If you’re familiar with Twitter, you’ve probably figured out there’s some interesting things you can do with these types of SMS-based apps. If you’re a power Twitterer all of you know it’s way more than “what am I doing”. Jaiku’s the other one, and although essentially both provide the same capabilities, I give an aesthetic edge to Jaiku for its slick looking badges. That aside, while working on a community project yesterday, we started thinking about how these tools can benefit the business. If you extrapolate what’s being done by some of the big brands, it’s pretty easy to see the evolution. Take ZDNet for instance. Their approach aggregates all of their blogs into one Twitter feed. Using something like TwitKu, (screenshot below) I get a pulse of what ZDNet is covering that hour. And ZDNet knows most people won’t have the inclination to subscribe to all of their blogs, so they give us options. That’s an important notion when building your business case. Always give the user options. If you want to be a media company, act like one. Show me how to consume, repurpose, mashup, and deliver your content not just in ways you want but ways I want.
Other companies, including Dell and the NYTimes, also use use Twitter to push out all sorts of content, from product updates and discounts to industry information and news. And isn’t it a bit ironic that the NY Times is so prolific on Twitter? They came across as a skeptic back in April.
So know that we know there’s some real-world scenarios for this stuff, the question becomes how to best incorporate these communication tools into an integrated and cohesive marketing strategy? I’d suggest start by stripping away all the Web 2.0 monikers and buzzwords and boil it down to content and communication. From there think about what everyone else is thinking about. How do I come up with creative ways to distribute my content? After that, think about how to be a facilitator. Once a brand becomes a trusted information source or content provider, conversations happen. Tools like Twitter and Jaiku can drive those conversations. And conversations build brand.