TIC's Picks: Making Twitter Useful For Business

from the can-it-be-done? dept

As the Techdirt Insight Community (TIC) continues to pick up steam, we’re going to be sharing with you an abridged snapshot of some of the insight coming out of the community, with permission from the companies who have raised those issues. The full report was nearly 20 pages of detailed analysis and suggestions — but we wanted to highlight a few key points here that the experts in the community brought to light. These “TIC’s Picks” should help give you an idea of how our expert community is advising all different types of companies and organizations on the challenges they face. To kick it off, we have a series of TIC’s Picks on the business case for Twitter.

TIC’s Picks: Making Twitter Useful For Business
Or, Can Twitter Evolve Beyond “I’m eating a burrito now.”

Challenge: Techdirt Insight Community (TIC) recently helped a consumer packaged goods company explore useful business applications for Twitter. The company saw potential in Twitter and didn’t want to be left behind, but wasn’t sure how it could actually make Twitter useful.

Summary Findings Highlights: TIC found consensus around three key ways that such a company could use Twitter for business: consumer promotions, market research and informal business communications.

  • Promotions/Marketing: An obvious temptation for consumer brands, yet TIC experts warn the company that surreptitious marketing or overly aggressive marketing will backfire badly. Well-defined and executed Twitter-based coupon campaigns could be an effective early test. The community outlined examples of types of campaigns that could make sense.

    TIC’s Pick: Tread very, very lightly.

  • Market Research & Analysis: A second axis of TIC attention was the opportunity to poll the Twitter community to see how people were responding to the company’s product in the marketplace. The TIC consensus is that it is quite early in Twitter’s development and adoption to pursue this and the tools aren’t yet robust enough.

    TIC’s Pick: Expense probably outweighs the value, though it is a potential use worth revisiting in the future.

  • Communications: Some of the most interesting and creative TIC insights were about how a company could make use of Twitter as a quick and easy communications tool between suppliers, partners and retailers. While it clearly will not (and should not) replace a comprehensive supply chain system, it could be useful for quick status communications that don’t make sense in traditional system. There are also opportunities to use Twitter to build better internal communications internally among employees to foster a better working environment. The community outlined some specific suggestions on how to experiment with this type of usage.

    TIC’s Pick: Worth exploring.

Learn More: To have the Techdirt Insight Community help solve your biggest challenges, click here.

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Comments on “TIC's Picks: Making Twitter Useful For Business”

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Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Excerpt? WTF is that Mr. anticopyright IP Freedom. Why not put everything out there? You are fine with telling everyone else to let it go free yet you do this? Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

Not to me. But then again, I actually get what Mike and company are talking about when it comes to IP.

What we’re seeing here is an excerpt from a report that was compiled for a private corporation. Since it wasn’t intended for us, they’re doing us a favor by letting us see it.

The other side of things is when a company creates a product for public consumption and then tries to tell us how we can and can’t use that product. That’s just stupid, and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this TIC-related post.

a says:

Yes it does Chucky boy. Just because the audience is one company doesn’t make a difference. IP is IP. When a singer creates a song and sells it to the GP, he has a right for those customers not to distribute it. Something that this place doesn’t think applies (unless they of course are involved.) What is the difference? The private corporation owns the content, so shouldn’t it be free, just like Mike likes to say about everything else?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

When a singer creates a song and sells it to the GP, he has a right for those customers not to distribute it. Something that this place doesn’t think applies (unless they of course are involved.) What is the difference? The private corporation owns the content, so shouldn’t it be free, just like Mike likes to say about everything else?

Well, you seem to have a near total misunderstanding of what we talk about here, but let me explain. We never said that copyright doesn’t apply — just that it need not be used. If you’ve ever found us saying that it’s okay to ignore someone’s copyright, please point it out. It’s simply not true. What we’ve said is that those who own the copyright are often better off ignoring it.

Next, we also point out that you absolutely can charge for scarcity — and that includes content not yet produced. So that’s what we do. We are charging for the *creation* of content. We do not then go and resell it with limitations.

Just to be clear, we do not own the content produced by the community. We are merely connecting the two parties for the creation of new content. The original experts who create the content continue to own the rights to what they write and the company that contracted for the content is free to do what they want with it. The individuals who produced their own results are free to republish their content however they want and the company that contracted for the content is also free to do what it wants with the content it received.

We have no locked up IP. We are not charging for IP. We are charging for the *creation* of content, not the content itself — and that is reflected in our policies and terms.

So, yes, we still follow the same policies that I laid out here. There is nothing hypocritical in what we’ve done. You seem to be under the false impression that I have said something I have not.

Alexander Fairley says:

So, the real analysis is...

Hey suits,

I know that Twitter is a buzz word, and therefore it’s on your radar. It sounds to me like TIC is quite sensibly saying that the two things you would most like to use it for, branding and market research won’t work due to the nature of the medium. I’d agree 100% with that. However, the third assessment, that Twitter can be used to improve communications between suppliers and purchasers, or the even more nebulous ‘workplace environment’ strikes me as fairly spurious. If people aren’t communicating on the telephone, email, blogs or whatever, I find it hard to believe that a web published version of the instant messenger status line is going to open up the floodgates of information exchange. If you’re a supplier and you want to easily publish information about your status on the web (Pork Bellies currently refrigerating, call back later?) you should just get a Blogger page. I also find the notion that workplace status messages will improve internal communications highly dubious(Currently procrastinating on Pork Belly TPS Report?) . If you want your employees to be comfortable and talk to each other, buy them some wine on Wednesdays or something…

Jamie Birch (user link) says:

I think one thing that you may be missing is the ability to communicate and receive communications in several different formats. You can choose to receive via cell phone, web page or instant messenger. You can choose to send via those three as well. So, unlike a blog where you login, write your post, publish it and make sure that whole process worked without any issues, Twitter allows for the sharing of information and receiving of information in the users preferred medium, on the fly. That’s the value beyond the burrito. A sort of communication personalization.

It has its limitations, no doubt, but I believe that many organizations can find some benefit. I’ve personally found it very useful while traveling to keep in touch with other team members around the country to share things we won’t put on a blog, don’t need to initiate a phone call for or spend time emailing about.

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