Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twitter for Listening or Broadcasting?

Ongoing Experiment Number One - Corporate Contest for who is listening the best.

Like me, corporations are just figuring out a strategy in using twitter. They are hiring social media executives to handle their online image. I'm sure the job description for these people is a work in process. There are CFOs who are pulling their hair out trying to assess the value of the position with old tools of analysis.

The promise of tools like twitter and the corporate use of them is that corporate communication will become more and more decentralized and an ear turned to the individual consumer will grow bigger.

Like an anti-Pinocchio (sort of).

My first contest was an experiment between homedepot and lowes.
Both home improvement giants have corporate twitter accounts.
I tweet out
"hey @lowes and @homedepot, my wife doesn't believe me that you are listening. Prove her wrong and throw her some love (she loves coupons)"

Very lame attempt to garner some swag, I know. But I was most interested in response time and if we can honestly show or predict anything from these very unscientific results.

Home Depot hits me back with this reply 90 minutes later.

Pretty impressive seeing that I didn't get their name correct. Part of Nick Jayres' job is to keep a search feed for everyone who is tweeting keywords like "homedepot" or "home depot" or "big orange box".

Sarah, from the home depot corporate communications is actually managing the corporate account. Following and Followers of just over 3,000 in each list. 1,249 tweets since last May acting mostly as a customer service line.

Lowes, who I can see by their twitter profile, jumped on twitter two weeks ago - is yet to hit me back. They have just over 100 followers and 100 they are following. Have tweeted out 11 times as "the corporation" - no name behind the profile. Looks like they are on the path to use the tool as a distribution channel for their broadcast communication.

I think I'm going to do this a few more times with a few more contests before I make any general observations about the nature of this beast.

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