Skip to content

Free to tweet what I want, any old time

February 13, 2009

(This is a guest post from @PeterJBorrelli a colleague at Eric Mower and Associates.)

Earlier this week on the Twitter Blog, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone confirmed that Twitter will remain a free service, amidst swirling rumors that Twitter would begin charging businesses that run corporate branded feeds. Stone said:

“Twitter will remain free to use by everyone – individuals, companies, celebrities, etc.”

The assurance that it will remain free should provide the impetus – as if any more was needed – for brands that haven’t done so yet to dip their “twill” in the “twink” and start tweeting. As discussed right here on this blog, Twitter can and should be an important component of any company’s communications toolbox.

Regarding the potential fee based add-on services that Twitter could provide in the future, Stone said:

“We are still very early in the idea stage and we don’t have anything to share just yet despite a recent surge in speculation.”

This has me wondering, if I represented a business, and I’m currently paying nothing to use Twitter, effectively interacting with customers and industry members or enacting promotions, what type of add-on services would want badly enough to pay for?

The problem I think that the Twitter team might run into is that increasingly, brands are making a positive connection via tools like Twitter by providing their audience first and foremost with content that’s appealing to them.

In his post on Mashable this week, Rick Burnes of Hubspot points this out:

“Smart businesses like 37 Signals, Whole Foods…are beginning to produce content that’s less about their product and more about topics that their customers gravitate to.”

I hope that whatever Twitter develops, they’re keeping this in mind, and creating tools to help businesses provide followers of their brand with even more meaningful, relevant content.

It’s a difficult balance – Twitter would obviously like to make money from the very popular and useful service they provide, but I’m afraid that offering some type of, let’s say, enhanced premium account that allows your brand’s logo to appear on the page of anyone that tweets a particular word, might not be received that well by followers that are becoming more used to interacting with content that’s simply enjoyable, and more adept at filtering out content that feels like advertising.

Twitter has allowed the company to be the medium, and prosper in that role. I absolutely want Biz’s biz to prosper too, so they can continue to provide us with this great service, but can anyone surmise what type of add-on services Twitter might be working on, and asking users to pay for down the road, that achieves the same goal more effectively?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2009 11:53 am

    I could see businesses paying for some advanced tools. Especially if they provided extended statistics with graphs and charts. Maybe allowing extended customization of the company’s profile page as well.

  2. February 13, 2009 12:02 pm

    Offering extended statistics is a great idea. We’re running one Twitter feed for a client right now, and I have no way to figure out how to show any type of metrics beyond, “Oh look, we got four replies on January 18th!”

    If they had anything similar to the “Insights” metrics from Facebook pages, I’m sure businesses would pay for it. Especially businesses like ours, where the cost would probably just be incorporated into what we charge our client.

    Good call!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: