Twitter still not 'serious' enough for business

Twitter still not 'serious' enough for business

Summary: Microblogging platform has generated much interest, but still has some way to go from being regarded as suitable platform for business use, say experts.

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Microblogging medium, Twitter, may be making waves as a new communication platform, but it is not "serious" enough for businesses yet, say experts.

This is despite Twitter recently posting a Twitter 101 page targeted at encouraging businesses to get onboard.

According to Joe Nguyen, comScore vice president, Southeast Asia, Twitter hits from the Asia-Pacific region have grown nearly tenfold since December 2008.

Businesses, however, are "still trying to understand the platform and are testing the waters", he said, citing an early example being Dell and Intel's Dell Swarm marketing campaign in Singapore, which included a Twitter account to post updates to users.

"So Twitter was used as one of the channels for communicating with consumers and potential customers, but has not been used as a marketing platform in and of itself," he said.

Chris Brogan, president of new media agency, New Marketing Labs, too said Twitter has some way to go. "It's still in the experimental world to most businesses," he said, but added that entities such as media organizations are getting value out of the quick-broadcast platform.

Twitter 101 alone will not help, he said, but it will help provide consultants and educators a "simple resource" to which to point.

Getting businesses to take Twitter seriously as a broadcasting medium will require organizations to align their marketing goals and strategies together with it, he noted. It is not about the way Twitter is delivered, but about organizations' goals, he said.

Perhaps Twitter should not strive too hard to be "legit", one expert suggests. Gartner research vice president, Jeffrey Mann, said: "Part of Twitter's appeal is its edginess and newness."

Tweaking the Twitter interface such that it becomes regarded as "legit" in the eyes of conservative marketeers would not be good for the platform, which he sees as having carved its own niche as a broadcast medium. "It is not, and will not be a mass market medium to address everyone, but it is already an effective way to reach a specific audience, if used correctly," he said.

Twitter's rumored expected new services, such as analytics and brand search, will "enhance" its platform while still remaining playful at its core, he said.

One Singapore-based company, Azione Capital has a Twitter account but stopped tweeting in November last year.

Dennis Phua, Azione Capital's senior associate cited time constraint as the reason the venture capital firm stopped, in response to a query from ZDNet Asia. "Our company has no dedicated personnel to post tweets, and over time, we have prioritized our work over tweeting."

He said, however, that Azione is interested in informing the Web community of the company's happenings, and that it is "a pity" it has stopped broadcasting over the medium.

Twitter's founders recently acknowledged that the company continues not making money and that it is 1 percent of where it wants to be. But the company is focused on the long term, said co-founder Biz Stone.

Topics: SMBs, Browser, CXO, IT Employment

Victoria Ho

About Victoria Ho

Victoria Ho is a tech journalist based in Singapore, whose writing has appeared in publications such as ZDNet, TechCrunch, and The Business Times. When she's not obsessing about IT, you can find her tinkering with music and daydreaming about which guitar to buy next.

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