Gartner: Four Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business
By Tom Ryan
Although Twitter was originally intended
for communication among individuals, a number of companies have begun to
actively participate on the platform. However, Gartner notes that not all
companies are using Twitter in the same way. Some are tweeting, some are
just listening, and some are doing both.
the fact that Twitter is primarily aimed at individual users in the consumer
market, many of those individuals work for companies and ‘tweet’ about
business issues, leading businesses to explore how they could best use
it," said Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.
"As Twitter is a public forum, employees
should understand the limits of what is acceptable and desirable," added
Mr. Mann. "It is good practice to remind employees that the policies
already in place apply to this new communication forum, as well. If organizations
have not defined a public web participation policy, they should do so as
quickly as possible."
Gartner identified four ways companies are
using Twitter so far:
companies are using Twitter as a marketing or public relations channel,
touting corporate accomplishments and providing links back to corporate
web pages, press releases, and other promotional sites. Gartner maintains
that this approach "should be used with caution because uninteresting
or self-serving Tweets could hinder the brand image as much as it could
help. Responding to comments can be particularly risky, as the anonymous
nature of Twitter can easily descend into a negative spiral."
second approach involves letting employees tweet. Gartner said, "Good Twitterers enhance their personal reputation by saying clever,
interesting things, attracting many followers who go on to read their blogs…Twitter provides a way of raising the profile of
both individuals and the organizations they work for, which elevates these
companies that want to be seen to employ influential leaders."
Internal: Some companies use Twitter internally to share ideas
or communicate about projects they’re working on. Gartner does not recommend
using Twitter or any other consumer microblogging service
in this way, because so far there is no guarantee of security.
Inbound Signaling: Some companies are Twitter "listeners."
Using search tools like search.twitter.com or desktop applications like TweetDeck, they keep track of what’s being said about the
company, its product names, or even the industry as a whole. Said Gartner,
"Savvy companies use these signals to get early warnings of problems
and collect feedback about product issues and new product ideas."
Discussion Questions: How do you think companies
should be exploring using Twitter? What shouldn’t they be doing with
Twitter? How does the opportunity differ for retailers versus vendors?
- Four Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business – Gartner
- Four Ways in Which Enterprises are Using Twitter
– Gartner (report/subscription required)