Twitter is impressive, the technology itself in what it allows you to do but also in how people are actually using it to improve how they interact with the world around them on a daily basis. The platform has seen solid growth and now has over 100 million active users, those that sign in at least once a month. The US slice of Twitter use is expected to rise to 21 million this year (eMarketer) as people continue to see worth in its use, even if to simply track that which they find interesting rather than creating and sharing content themselves.
From personal messaging, to coordinating and mobilizing, to social commentary, to passing insight among peers, to connecting with and motivating customers, twitter simply can be used to many different ends. The varied non-marketing ways in which the platform is used are particularly interesting as they showcase the diversity in purpose and use of the platform but also the ingenuity that online marketers can learn from. As such, there are several interesting cases that upon deeper analysis offer insight that marketers can utilize to creatively use the platform for their goals.
All This via Twitter
The cases of twitter's application are varied indeed. For example, take the Kenyan administrative chief named Francis Kariuki (@Chiefkariuki) in Nakuru North District in the Rift Valley of western Kenya. Kariuki uses the platform to send out updates and valuable information for members of his immediate community. A recent Associated Press article profiled the chief and his use of the micro-blogging site to strengthen his village by alerting followers to missing children and livestock to building an immediate response to house robberies and promoting local village meetings and news.
The tweets are seen by his over 3,000 followers (many of which are outside his village as the follower count increased since his media coverage) and reach thousands of the immediate area's 28,000 people. As many of the villagers rely on subsistence farming and do not have the resources for a smartphone, they receive the tweets through forwarded text messages that smartphone users sent out or through third-party mobile phone applications. Chief Kariuki's purpose is clear, he gets his message out, and it makes an immediate impact.
Half a world away in London, a new twitter bot named Where's My Bus (@whensmybus) offers travelers London bus information in real time. It gives travelers the time buses are going to arrive at stops close to the user's closest location. The bot utilizes Transport for London's data and the user's GPS location. Users tweet their location, current bus number, desired bus number to @whensmybus, and the latest bus times for the closest stops are tweeted back. Many find this more beneficial than transport-oriented mobile apps that are aimed to deliver the same information, thus evidencing the simple utility in purposeful twitter application.
Check back tomorrow for the last example and thoughts on what businesses and SEO companies can take away from these innovative cases.