehicles they drive, learn about potentially dangerous recalls, and inform themselves. We have picked the 50 most popular vehicles from the last 10 years and built unique Twitter feeds for each one of them. (For an example, see the BMW 3 Series feed.) That way, Twitter allows us to segment our audience and provide them with custom information while also demonstrating some of the value people would get if they used our core Web site. We hope this will help attract new users and keep existing ones active and loyal. True, we already offer more detailed alerts via e-mail. That makes Twitter useful but not essential for our services.
It is, of course, early days. Twitter is an undeniable phenomenon and a huge force in social networking and is evolving in hard-to-predict ways. I imagine that people wondered how e-mail or the Internet would possibly be used by companies when they emerged, and this may be no different.
But so far it’s hard to find genuine breakout applications for business built on Twitter.
If you are a Hollywood studio, a major personality or a public relations worker in any big enterprise, you will be using it frequently. But as a truly different tool for building business, I think the jury is still out.