This week's FirstRain's announcement of FirstTweets a solution for B2B users delivering "business-quality Twitter intelligence on thousands of global companies, industries and topics relevant to the specific business lines of your customers, industry and competitors"- was an exciting one for our team and our customers.
I have been on a couple of client calls where we previewed this new content stream and across the board the enthusiasm and spark of ideas around FirstTweets from them has been very inspiring. These are companies of all sizes across various industries- some that have been extremely active supporters of using Social Media as part of their strategies (e.g. Customer Care centers, tech support, brand monitoring etc) and others that are just starting out.
For example, some of these companies have tried to use their existing social media monitoring and measuring tools to 'push' relevant business content to their sales team, but none have been able to crack the code using their existing systems that are great for monitoring their own brands and customers using keywords- but can not deliver precise business focused content on thousands of companies and industries that their salesforce covers or their market intelligence teams needs to keep track of competitors and new business trends. Some have tried other 'sales intelligence' solutions that push social media buzz into their CRM systems- all based on keywords with low hit business relevancy results- turning off most users.
Now i have been an active user of Twitter for a bit over 5 years, just when the little twitter bird began chirping. i use Twitter outbound and to listen quite a bit. I would estimate that i have spent hundreds of hours, curating content, selecting people to follow (and unfollow!) , creating lists, monitoring client issues, company employees and general news. i am one of those 9% of digital news consumers that sees the news Break on Twitter.
I use Twitter effectively and teach others how to at any chance i get- but hundreds of hours of my time has been invested, and will continue to be since Twitter is not a set it and leave it information flow.
Is that the level of time investment that most companies want for their employees that are not responsible for monitoring and measuring social media??? Do companies want staff especially Sales who can benefit greatly from business intelligence found in Twitter- spending the same amount of time i have over the years??
I would venture to say no.
Now, i think that EVERY employee should consider using Twitter to engage with their peers in their industry, their customers and of course their friends and family- but i don't think the processes that i have developed over the years is sustainable for most sales and marketing people- especially as your markets become more competitive and the budget dollars to spend on the solutions you sell decrease.
And that is where i see the biggest promise for FirstTweets- delivering intelligence to better understand your customers' end-markets, strengthen relationships and improve overall sales strategy.
The customers i have talked to agree.
Note: Today April 18th is the official launch to existing FirstRain customers, i have been using FirstTweets in our Sandbox environment for about two weeks- and have found many gems that i would never have found using the various tools i use in my Twitter day to day use- so it wasn't built for "me"- but i sure will benefit from it!