Twitter, founded in 2006, has not exactly been profitable. According to its first public financial statement, the company lost $79.4 million in 2012 (and $164 million in 2011, and $67 million in 2010.) Tell that to Wall Street. The social media platform had its initial public offering at $26 per share, yet closing by more than 73% above its IPO price.
Through its backend algorithms and frontend suggestions, Twitter is enabling unprecedented communication. A good part of the company's $24.9 billion valuation, though, depends on enterprises - big and small and across all verticals. Companies use this real-time platform to deliver a wide-range of B2B and B2C messages to reach an otherwise expensive and hard-to-find audience.
And Twitter's hyper-targeted B2C mobile advertising is said to have greater potential than Facebook. Notably, despite the overall losses, ad revenue has increased, primarily because of mobile advertising (which accounts for 65%). In addition, out of the 218 million users each month, most (75%) are accessing the platform from a mobile device.
On The Mark
Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter, publicly said today that the cash raised (a hefty $1.82 billion) will be poured back into the business. The company could not be reached for comment when asked if and how they will target enterprises in 2014.
In any event, 140 characters have been responsible for literally delivering both history and meaningless nonsense, but in the world of business, social media – and Twitter in particular - has become a core part of strategy.
In response to an inquiry by Mobile Enterprise, Christopher Ray, Digital Marketing Director, LG Electronics USA, noted that the smartphone manufacturer has seen strong positive reactions from experts and consumers alike on Twitter, many of whom go on to promote the LG brand and latest flagship devices.
“Within social, we’ve seen both our followers and fans of smartphone technology praise these devices. That’s really important, because LG designs smartphones with these users in mind,” Ray said. (Building on 2013 success, he noted, starts with the right products, which are “rooted in user needs rather than technology for technology’s sake.”)
But in addition to creating buzz and product evangelists, can twitter campaigns provide actionable insight?
“Twitter has proven strong at fostering buzz and conversation, and also at targeting our key audience with relevant messaging,” Ray responded. “Because Twitter has become such a powerful tool for social TV viewing, LG’s also seen success in reaching users while viewing TV and tweeting. This has given us actionable insights around how users are interacting with our advertising.”
Mobile Enterprise asked Arby’s how the successful sandwich chain uses Twitter to interact with customers. Josh Martin, Manager, Social Media, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., replied by email.
“Engagement with our guests via Twitter has been a top priority and key component of a broader digital and social strategy,” he said. “We believe we’ve built a solid foundation of creating relevant, interesting content that sparks enjoyable conversation and interaction among our guests.”
Arby’s has also increased email signs up through promoted tweets. In addition to lead generation, can the platform help the company build momentum for new menu items? Or possibly, even help create them?
“Absolutely,” Martin replied. “We’re constantly listening to what our guests are tweeting about our brand and our menu items. Then we’re taking that information and using it to inform our marketing calendar. For example, we discovered through social listening that our guests were requesting to purchase our Signature Sauces in a bottle and we were able to turn that request into reality this month.”
Tweet Today, Tweet Tomorrow
In today's corporate world, success involves real-time access, flexibility and scale. Twitter might have had a great day in the stock market, but it's overall success depends on how the company can help other companies perform. .
And while it’s not certain what the stock will close at next week or next month, one thing is clear: companies are currently using the platform not just to build brand awareness but take it further: gain insight which leads to action. Will Twitter extend the conversation?