Monday, June 29, 2009

The Twitter Top 50

Jeff Zweig (Web Guru Asia) recently released his list of Asia’s Top 50 people ranked by Twitter followers. According to his stats, people from 11 different countries made the list which goes to show how universally popular the service has become.

Malaysia had four people on the list ahead of China with three but behind Hong Kong with five and Singapore was represented by seven people. India led the way with 14 ahead of Japan’s nine.

You can check out the full list at his new blog (sonuvapitch.com).

The numbers of followers these guys are getting are impressive and it’s great that there were 11 countries on the list. And with four Malaysians on the list, I asked Jeff when is the right time for a brand to enter the Twittersphere?

“As soon as relevant conversations for the brand are taking place on the platform. This can be conversations about the brand itself or about topics that are relevant to consumers of the brand’s products or services.”

He said there a number of free Twitter monitoring tools which can easily enable a brand to assess when the time is right to move onto Twitter. One example is to use the advanced version of Twitter’s own search engine.

“Here, we can enter the relevant search terms within Twitter conversations we would like to track. We can even specify specific geographic locations to ensure we are covering only the areas we are concerned with. Then we can save each search as a custom RSS feed.”

”Once we see a trickle of relevant Twitter conversations start to become a flood, we know it’s time to jump in,” he said.

Jeff also recommends that marketers read a post from Mashable.com called 10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands.

So then I asked, other than fear of unknown, what’s another reason why marketers aren’t jumping at the chance to use Twitter? And is it fair to say they are reluctant because they know they will not have control of the conversation.

He said:

Loss of control is a mindset issue for brands with any type of social media—not just Twitter. However, in my view, brands should embrace this loss of control as an opportunity and not a threat. There are many good reasons for changing to this new mindset.

Here are just two of my favourites:

1) Negative (and positive) conversations about a brand are going to occur across the Internet regardless anyway. Therefore, it’s far better for a brand to engage than to stick its head in the sand and ignore what’s going on. In fact, a mindset of rejecting engagement is far more risky to a brand than not engaging in today’s social media environment. After all, when there is no engagement to a popular negative conversation, everyone can see that the brand has run away scared. Who can trust a brand that does this?


2) By responding in a transparent, sincere and authentic way, brands can even turn avid detractors into loyal fans. And if these originally avid detractors have large followings of their own in social media, brands can benefit immensely through the power of social proof. This is far more convincing and authentic than a press release.

Although I’m certainly a fan of press releases (especially search engine optimised press releases for online distribution in addition to traditional offline releases), here is another reason why only issuing a press release is not good enough:

Offline press releases are one-way messaging that allow no interaction with consumers. Furthermore, the voice of the release is 100% controlled by the brand and this is rarely, if ever, 100% trusted by consumers.

Similar issues were addressed at a recent Tweet-up I went to organised by FusionBrand at TwentyOne bar. Any other thoughts on this?

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