We were in the middle of our weekly meeting, conducting the customary brainstorming exercises and, as usual, discussing ideas and topics; how good they are and which directions we can take them and so on. Beirut and Fadi seemed to have 2 completely different opinions regarding Twitter and its usefulness for businesses vs. its disadvantages. We decided to write this “duet” article and in turn listen to our readers opinions.
Fadi’s Opinion – Pro Twitter for Enterprise
While Twitter, like any other available tool at work – be it telephone, email, or even internet access – can be abused if not used the right way, it can also provide many benefits and open new opportunities to any businesses. Don’t blame the tool, blame people who abuse it.
There are many ways where Twitter can benefit your business. The following are my favorite top 5:
- Motivation: The more motivated your employees are, the more productive they can be. People have several motivating factors. I, myself, totally support the opinion that says socializing is the primary motivating factor. Wrap the social aspect of Twitter in your business constraints and you will have a winning formula for motivated employees.
- Marketing: Twitter is a great tool to interact with your customers and market your services and products. Dell earned $3 Million from Twitter when they started posting exclusive coupons and offers about new products on their Twitter account (@DellOutlet). Coffe Groundz, a Houston independent coffee shop, gained much success by giving their customers the option to order via Twitter (@coffeegroundz)! That was a precedence – a very successful one.
- Listening: One of the most important characteristic of a successful business is to be able to figure out what its customers need and improve its offering of products/services accordingly. Twitter provides a great way for a business to listen to related people’s conversations. Tasti D-Lite, a popular New York dessert franchise, was there to listen to people working at the Empire State Building who twittered about their craving for ice cream delivery (@tastidlite) – it opened a new business opportunity to them.
- Training: Twitter is a sharing platform in nature. People are dismissing emails and using Twitter to share faster the information they find over the web. It may not be a bad idea to identify key people in your enterprise who have unique expertise/knowledge and are willing to share it fast and efficiently over Twitter.
- Better Customer Service: “Great customer service can be the ultimate marketing tool” while using Twitter to service your customer may increase your business reputation, it can also save your customer service department a lot of the trouble of addressing the same inquiries over and over again. The conversations are public and can help many other customers seeking the same information.
Twitter combines public messages that are quick to write, easy to read, controlled by the recipient and exchangeable anywhere. It provides a powerful, real-time 2-ways communication that is ground-breaking for users and businesses alike.
Enterprise is the future of Twitter, take advantage of it before your competitors jump on and leave you behind. I would recommend to check out Yammer - a specialized version of Twitter for businesses -, too.
Beirut’s Opinion – Anti Twitter for Enterprise
Twitter: “the final frontier”, or maybe not yet it is a fact that Twitter still remains to be one of the best social media tools available for interaction and communication across borders and between different people dispersed all over the world.
So, why would I, the Twitter addict, advice against Twitter being used in the enterprise? It’s very simple actually: the threats and harms Twitter can potentially cause as opposed to the advantages reaped by using it.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month“. But let’s face it, if an enterprise falls into trouble due to its Twitter use, could it really go kick Twitter in the pants? I guess not. So why trouble trouble from the beginning?
I can think of a long list of why I would advice an enterprise against using Twitter. But here are the top 5 highly interrelated reasons I can think of:
- Intellectual Property Loss: I won’t go too far, I’ll just validate this point by mentioning the most recent hacker attack that Twitter suffered from a few days ago. Who knows how much data could have been really jeopardized during such an attack: how many passwords stolen, e-mails unlawfully taken and so on? Besides, creative marketing, promotional and advertising ideas and efforts are really precious and tweeting them on Twitter makes them a target for theft and plagiarism!
- Lack of Control: Think about this for a second: Do you remember reading about the many times employees got fired due to their misuse of social media? Please don’t underestimate the severity of the situation! Employers can not possibly have full control over what their employees say on Twitter about their enterprises. This could lead to big trouble for the enterprise and the employees as well!
- Liability: We all know that a company and/or organization is responsible for every word being said or “tweeted” about it from any of its employees. The more enterprises allow using Twitter so openly and in the name of the enterprise, the higher the liability placed on the companies shoulders. Employers should be very well aware of that!
- Spam Limitations: This could be tricky: Let’s say you own a business in manufacturing and promoting kid products. You add followers haphazardly to increase your exposure. While visiting your profile, we find “Sexyhotchick’s” or “adultfinder’s” tweet on your home page. Not very professional, is it now?
- Lack of Trust: Customers know that it is easier to fake, make up or manipulate information through social media venues such as Twitter. I would personally trust an ad on TV way more than one on Twitter. Why? Because I know for a fact that this company has invested money, time and resources to have this ad on TV and it will not risk its reputation by deceiving on such a viral medium!
Long ago, before Twitter ever existed and social media online was a far away concept, people used e-mails, meetings as well as different types of marketing tools to get messages across. Twitter is an accessory not a need, further, a Twitterless world is possible! As long as we all keep a straight open mind in relation to that, we can probably have the best of both worlds (the virtual and the real one!).
What’s your take?
If you own a company or work as an adviser or consultant for one, would you encourage or discourage the use of Twitter? We presented both side of the argument, Fadi with and Beirut against – what do you think?