Customer engagement: Twitter shows the way
Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month. Zimbio and Facebook followed, growing 240 percent and 228 percent, respectively.
The emergence of India in Twitter land!
Twitter continues to be dominated by users from United States, its slowly gaining prominence in other countries as well. Almost half of Twitter users come from United States followed by Germany. India, till a few months back was fighting to be among the top ten Twitter users in the world; now is the land of third highest Twitter users in the world.
It is great to see Twitter expand at this rate in a country which has only 7.1% of its population using internet. The internet usage in India has grown at 1,520% from the year 2000 to 2008 and today it has the fourth highest number of internet users.
Twitter has already become the third most popular social networking site in India. The first and second being Orkut and Facebook respectively. According to the top sites by Alexa in India, Twitter is already the 13th most popular site in the country. The social networking scene in India has increased by leaps and bounds and the followership can be a telling factor in a lot of marketing and branding initiatives. No wonder then, that brands in India are increasingly using Blogs, Micro Blogs and other avenues to reach out and engage their consumers and one can see trend taking over in India.
1 in 5 tweets contain an expression of brand sentiment
A fresh new study done at Penn State by Jim Jansen, Mimi Zhang, Kate Sobel and Twitter chief scientist Abdur Chowdhury talks about how consumers use Twitter to talk about brands. This is being published in an upcoming issue of “The Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology,” shedding some light on how many people are Tweeting about brands and what they’re saying.
The study analyzed half a million Tweets analyzed in a 13-week period. 19% tweets talked about a brand of some manner.Although the positive tweets represented the largest quantity, there were a substantial percentage of negative tweets. Prior research in the impression formulation literature has shown that negative comments have a greater impact than positive ones.” This re-enforces the popular anecdote that an angry customer has a greater affect on a company than a positive one.
The Impact on Brands and Marketing
There is a trend when it comes to micro-communication and what it is used for. Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship. Personal use is all over the board.
In effect the consumer say about the brand has now magnified and brands are finding newer methods to connect and engage with their users. A brief sample of efforts made by mobile companies in India and globally:
http://www.samsungblog.co.za , http://www.lgblog.co.uk, http://www.viewty-blogspot.com and http://www.conversations.nokia.com discusses Samsung/Nokia/LG technologies and products and is a means to disseminate information and educate the consumers on Samsung/Nokia and its products/services.
A few days back, Samsung_mobile was launched in Twitter to tweet about its new releases in India
Even the home grown Micromax has Micromax-mobile.blogpot.com as a means to talk about their products.
Facebook profiles of company initiatives are not unusual anymore. Fan Following helps!
Tweets have an impressive ability to reach consumers and are about as close as one can get to the customer point of purchase for products and services. From a consumer perspective, it gives them the power to tap into the experience and collective of other users and peers. From a brand perspective, it gives access to “active” consumers and “interested” targets. It is also an active means to seek feedback and study competition ills and plusses. On a higher level, crowd sourcing can be a very dynamic design approach to new products, technologies, delivery mechanisms and services. Check Wikipedia for an example! Never before have consumers had access to so many opinions at all stages of the buying and decision making process than today and the actions that companies take both in the marketplace and on social networks will prove to be an incredibly important factor in purchases for the foreseeable future.