Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Big Media Misses the Twitter Opportunity

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Twitter has totally changed the flow of information. News and information is now traveling at light speed across the twitterverse. A plane is delayed and boom someone is tweeting about it. An Earthquake strikes and people know instantaneously due to a tweet. Twitter has changed communication and the way people connect. Do you think the Big media companies noticed...yes! The Bigger question is...are media companies missing out on a twitter opportunity. YES!

The media has been fanatically hyping twitter for the past couple of months. Broadcasters have raced to setup their twitter pages since it seems like the in thing to do. The problem is in the race to setup a twitter page the media companies have not thought through a proper strategy. Instead Media Companies have approached twitter the same way they approach Broadcasting...one way communication. They just keep pushing out info to viewers, followers, etc. without understanding the "Distribution Channel" or "Medium" they are using. Missed Opportunity!

When you look at any business type the ultimate goal is to gain a loyal following and to keep them. Apple has done an amazing job at fostering their fan base. Big media companies on the other hand just keep doing what they are used to...sitting on the top of the mountain shouting down information to everyone below. One way communication.

To illustrate my point on how Big Media is missing the point of twitter let's look at the Fox & Friends profile page above. I circled the important Following vs Followers info. As you can see Fox & Friends has 22,689 Followers BUT they only Follow 114 people. The translation...we want you all to follow us but we only think 114 of you are worthy of following. Look at it another way...we want to keep pushing our message out to as many people as possible but we are not really interested in what our Followers have to say. To make matters worse...If u could see the full page above you would notice over a 10 day span...Fox & Friends tweeted with followers twice! That is really sad! Once again the one way communication philosophy.

How can Big Media not miss the twitter opportunity?

1) Follow your followers. They are following you because they are fans so don't you think they are important? Without them their is no you!

2) Engage your followers. Ask them questions, find out about their lives, why do they like watching you in the morning, evening, etc.

3) Develop a two way communication with your followers. It is built in research. They will tell you what they like or don't like about your show. What the hot topics are for that day, etc.

4) Get personal! If Gretchen, Steve, or Brian are tweeting with a follower about their life don't you think that follower will feel connected to them? Do you think they will switch the channel on THEIR friend to go see what CNN is saying? Probably not. Instead the follower will tell all their friends about how cool you are and then what happens? You develop more viewers, which drives up the ratings, which brings in more revenue, etc.

Twitter has created a great opportunity for Media companies to expand their brand loyalty like never before but only if it is used correctly. People on twitter are about two way communication not one. Miss this opportunity and your competitor who gets it will eat your lunch!



  1. Mello - great post. I work in the marketing field and everyone one of my clients are trying to figure this out. What we think are the basics confound many. Engage, engage, engage. Simple right? Not so simple in organizations. It scares the sh*t out of them. Customers have always been an idea, not a reality and what twitter and social media in general does is make them real, living, breathing human beings. They have no idea how to interact with them. Another thing that happens is they are so understaffed for the effort. Engagement takes time. With 100,000 followers, a lot of time. I did not get into the Beta of CoTweet but that looks like a promising tool to manage twitter updates, responses, DM's, RT's and the like.

    From the agency side of things (PR firms, digital agencies, advertising agencies ect.) the big issue is how do we make money on social media. Big agencies are staffed for these massive and complex one way campaigns. There is the media department, the account management department, the PR department, the direct response department, the marketing operations department, the measurement department, the creative department, the .... on and on. Big agencies are screwed. There is no way their model can accommodate social media and make money. What is emerging are new agencies that are small and flexible. They don't think in departments or disciplines but bring the experience of PR, direct response, media, digital, strategy and creative together. We are in the middle of further defining this and will be going to market with an offering in the next few weeks.

    Thanks for the post.

    greg wood
    FB bluefishagency

  2. Greg,

    Thank you so much for such an insightful post. You are so correct when you say Traditional Media Agencies are not staffed for this sort of thing. It does not fit into their CPP, CPM, and GRP box. They are scrambling for a reason. We at BuzzCal are also developing a Marketing Company to address the needs of clients. Please keep me posted on your progress and hope to see you post again.



  3. Mello - same goes on keeping me updated. Good quote from the CEO of OMD...

    "The number of people and hours we invest in [social media] is huge," Mainardo de Nardis, the new global CEO of Omnicom Group's OMD Global, said. "The revenue is small but we can't afford not to do it but can't afford to do it. There's an imbalance and we have to find a way to rebalance it."

    I interperet that as we are screwed...

  4. Greg,

    Exactly! Once Clients realize there are more cost efficient ways to advertise other than TV then Big Agencies are done! Stay tuned for future posts delving deeper into the Big Agency's reliance on TV.

  5. Hi Jeff,
    Social media allows us the privilege of interacting and engaging with literally thousands of others, every day, about any and every thing. Getting numbers, just to get numbers is totally missing the point. Glad you're blogging, I'll be visiting ya frequently. Always love to get your take on things, even though you're a conservative and I'm a tree hugger.
    Cheers babe,

  6. Great post Jeff!

    Jeff, Zo and Greg...so nice to see 3 of my favorite people discussing something I am so passionate about!

    What people and companies need to remember is there is NO SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT BEING SOCIAL!

    If all one is doing is blasting out messages and promotions to one's Followers without engaging, listening and talking to them, this becomes nothing more than another broadcast medium for them.

    I am thoroughly enjoying the process of engaging with those who have so graciously chosen to Follow me. They didn't need to do that as they are all very busy. They chose to; therefore, I feel it is my responsibility to use these mediums as they were intended....as relationship builders, as listening tools, as methods of engagement!

    I am in the midst of becoming Certified in Social Media through the ISMA, and couldn't be more excited about it as I look forward to working with my clients, present and future, to help them understand the Rules of Engagement!

    I'm happy to be in the company of professionals like the three of you as we help the world adjust to these new realities!

  7. Thanks Nancy for taking the time to share. You are right on with your thoughts.