Twitter and the Art of Brand Building

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Twitter reported their first quarterly earnings as a publicly traded company last week. But this is not a financial blog, so I won’t discuss what happened.

What I will say is that if Twitter wants to continue to grow their revenue, their ability to do that will lie with big companies finding value in paying to reach their user base. It’s possible, but it will take time and effort.

True, it’s working for Facebook. But Twitter is different. The allure of Twitter for big business today seems to be more in their ability to do “real-time marketing”. The Twitter platform is very good at breaking news. And it did not take long for brands to see the value in commenting on news stories, or interacting with people in real time on subjects that were trending.

Just look at some of the Twitter related stories (this one and this one, in particular) surrounding the Superbowl.

For now, it seems like the message from companies to Twitter is, “we just want to be heard”. The platform is so good at letting companies share something (for free) that they may have a harder time getting advertisers to pay than Facebook did.

Companies are just looking for a way to broadcast to a large number of people. They just want attention and brand awareness. Maybe they just want followers, and then they will figure out what to do with them.

To say that Twitter does not work as a business because the value for brands is not in advertising is not fair. But for now, it might be true.