I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter recently, both my personal use of it and for the brand I work on @sbarro. For the last year I’ve been on a Twitter deep-dive and I’d say I’m an intermediate with ~900 followers.
I wanted to write this blog to help other executives realize the opportunities that I have found in Twitter, for themselves and for their brands. If you know anyone who can benefit from Twitter please feel free to forward.
My Top Ten Twitter Realized Benefits:
1) It curates specially selected news just for my interests. I follow @CNN and @WSJ but I also follow @PerezHilton. If you only want to look at the WSJ and CNN every day – then you can, right in your twitter news feed. I think this is the first benefit of twitter but the one most execs don’t know about.
2) I get the news first. Twitter allows you to get the new first directly from eye-witnesses or ear-witnesses. The manhunt for the Boston bombers was a huge Twitter event. I was watching the television for CNN’s coverage but the real news was coming in a lot quicker on my Twitter feed on my phone. People were either tweeting from the ground or tweeting live police radio coverage. Whatever you want to know about, odds are that someone will share it on Twitter before the big media companies can share it.
3) I meet like-minded people. I have just started to realize the value of this. I met @TedRubin on Twitter @ValaAfshar and @DJMediaBuy. Through Ted I met @DrewNeisser @CMOClub @Tamican @jmkstock and many others. I got invited to a dinner on Social ROI and got some amazing tips from these gurus. Go follow them all, they are great. #FF (means Follow Friday – used to tell you who the writer thinks are great people to follow).
4) Others share my message. The great thing about being among friends as I see them, they are my like-minded Twitter friends, is that friends talk to other friends and share messages they think are relevant. So I get to find new people, my friends’ friends, and they introduce new people to me simply by sharing content and through # like #FF. Your friend list keeps getting bigger. Knowing the above people helped @sbarro get to 1MM impressions for a piece of social we engaged in with one of our superfans @T_Naz. Follow him too because he’s awesome. After we engaged with him on Twitter we renamed our breadsticks after him and he wrote @Thrillist an email to tell them about the experience. After all the retweets we got plus some big retweets from my new friends above we ended up with over 1MM impressions. #Awesome. Read more about our @T_Naz sticks at http://www.thrillist.com/search?q=t_naz
5) I can share other people’s messages. I often find tweets for other people and share them, even to the people not on Twitter. There is an easy email share button that I would say I use 10 times a week to forward people relevant content I find for them.
6) To get an “in” with some people. @DJMediaBuy and @Aewheeler I met through Twitter while I was actually at the #aadigital conference. Through this # about 30 of the audience were live-tweeting (using the # to see others tweets about this event even if you were not originally following them). Alex Wheeler, VP digital at Starbucks gave an amazing presentation and I wanted to hear more. She responded to a positive tweet of mine about her speech and I asked to connect with her via DM (Direct Message). DM is private communication between 2 people used like a very short email when the content is private. Through this I set up a 30 minute best practice conversation with her and my team which was invaluable.
7) Randomly good people find me. I was contacted through my twitter account by a copywriter of a top creative firm who told me he had a dream about Sbarro and although the agency he worked for couldn’t work with our business due to a conflict of interest, he was so passionate about our brand he just wanted to offer help. I’ve spoken to and emailed this guy a few times now and he makes my day every time. He is so refreshing and helps me think creatively. He looked me up on Linked In but engaged with me at first on Twitter – now on email. Another Twitter match-making moment.
8) It allows me to be a thought-leader and partner with my Digital Director @Ralphpici. I read an article (see link below) about a speech Ted gave via Twitter (funnily enough), it was shared by @Tamicann (funnily enough). Ted’s advice (and he should be giving advice with 150k followers) was not to give up your input into social strategy because you don’t understand it. Being so involved in Twitter allows you to input into business strategy and add real value. One of my lines is that Twitter is the way forward. Ignore it and risk being an anachronism within marketing.
9) It allows me to personally engage with our consumers. I have editing rights to our Twitter account and have also recently set up an additional account for @SbarroCMO. Both of these accounts are in addition to my personal Twitter handle @SarahMcAloon. Through our brand account and through the new CMO account I can get a direct view about what our consumers are doing and saying. They tell me what we can improve on and what they love about Sbarro. Simply liking their check ins on Foursquare can make our consumer feel like we care about them. People tell us we made their day after mentioning them in a tweet. And then there is T_Naz. See point 4.
10) It’s just awesome. Come on!
I’ve heard a lot of concerns about Twitter, like, it will take too much time, I don’t want any more emails (which actually doesn’t make any sense), it doesn’t feel like me (doesn’t make any sense either). I realize that some people will never join the revolution. I am afraid for those people. I want everyone to jump in. The water is the perfect temperature.
If you do decide to either join Twitter or become more engaged with Twitter then let me be one of your first new friends @SarahMcAloon. Just one tip. Don’t write “testing 1, 2, 3” as your first tweet like I did – lame, very lame.