Last week Forbes Insights , in association with Google, released a study showing that more than half of business executives under the age of 40 interact on micro-blogging platforms like Twitter.
The report, " The Rise of the Digital C-Suite: How Executives Locate and Filter Business Information ," showed that 32% of business executives under 40 read or generate microfeeds daily (dark blue in the chart below) and 24% do so several times a week (light blue in the chart below).
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is an example of this Twittering executive class. "We've decided that we want to embrace transparency as much as possible," 35-year-old Tony said.
So what does a company get from Twitter, according to Tony and the report?
Grow in Transparency
Companies use Twitter to both enhance their business transparency and enrich their personality. With 837,745 Twitter followers (as of today), Zappos is constantly building personal connections and interacting with employees and customers.
Yet Tony sees the site as much more than a networking platform. To him, Twitter has become a tool for personal growth that allows more transparency, positiveness, helpfulness and appreciation .
As a real-time social network, Twitter provides businesses with instant feedback. "We have over 400 employees on Twitter, and we've created a website that aggregates all mentions of Zappos," Tony explained.
This is definitely a modern information-gathering technique as the micro-blogging platform provides instant feedback and new insights. The Forbes study suggests that as digital natives, young executives are willing to "try new ways to access information" and, as a result, find an increasing value in the micro-blogging platform.
Open Communication Channels
Twitter also makes it possible for businesses to set up two-way tweeting communication. Like BatchBlue , a CRM (customer relationship manager) for small businesses, you can " provide another communication channel " for your customers.
Today, BatchBlue has 2,348 followers with whom it interacts. The company invites its followers to events, updates them about planned outages and requests feedback about ideas or product development. Its successful use of Twitter as a communication tool even got the company featured on " The Ultimate Small Business Twitter List ."
A Word of Warning: Understand Twitter Culture
Senior executives should understand Twitter culture in order to get involved in it efficiently. The Forbes report shows that Twitter is "almost non-existent" for CEOs over the age of 50. This data makes a clear statement about the generational split in terms of Twitter usage.
While younger executives are eager to experiment with this emerging social and technological phenomenon, senior executives don't feel as comfortable with it. The study attributes this generational split to a difference in information gathering approaches. In order to harness Twitter's marketing power, executives need to first understand its culture.Image Credit: Forbes
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