The Entrepreneurs at Twitter: Building a Brand, a Social Tool or a Tech Powerhouse? Summary
Proclaimed as the hottest company since Google and Facebook, Twitter introduced a revolutionary micro-blogging service in 2006 that allowed users to spread and share short messages of 140 characters (“tweets”) with friends and strangers subscribing to follow their communication flow (as so called “followers”) in order to find out what is happening right now from any point of the globe. Raising a total of US$ 155 million from investors without generating a single cent in profit or return on investment, Twitter’s founders Evan Williams, Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone and Jack Dorsey relied essentially on their investors’ patience and goodwill while they were building the best product, technology and company possible…for free. What started as the bright idea of its founders has slowly but surely developed to an unexploited business opportunity Twitter as a very trendy social tool has to monetize on. The notion that when a service is of value, it should also have a value and charge for this value was more or less ignored or remained in the background. Recognizing the importance of Twitter’s service to its users, endless possibilities arise how Twitter can capitalize on its popularity considering the 24 million registered Twitter users by the end of 2009 making up a technologically savvy and broadly interested user base allowing for special targeting with opt-in options and high interactivity levels as well as high levels of attention and reach. Twitter’s marketing approach to date has been that of evangelism or word-of-mouth marketing with viral components, supported by extensive media coverage. Considering Twitter’s declining user base in the last quarter of 2009, this obviously wasn’t enough. Twitter has to expand its marketing and branding efforts to increase its publicity by means of embracing community, interactive and digital marketing. Twitter has to discover and implement unobtrusive and user-relevant ways to “sell” its audience to advertisers and interest groups. Ways to do that might comprise exclusive offers accounts, promoted accounts of different companies based on the interests and search requests of its users, sponsored trends, subscription and interest sensitive suggestions and recommendations of who to follow as well as B2B-sales approaches like selling API and basic services to large companies using Twitter for the internal coordination and update of employees as well as deepening its cooperation with the big players like Google, Microsoft and Facebook by granting their spiders and search engines free access to its users’ data base so that the their advertising partners can get a comprehensive placement and offering on all of these companies’ platforms. Twitter needs a clear strategy for its future profit generation. It needs to better understand its users and their interests, to filter and tag those users according to their online behavior, affiliations and proceedings in the daily information-gathering and decision-making on Twitter. The path to profitability for Twitter passes through delivering a more intelligent and better aligned service to its users. Only then will interactions lead to click and purchase actions. Bright Idea or Real Business Opportunity:-
Twitter started out in early 2006 as engineer Jack Dorsey’s bright idea of a service enabling users carrying cell phones to update small groups of people simultaneously on their current situation or status by entering a short numerical code before beginning the message. “Twittr Beta” was launched by the spring of 2006, based on the idea of the SMS aspect and inspired by brands like Flickr and the fact that American SMS short codes were five characters long. The renaming to “Twitter” happened later on as its developers tried to come up with the perfect imagery for “buzzing your friend’s pocket” (ibid.). Defined as a “short burst of inconsequential information”...
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