In a lively discussion today with a seasoned advertising executive he pressed me on one of his clients doesn't really need to DO TWITTER.
He had a clear reasoning. He had a savvy client who was obviously asking the right questions. He sort of understood Twitter in terms of his personal experience and interests.
"I mean, Lance Armstrong, I get that. I am a biker, and I understand why people would want to follow Lance's tweets. But my client just doesn't need to be on Twitter, right? I mean, they don't really have anything interesting to say. Why would I "follow" them?"
He was testing my knowledge a little and pressing me to make a case for Twitter as well. He genuinely wanted to know what Twitter could do for his client.
But the key to the dialogue was this: He was not a Twitter-er.
So the concern he voiced, "Why would I want to follow XXXX?" was a valid one from his point of view. [Valid from every point of view, of course, but particularly so in this case. His client flat out didn't like Twitter and the idea of Twitter seemed like something that would cut their margins.]
So how do you explain Twitter to the non-tweeter? How do you make a business case for Twitter to someone who not only doesn't get it, may have already decided that they don't NEED to get it.
What's to get? I started with my "There are four types of tweeters…" explanation but I could tell he was not interested in theory. I envisioned white boarding diagrams and building impassioned arguments, but he had moved on.
Another team member in the room actually came to my rescue with an example.
"Thundercloud Subs [a local sandwich shop like Subway] has a "follow us on twitter" link and a "join us on Facebook" link on their homepage. And every Thursday they tweet about a special sandwich."
We were still not tracking as a team. I felt it was time to reach across the aisle. [a political metaphor, but not politics!]
"So to you and me," I said, trying to establish a connection with MY potential client. "It's like email or RSS. If we want to get more information, or stay up to date with a site or a business we 'subscribe.' In many ways that's all Twitter and Facebook are. Ways to subscribe to the information from a business or a person. It's not like I think about it more than a second [I say as an avid tweeter myself] before clicking on the follow link. It's not really a big commitment or anything. I probably follow 20 – 30 tweeters a day. [more if I'm 'workin it.']
"So the question to the site visitor is, 'How would you like to get your information served up?' It's not IF we have a Facebook page or a Twitter account these days. Should every business have a Facebook page. NO. Should every business have a Twitter account? NO.
"But there are ALMOST always ideas where Twitter and Facebook could be part of an integrated online business campaign: ways that these tools can AD VALUE to the advertising and marketing that a company is already doing."
He seemed satisfied. If not with the idea that it COULD be done, but that I could, in fact, do it.
I guess we shall see in the coming days if I connected or merely hyped my way through the explanation of "WHY TWITTER."