Mama Said There’d Be Tweets Like This

By BKV in Media Strategy on December 20th, 2010

Twitter just released the 10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010, proving just how immersed we've all become in the world of social media. No longer just a marketing tool, a service for "those tweenagers," or a geek-based mode of communication, Twitter has become politically, economically, emotionally, educationally and globally relevant.

I realize that proclaiming the relevance of Twitter is so 2009, but it needs to be reiterated as we close out this epic year. Many companies shrug off the all-important Tweet as mere brand babble or PR-spun chatter driving little to no motivation to a conversion. I recall a pre-BKV work experience in which I had been a part of a groundbreaking, OMMA-Award-winning Twitter campaign for a client, garnering millions of followers for a nearly unheard-of brand. At the end of the initiative, all the client could say was, "Yeah, it's cool, but I bet you it didn't drive a single sale for us." Fortunately (and the thing I personally love most about interactive marketing), we tracked those results to prove otherwise, but this comment is a perfect example of backwards thinking some can have about social media.

Not to toot the agency's horn (well, I will a little), but BKV knows better. We take great pride in introducing the amazing innovations of Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps, and all the smaller spin-offs related to social to our current and prospective clients, and we're not afraid to share. We'll Tweet with you, build and manage your profiles and create engaging campaigns your audience doesn't see as "spin" - because it's not. We understand the goal of social media is primarily to drive engagement, which then leads to sales. It's about driving buzz so you gain customer retention, brand loyalty, and long-term benefits.

Take a moment to process some of the most powerful Tweets of the year. From a parodied BP account (@BPGlobalPR): "Catastrophe is a strong word, let's all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy." Here we have an example of the drastic effects Twitter can have on a brand. While the BP oil spill was being quickly spun on the company's side to repair BP's public image, this fake Twitter account gained over 182,000 followers. The Gulf oil spill was also the top trending topic on Twitter in 2010. Twitter has quickly become a phenomenon of global proportions and, interestingly, has helped disprove the old adage that any publicity is good publicity.

You don't want your brand to be a BP. Obviously, there is crisis management any company needs to plan for, but even in the event of a catastrophe, you have to be prepared to respond and adjust. Twitter encourages forward-thinking companies like Comcast (@comcastcares) to correct a tarnished brand image.

Comcast made a complete 180 through its reputation management program over the last few years, developing a portal for customers to ask questions, get technical help, and feel listened to. Customers complaining about the brand are found by Comcast reps who assist them directly through Twitter. This is the kind of innovative thinking that has allowed Comcast to be seen as a quality brand rather than the unhelpful, anti-customer service corporation they were viewed as in 2006.

Startups are seeing huge successes on Twitter as well. ScoutMob (@scoutmob) is an Atlanta-based discount program offering free "percent-off" coupons to local restaurants. While their email program has grown dramatically, the company, which only launched at the beginning of 2010, already also has over 8,500 followers and some of the most engaged fans in the city. They never spent a dime on traditional marketing. Twitter is "free" promotion for those who can do it right!

Even the White House and the British royal family have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Noting how easy and important it is to reach vast numbers of people via Twitter, both are noted in the Top 10 Tweets of 2010 (the White House for welcoming the Russian President to Twitter and the royal family for announcing Prince William's engagement).

As we all know, Obama's election was also largely driven by his social media presence throughout his campaign, indicating that even something as seemingly stodgy as politics understands the massive importance of viral marketing and social media.

Twitter has saved lives, broken brands, turned reputations around, and launched global initiatives. When Google briefly crashed during Michael Jackon's death announcements in 2009, Twitter was there to document it all, moment by moment.

Many clients have said to us, "I get that I need to be involved in social media from a brand perspective, but I just don't get it personally. Who cares what I'm doing?" However, if you care about your brand, you need to be engaged in social media on a personal level. No, you don't have to Tweet about your last sandwich or how great the nail salon is, but only when you are immersed in the Twitter culture will you begin to understand its vast, permeating, and global relevance.

Log in, Tweet up, and dive into the world of Twitter. Your company will thank you later.