We all know Twitter is a global tool and an essential part of any international social media strategy – but how should we use it for maximum effect?
John Yunker is the co-founder of Byte Level Research, a company dedicated to the art and science of web globalization and he recently produced a report Twittering in Tongues, analyzing global Twitter usage and recommending steps for developing international Twitter campaigns.
John will be speaking on this subject at the International Search Summit in Seattle on 6th October and here he answers a few questions about why and how global companies should be integrating Twitter into their marketing strategies.
John, in your opinion, how much potential does Twitter have as a global marketing tool? And how does it compare to other social media tools?
As a marketing tool, I see lots of opportunities (as does Twitter). Dell, for instance, uses Twitter to advertise last-minute deals to people in various markets. Twitter also gives you immediate feedback, something companies are only beginning to comes to terms with. But Twitter also raises the overall noise level, which is something to keep in mind with your Twitter feed. Are you adding value or noise?
What is the most surprising thing you discovered during your global Twitter research?
I was surprised to learn that a number of corporate communications offices weren’t even aware of how many Twitter feeds their offices around the world managed. Twitter feeds are springing up like weeds across all geographies of global companies, and I believe this is a good thing. It’s analogous in many ways to the early days of the Internet -– chaotic, decentralized, and exciting.
Are there any major differences in Twitter trends in different regions around the world?
The similarities are more striking than the differences. People like to connect with one another. People like to know what’s going on around them in real time. That said, some markets appear more “social” than others, though I must stress that governments, telecoms carriers, cost of living should be taken into account. Markets that I find remarkable from a social perspective include Brazil. Indonesia and Turkey.
What are the major mistakes companies are making on Twitter in international campaigns?
First off, any company that approaches Twitter as a US- or English-centric phenomenon is making a mistake. More than half of all Twitter users are based outside of the US. The second mistake companies make is not empowering their in-country Twitter authors to be themselves, to interact with people, to not just “sell” but serve. On Twitter, passion rises to the top. Companies need to realize that Twitter isn’t just another channel for pouring out PR-speak.
If you could give just one tip to marketers embarking on global Twitter campaigns, what would it be?
Know that you can’t do it alone. You need in-country Twitter experts to own the local feeds. And you need people who can write.
One last question, why attend the International Search Summit?
From India to Russia to Brazil, international is where the growth is. But every market is different and not even Google dominates every market. This conference is a great way to get up to speed on the complexities and opportunities of search around the world.
Tickets for the International Search Summit Seattle are now on sale - Book at the early bird price for just $295.