Are You Tweeting Enough to Engage Customers?

Taking Advantage of Real-Time News

On the ESPN radio show “Mike and Mike” this morning, they played a tape from just before the start of this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. It was a prediction from Liam’s mom—the English mother of the show’s producer—who supposedly knows very little about basketball. The tape played her forecast on the show that UConn would beat Butler 53-39 in the final. Last night’s final was UConn 53, Butler 41. They calculated the odds of this prediction at somewhere around 1 in 10 million.

What to do next? Give her a Twitter account, of course (#Liamsmum). As of 9:21 this morning Eastern time, she had 1,570 followers. Can an appearance on Letterman be far behind?

How does this relate to small businesses? According to, “24% of the accounts linked in Postling” –which helps small businesses manage their social media—“are Twitter, and yet they account for 50% of the comments received across all platforms.” They conclude that Twitter is where the “community of customers [for small businesses] are the most engaged.” And while they say that Facebook may get more clicks per link, Twitter is not that far behind.

At the SIPA 2011 Conference in June, you will hear information about all types of social media and its uses and applications in your world. “Getting Social: How Your Content Should Be Leveraged on Social Media” will outline the role of your editors on the various platforms, and what types of content you should be posting on social media. Don Johnston of AHC Media and Sean Brooks of TechTarget will present.

As for the keynotes, Perry Hewitt, director, Digital Communications and Communications Services at Harvard University, will present a case study of how Harvard has not only embraced the digital age but raced to the forefront. And David Meerman Scott, in the SIPF Luncheon keynote, will focus on “Real-Time Marketing” and how to take advantage of real-time instances like “Liam’s mom.” (In fact, judging by their actions, you wonder if ESPN hasn’t already read Scott’s latest book.

Soshable’s numbers also tell us that small businesses that post 8+ times a week receive over 10 comments a day, while those businesses that post just 1-7 times a week get less than 1 comment a day. So there should be no dabbling in the social media world; you’re either in or you probably need to be.

(It’s 10:02 and #Liamsmum is up to 2,416 followers.)
According to a new Yahoo Research study titled, “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter,” of 260 million tweets analyzed—there are about a billion every week—nearly 50% were created by what they called ‘elite’ users who fall into four categories: media, celebrities, organizations and bloggers. “Ordinary” users encompass everyone else. As has been noted by others before, Yahoo researchers conclude that Twitter looks more like an information-sharing hub than a social network—with the top generators tallying huge follower but not following their content consumers in return.

A good analysis of this study appears on the Nieman Journalism Lab site. “The classic assumption about distribution—the one, the study notes, ‘supposed by early theories of mass communication’—holds that information flows from news organizations directly to consumers…The Twitter study, though, suggests the emerging dominance of what it calls ‘two-step communication’: essentially, news consumption that’s driven by social networks. In this type of communication, there’s an A-to-B-to-C flow of info, with intermediaries filtering information before it reaches (and, actually, in order to reach) the consumer…As Business Insider sums it up: ‘Twitter is the Evening News broadcast: full of stories reported elsewhere, brought to your attention by a personality you trust.’”

SIPA 2011 will also feature the availability of meeting rooms for attendees, speakers and vendors. One envisions groups of people getting together to discuss their approaches to many issues, including the social media world. While online discussions are always useful, there is still nothing like face-to-face meetings for problem-solving and idea exchanges. If you would like to initiate one of these discussions, go to the Extra Opportunities page on the SIPA 2011 website. It will be interesting to see the added discussions that arise.

If anyone can be as accurate a forecaster as Liam’s mom, that’s the meeting I want to attend.

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