What Brands Want From A Twitter Client

After chatting with Loic today of Seesmic, we discussed what brands may want from Twitter.  It’s true, I’m getting more client calls from the world’s top brands about how to use tools like Twitter as a collective team. Based upon my discussions with them, here’s what I see are some key needs in:


What Brands Want In a Twitter Client:

Listening:

  • Ability to quickly scan what is being said about the brand, products, services, employees and competitors. Although difficult expect sentiment tools to appear that help brands with thousands of mentions manage the discussion.
  • Ability to understand who is saying what, and understand their influence.

Management:

  • Manage multiple accounts (Dell has about 35 seperate accounts) from a central team.
  • Enable employees to tweet from their account: BestBuy created a custom CMS systems that allows approved employees to tweet to the main BestBuy account with a specific hashtag

Workflow:

  • Triage incoming requests and topics to the appropriate teams for followup, much like a CRM system
  • Tag and flag these requests, denote and track who responded to what, when and what are the end results.

Integration:

  • These point solutions should integrate with other system such as brand monitoring, CRM systems
  • The savvy companies will aggregate the discussion in Twitter about their products on their corporate website, making them more relevant.  Zappos was an early adopter, yet Skittles went too far.

Conversing:

  • Enable multiple employees to post to single Twitter accounts (like a CMS system) some may have approval systems.
  • Keep track of which employee tweeted and when, build in workflow as global teams will need to work together to respond to customers.
  • Update: A few folks in the comments have requested a publishing timer, where folks could preschedule tweets.

Reporting:

  • Brands must be accountable of corporate resources, every resource is an investment and reports about time-to response, number of followers, number of mentions and sentiment will matter.
  • Be able to benchmark all of the above and deliver time based reports.

There’s a few companies that are emerging that can do bits and pieces of this, but I’ve yet to see anyone vendor meet this.  From the brand monitoring side, Radian 6 and to some degree Scoutlabs can do listening and workflow.  CoTweet and Hootsuite are often discussed in the corporate context, yet many personal usage is tied between Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop (formerly Twirl) and Peoplebrowser.

 Want more business case studies, I’ve read the proof of Twiterville by Shel Israel, it’s loaded with business case studies and written in a great story telling format, it’s going to be a desktop reference for me once it publishes. 

Although it’s Sunday, I’m on way up to San Francisco to the Twtrcon conference on the closing debate panel, where I’ll be arguing a contrarian position in Kara Swisher’s panel, I’ll make the case that Twitter doesn’t matter: instead we should focus on trends, and that Twitter is overhyped, I said the same thing at my 140TC keynote last week, Joe has the details.  Should be fun. 

Are you managing a corporate Twitter account? Leave a comment
Enough from me, what features to corporations want in Twitter clients, please leave your thoughts and needs below.

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