The Case for Twitter Premium Accounts

June 15, 2012

It would make a lot of sense for companies to be able to have premium accounts on Twitter.

Consider the following use case:

Many companies have multiple users interacting with their customers on Twitter. For example, Southwest Airlines ( @SouthwestAir) has several customer service folks tweeting to users and addressing user questions (eg: @SouthwestWhit). Similarly Whole Foods (@WholeFoods) has dozens of tweeters including for Cheese (@WFMCheese ), Wines (@WFMWineGuys ) and for individual locations (@WFMMetroDetroit). All of these are individual accounts, even though they work for the same company.

A better approach would be to let companies have premium ‘umbrella’ accounts with multiple handles under the umbrella account. For example, Southwest Airlines would have a master umbrella account and individual reps have ‘official’ Southwest handles under this account. This will help companies streamline their Twitter communication.

Another big benefit of such an approach is that it would address questions of whether an employee’s Twitter handle belongs to them or their company.  With corporate accounts, the handle would clearly belong to the company. Of course, employees could have their own personal handles as well separately.

An extension of the premium account concept is to let companies have their own pages/ mini-portals on Twitter, where they can engage with users in a structured manner. These mini-portals can also offer enhanced functionality such as Buy buttons, Coupon downloads or Customer Service ‘conversations  ‘.

Here’s how:

(1) Product Catalogs:

Allow companies to offer product information or product catalogs on their mini-portals/ pages.

(2) Buy/ Action button:

Having a ‘Buy’ or Action button on their premium account page will enable companies to promote products/ services to interested users and enable their users to complete transactions right away. They can also directly track user response to their messaging.

For example, companies can drive greater engagement in the following sequence:

Promoted Tweets —————> Premium pages,—————-> Product catalogs ————–>Call to Action (Buy Button/ Download coupon).

If a user clicks on “Buy” or performs the action such as say, downloading a coupon from the page, the company can measure the value of the Promoted Tweet and ultimately, the ROI on their spend.

(3) Enhanced User Engagement with Company:

Users can visit the company’s page and ask questions about the product or engage in discussions. For example on a page for Acer’s laptops, users could go and ask the Acer reps questions about the laptop specs, via 140 word tweets, of course. The Acer representatives would address user questions and concerns by tweeting back to users.

Premium accounts would also be a useful vehicle for Monetization for Twitter.


The Value of a Facebook Fan: Some Insightful Readings

February 21, 2012

In the course of doing research on Facebook’s valuation, I found some great articles and posts on the Value of a Facebook Like or Fan:

1. From the Brandbuilder blog, some of the best analysis I have seen on this subject.

Assigning an arbitrary (one might say “cookie-cutter”) value to Facebook fans in general, averaged out over the ENTIRE breadth of the business spectrum, is complete and utter bullshit.

2. Here is an argument (from Millward Brown) for how social media is not a means to building brands, but rather an end.

Social media can’t help build brands without the other ingredients that make brands strong: an effective business model, a great brand experience, clarity of positioning, and the ability to disrupt the status quo in a product category.

3. And this, a comparison between the value of Facebook and Twitter sharing from Eventbrite.

Sharing activity on Facebook equaled almost 4 times the amount of sharing on Twitter.  We attribute this to Facebook’s reach (right now there are simply more people that use Facebook than Twitter) and the fact that connections on Facebook more closely mirror real-world, personal relationships.

4. Finally, a video on calculating the ROI of a Facebook ‘Like’ by Adobe. Note that this is a promotion for Adobe’s offerings, but I found the methodology interesting.

 

Update: Here is an infographic from Minter Dial’s blog.

The short story is that there is no way to place a single value on a fan. The answer is that “it depends.” Not only are some fans worth more than others, but the way you build up engagement on your page makes the value of a fan more or less potent.

I plan to follow up with a post distilling my readings and my own ideas on assigning a value to social media ‘Fans’ or ‘Followers’.  Stay tuned!


Twitter Monetization: Combining Offers with Advertising Would Be a Good Approach

January 16, 2012

Make User interests Explicit

Twitter’s monetization has focused on Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts. Promoted Tweets show up in users’ timelines as well as when users perform a Search on Twitter. But unlike regular Search, user intent is typically not readily identifiable on Twitter. For example, on Google/ Yahoo/ Bing, user intent is very explicit when the user searches on “laptop deals” or “car insurance”. But on Twitter, users often do not make commercial searches. And when users are not explicitly searching, it is hard to make guesses about their intent or interests.

On the other hand, Twitter is a natural medium for Offers and Deals. Several companies such as Walmart already use Twitter to tweet specials to their followers. But instead of waiting for users to follow specific accounts, a better approach would be to ask users themselves to state their interests and then tweet to them based on their stated interests. This combines the Advertising model with the Offers model.

 

This is how it can work:

Bottomline:

  • This approach makes users’ interests and intent explicit, providing greater value to advertisers as well as a good user experience. Since users have specified what sort of offer categories they are interested in, advertisers get ‘pre-qualified’ users.