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Why Pay Attention To Twitter


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Tom Bedecarre AKQA CEO Keynote slides and annotated notes from the Media140 event.


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Why Pay Attention To Twitter

  1. 1. ` From Media140, London Why pay attention to Twitter & real-time Social Media? Tom Bedecarré @tombed to n ot eng e is ers , ll ans w cha t he The righ at t “Twitt the wh er is c get for m re. onfusi n sa becaus ng bu t to stio e it’s a bout ue dialogu tq e, it’s righ someth not ing sta tic.” about:George 1
  2. 2. ➡ Nothing like being the early-morning “wake up” speaker after a long flight. ➡ Fun topic for a conference. Looking forward to engaging with people. ★ Single most common client question: “Why should I care what you had for breakfast, Tom?” ➡ How many Twitter haters are in the audience? How many Twitter lovers? How many are Twitter– curious? [Ed–largely lovers] ➡Fascinated by Twitter haters. Endless number of journalists actively looking for the chance to give Twitter a bad press. If you aren’t selling papers, bitch about Twitter. ➡ Ashton Kutcher has pushed Twitter to the foreground of the traditional media. “It’s engendered a huge pool of Twitter haters.” ★ Journalists hate Twitter in particular because it’s a “Journalists hate threat to their sense of journalism. Twitter in particular ➡ because it’s a threat So what is the point? Why do people care about these to their sense of mundane things? journalism.” ➡ Once asked a multinational CEO: “Do you use social media?” “No, I don’t have time.” There’s the attitude that people got Facebook, and they’re outraged: “Now I have to do Twitter too?!” 2
  3. 3. ➡ Client meeting example: found that an in-house marketing team were all using Facebook/Twitter but weren’t following each other. “We just work together.” They tried to hire AKQA to do their social media but they weren’t social together. ➡ Haters are particularly interesting. Best way to get a headline is to do a study into Twitter being completely pointless. ★ Widely reported study: 40.55% of all Tweets are “pointless “40 million users babble.” Question reflects almost overnight gets the prejudice of the study. Do people measure telephone swept under the rug. conversations and text messages? Conversations in People enjoy beating up the street? What proportion on Twitter.” of these would be “pointless babble”? ➡ Interesting that these studies get so much traction. Teens not using Twitter is another one. ➡ Any time people find a tiny piece circumstantial evidence that Twitter might be a fad, the print it. 40 million users almost overnight gets swept under the rug. People enjoy beating up on Twitter. ➡ Some stats: 11.30am is the top pass along timeslot, and Monday is the top day. Put out your tweets then! News is heaviest at 2pm. ➡ So why Twitter? What’s the point? It’s enjoyable. ➡ Specifically: As CEO of six offices, on the road a lot, it’s a great way to keep up with people, send short messages, and make connections with people online who you don’t have time for normally. ➡ More broadly: Stay in touch with the industry as a whole. Follow people in the industry and split them 3
  4. 4. off from the “bff list.” ➡ Even more broadly: Zeitgeist. Can stay in touch with news and top trends. Can tell when Kanye West is dead, and when he’s alive again. ➡ Why don’t more agency people have time for it? It helps @tombed understand the Real Time Web. ★ Shows that AKQA is authentic and authoritative. When people ask about Twitter, the CEO knows. ➡ Tweetfreak blog singled out @tombed as a person to follow: “Tom is the rare agency CEO who comes across as somewhat normal on Twitter.” ➡ Proud to be ‘somewhat’ normal. ➡ I’m not going to tell us anything new about what people are using Twitter for. That’s what the other panels in the day are for. And the articles, the books... there should be a Twitter film. ➡ Pace of development: There’s a book that came out a few weeks ago that’s already out of date. It said that Comcast had a full-time Twitter manager. Not any more. Now they have a team of twelve. ➡ Hollywood is in love with Twitter because it’s free. They’re trying to find new ways to promote films on Twitter. ➡ Ashton Kutcher has 3.88 million followers. He tweets to promote his films (which is good because can you remember the last one he was in?) ➡ Who’s in the audience? [Ed–a few publishers, some media, some client people, overwhelmingly agency folks.] ➡ How can brands and advertisers and publishers deal with consumer adoption of Twitter? How do you engage 4
  5. 5. with people as a brand? ➡ Looking forward to crowdsourcing discussion from Unilever. The ethics of using real-time media. How do we listen and who do we listen to? Who is in charge? ➡ Nothing like seeing the blood sport of agencies fighting over a scrap of new business. ➡ Convergent agencies all staking out a claim for who will manage social media. How are clients going to figure out who to assign it to? ➡ Of the 40 million Twitter users, estimates that 35 million are social media experts. ➡ Today is about reflecting on innovation. The challenge is to form what the right questions are, not getting answers. ➡ People are starting to solve “The challenge is to things. Still a lot to do. Measuring the effectiveness form what the right of a campaign–there isn’t a questions are, not tool to provide clients with ROI on Twitter. getting the right answers.” Q&A SESSION: Q: Do you think that the majority of your clients are trying to engage you in social media campaigns, or are you having to bring it up as an option for them? A: Social media is the number one thing that clients go to AKQA for. Everyone is asking about it; clients & prospective clients too. The media are also asking. It’s taking over the conversations. On the one hand there are a lot of things that AKQA do which aren’t social media, so there’s a lot of conversation but as much money through the door, but social media is being intertwined into everything that we do. GAP hired us for the Back to School campaign. For 20 5
  6. 6. years that would have been TV work and some outdoor placements. This year we did some bus shelters, but the rest of the campaign was built on Facebook. Born To Fit ( took you to a Facebook page & experience. It was all about people sharing their own ideas about fashion. There was an iPhone application that tied into it also. Q: Generally, how do we as an industry tackle clients who have managed their brands more traditionally? How do we turn them from pushing to engaging? Allocating spending. How do we change perceptions? A: Clients struggle with change. Got to be careful as some clients are in the room! People don’t spend their lifetime on a brand in marketing. They are caretakers. They get an assignment for a year or two most. They want to make sure they do a good job based on historical factors so that they can get their next, better, assignment. You start with what was done before and tweak it a little. Hard to get people to make the shift. FMCG brands aren’t the largest online advertisers, they’re tiptoeing into that. Good news is that whatever is new and interesting gets a lot of attention. Last year everyone wanted an iPhone application for their brand. Then people wanted a Facebook page. What are we going to do with Twitter? How do we get involved? Twitter is more confusing because it’s about dialogue, it’s not something static. Who owns it? Corporate communications department? Brand team? Client meetings are complex: PR people, corporate communications teams, brand managers... lots of overlapping people. AKQA evangelise on social media. Q: Can you provide some feedback on the GAP campaign? A: Too soon to tell. Send me an email and I’ll get back to you. Q: What are the emerging standards for how to measure social media? 6
  7. 7. A: This is something that people will be talking about all day today. I don’t have a ‘single’ answer. You can measure followers and fans and Tweets... clients want to measure sales, but increasingly there need to be links between immeasurable activities to sales. People who were on top of Twitter early on have received millions of dollars of free publicity. Dell’s attempts to use it as a Customer Service tool in particular. Should we use Twitter as part of our CS dialogue? How much does it cost to put one person on it full-time? If there’s just one person using Twitter and just one solitary success story comes out of it, then it’s worth the expense. Q: What are the limits of Real Time Web and Social Media? Don’t they shift the focus so we become reactive? A: What would people have thought the limits of Facebook or Twitter or iPhone were historically? We’re in an exciting era where technology and dialogue are being taken over by people. It’s people powered. That’s why I’m here in London. Groups like Media140 will keep raising the bar. Q: How do you make sure that AKQA have their own strategy right? How much time do internal teams spend on this? A: I’m only “somewhat normal” remember! We’re having the same discussions everyone is. Most of AKQA’s engagements and client teams involve social media. Lots of internal dialogue. Should we have a dedicated 7
  8. 8. social media team or should it be a part of all groups? No answers yet, that’s something we’re working on. Q: Twitter is used very differently by the super- followed and the normal user. Does this impact the platform as a whole? A: The uses for the platform are just beginning to blossom. There are interesting start-ups everywhere. San Francisco bay company called StockTwits, sending out Real Time stock information. Up-to-the-minute. One of the fastest growing applications of Twitter. People are creating business opportunities using Twitter. Everyone will find a use for it that fits their needs: that’s the exciting thing about it. That’s also why I don’t understand Twitter haters. All you have to do is look around and see blossoming business opportunities. Twitter is 100 people and they are turning down billions of dollars. People who don’t care about Twitter: Google cares about Twitter. Facebook cares about Twitter. They are scared shitless. That’s why they want to write cheques to buy it. They want Twitter on their side. It’s inevitable that the platform leads to great ideas and great business opportunities. Finally: please follow @tombed so I can hit 5,000 users. Also please tweet what you had for breakfast with the #media140 hashtag, just to piss people off. Tom Bedecarré is CEO of AKQA. You can find him on Twitter as @tombed. Photos courtesy of Paul Clarke: 8