Turning Twitter into a Powerful Business Tool

Since the day the first tweet was made, business professionals have proclaimed that Twitter is purely a social tool. These people focus on the users who tweet things like “Just got done watching football on TV” or “Just got out of math class and going to grab a snack”. They should focus on CNN’s Breaking News Account (@cnnbrk), which reaches 2,899,806 interested individuals everyday. CNN is able to promote their top stories for free to a massive audience, whom in turn can retweet/mention to their followers and so on. This process quickly turns 2,899,806 into 4 or 5 million viewers. In fact, in just the last hour CNN has been mention over 20 times by other Twitter users. I am not saying that every business is going to be able to generate nearly as many followers or quite as great an influence as CNN, but it is still a powerful brand building/viral marketing tool on any scale. What CNN and other large media companies are doing on Twitter demonstrate its value in brand building and viral marketing purposes. However, Twitter is also uniquely being used by companies of all sizes for internal purposes.

GST Media was hired by commercial real estate service provider, NAI Global, to create and implement a social media strategy. NAI Global has over 300 offices across the world, giving them local expertise on a global level. Every year, NAI has an international convention in Las Vegas. The three day event brings together around 1,000 NAI brokers from all corners of the world. There are dozens of expert speakers and endless networking opportunities. For this years convention we wanted to see how social media could be integrated. Twitter quickly became the prime candidate for use, but at first glance the only thing we thought could be done was to create an @naiconvention twitter account (which we did). Soon we began looking into Twitter hashtags and registered the hashtag #naiglobalconvention with a site called Twubs.com.

Twubs is for lack of a better word “amazing”. It allowed NAI Global to turn the 2010 convention into a truly connected 2.0 event. The #naiglobalconvention Twub acted as the homepage for all tweets made by convention attendees and/or NAI members who couldn’t make the event. The Twub also connected to the NAI Global YouTube channel and we used several FlipVideos to capture many sessions and powerful interviews. Lastly, the Twub allowed for text and other documents to be uploaded and the convention agenda was posted at the top. During the convention we received dozens of complements on the Twub from NAI brokers who used the aggregated Twitter feed to network, learn and even locate.

Incredibly, Twubs offers even more functionality for businesses than mentioned above. You can use your Twub during a session to agreggate tweets for a live Q&A. It seamlessly hooks up to whatever screen your using to display the questions and allows you to completely brand the display. The biggest concern people have with using Twitter for live Q&A is the moderation and Twubs addresses that issue by allowing the moderator to add tweets from the real-time stream to the Q&A queue. Within the Twub a member can create a Tweetup or event, such as a lunch or coffee session with a group of convention attendees. Lastly, your Twub can fully integrate with Ustream and/or LiveStream giving you the ability to do live broadcasts from convention sessions to your Twub front page.

More and more businesses are testing out the social media waters and almost all are seeing real tangible results. Twitter is one, if not the most powerful social media tools available. However, it is necessary to do your research and learn how to best use each and every social media tool out there before you jump right in and prematurely write them off.

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