For those of you who have been focusing on less pressing matters -- say, the economy -- Twitter is a microblog through which people communicate within a maximum of 140 characters. The real-time result, as others have suggested, is much like a large cocktail party with many unrelated conversations occurring at the same time. Twitter can be perplexing, disorienting, even overwhelming.
In comparison to social networks such as Facebook, with its 200 million active users, Twitter is a social neophyte, with 14 million users (pre-Oprah), according to Compete.com. What makes Twitter newsworthy, however, is that this figure indicates a significant spike -- an increase of 76.8% in the past month alone.
Is Twitter a great way to market to moms?
The jury is still out -- but the possibilities are intriguing. Moms are certainly tweeting in droves. Of the core group of 100 or so mom bloggers we work with on an ongoing basis, for example, roughly 80% have Twitter accounts. The Twitter format itself -- short bursts -- may particularly appeal to busy moms, as a way to stay in touch between myriad parenting tasks. The influential TwitterMoms network includes numerous subcategories for different areas of interest, from "Online Marketing Moms" to "Twitter Newbies." March saw the launch of independent microblogging variations on Twitter, designed to appeal directly to moms.
Moms who tweet comment on everything from potty training to politics. Granted, there are numerous posts along the lines of, "What shall I make for lunch?" and "Just dropped Jimmy off at practice." Earlier this month, there was much lively debate on a TV segment on "the secret life of moms" as well as a major fundraising effort for a mom in need.
Though clearly not a direct opportunity for marketers, these activities offer insight into a mom's world. More relevant to corporations, there is also a great deal of news and knowledge shared, mom to mom, about product giveaways, coupon offers, special events, and more. Many of the conversations that started online have evolved to off-line -- the "meet ups" or in-person meetings originated by bloggers have evolved into "tweet ups" for Twitter fans.
Small and large businesses alike have tiptoed into Twitter waters in an effort to reach moms. Graco and Johnson & Johnson have a presence, as do Nickelodeon and Disney, among others. Companies such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, Zappos and JetBlue use Twitter to target a broader audience.
For those marketing in Twitter space for the first time, there is a distinct learning curve. Some basic lessons:
Despite the fact that it's been around for three years, Twitter is only now really taking off when it comes to corporate involvement. Readers, what have your experiences been with Twitter? Marketers, what have you done that's effective? Moms, what should companies on Twitter do to make themselves more appealing? Editor's note: If you'd like to contribute to this newsletter, see our editorial guidelines first and then contact Nina Lentini.