Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Twitter Finding Its Legs As A Marketing Tool

Ad Age is reporting that Twitter is becoming a "killer app" for local businesses looking to communicate short-term deals and specials in order to drive feet into the store.

I can vouch for this localized aspect of Twitter myself, as I have subscribed to a few local-based feeds, such as cubsbaseball, tweetchi and getoutchicago, which provide the kind of real-time updates about important things that Twitter does best. I mean, aplusk might be entertaining, but he doesn't actually need Twitter to communicate the things he does. He could do the same in a regular ol' blog.

To all this, I say, "finally", and on two fronts:

- The value of Twitter as a marketing vehicle has been questioned in general. It looked like it might go the way of MySpace pages, which were used as not much more than extensions of marketers' websites. Such pages may have connected on some level with their target, but they didn't necessarily deliver anything that was valuable or essential. A real-time update service for local concerns does qualify as a valuable and essential tool, though.
- Local businesses have been struggling to harness the Internet as a marketing tool for well over a decade now, dabbling in local search, yellow pages apps, broad-based SEM and even couponing, with limited success at best. Using Twitter as an intrusive, push-based medium, particularly to phone apps, could be the game changer that finally gets local businesses online -- plus it's free, and will probably stay that way.

Potentially transformational stuff here, folks. This one has a good chance of catching on and sticking.