The Relationship between Social Branding and White Papers

April 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Industry Insights, Social Media, Twitter 

It’s interesting how the term “social” is being used in many different marketing activities these days, isn’t it? For example:

The term “Media” that was exclusively reserved for either Print, Broadcast, or Interactive forms now incorporates ‘social’ as in “Social Media” as with FaceBook, MySpace, and Twitter, among others.

The singular term “Branding” that was exclusively reserved for traditional marketing techniques in advertising or referral networking now incorporates the word ‘social’ to yield “Social Branding“.

What is the relationship between regular branding and Social Branding? According to the Marketing & Innovation Blog, this relationship is explained as:

“Brands and consumers are interdependence, an attribute that is enhanced to the extent that brands are animated, connected, distributed, networked, humanized, individualized and socialized. Brands are not just visual images and tag lines, they are the collective emotional response to images and experiences. In other words, a brand is not defined by the product or service, but rather the person who uses it, talks about and engages other with it defines it.”

In other words, one cannot achieve branding without some ‘social’ component, therefore the connection between “Social Branding” and “Social Media” is very strong. As this blog points out, as we become a more ‘tethered’ society with our cell phones, Blackberries, and iPhones, this ‘social’ component with information will become a more regular and familiar part of our lives:

Instead of passivity, the experience flow of tomorrow will be characterized by immediacy, flexibility, portability, permeability, fluidity, interactivity, mashability and ownerability (these are Morgan’s words). With the emergence and convergence of the mobile phone, the Internet and location-based-systems, consumers also have immediate access to co-workers, friends and family members, involvement and consumer connections.

How do white papers fit into this equation? Good question. Here’s my view:

White papers have historically been viewed as part of the traditional branding space. We used to produce a white paper to enhance a brand, but distribute it among traditional ‘static’ outlets, such as print, direct mail, websites, or email attachments. As social media becomes more commonplace, white papers will become another part of the “Social Media” fabric. For any niche group collaborating via Social Media, it will become an increasingly easy and common way for a group to link, share, and download white papers that reinforce discussion topics.

For example, if you collaborate with a healthcare Twitter group, distributing white papers on health care will become an easy, and free way to get detailed information to this targeted group, and more than a mere 140 characters can support. Yes, one can link a Tweet to a website, but given the demands on our time and attention, having a PDF viewable on a iPhone that was downloaded from Twitter seems like a much better way to assimilate information in line with your available time.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at how many white papers are being referenced in Social Media links such as Twitter. I’ve just started making a list of these in my Friday Free White Paper List, and each week the number of freely downloadable white papers continues to grow. I can only expect that this number will increase as the need to enhance Branding via Social Media becomes a core part of Social Branding.

I believe that White papers will become the de-facto vehicle that will make this happen. What do you think?

BTW- This relationship between information, time, and attention is key part of my free newsletter, “Short Attention Marketing Tips“, which you can sign up for via this link.

Is Scribd/iPaper the New White Paper Standard?

If you’ve been following my blog over the past several weeks, you’ve noticed a new weekly feature, “Free White Papers of the Week”. This is a synopsis of the free white papers that I have found and ReTweeted via Twitter over the course of a 7 day period.

Most of the white papers that I find are in PDF format and each are downloaded from the provider’s website, a practice that has been followed for distributing white papers for as long as I can remember. But now I am starting to see a trend that may represent a new direction for the distribution of white papers, and may replace the practice of downloading the single PDF file.

It is by a website called using a technology they call iPaper. Yes, this has been around for some time, but really hasn’t gained a lot of attention and widespread use until now. Could it be that Social Media is one of the factors driving the Scribd/iPaper phenomena? Perhaps. is akin to an online document/ebook library. By signing up for the service, you are allowed to upload any document, whether that is in PDF, or other common formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OpenOffice, Postscript, etc. They also accept several additional formats that you can see from this list.

Once the document is uploaded, it is viewed with the iPaper viewer, an embedded viewer that is similar to embedding a YouTube or homemade video on your blog. It does involved a little technical knowledge to embed the viewer, but if you’re familiar with manipulating basic HTML code for your blog, this shouldn’t be a difficult practice. Once completed the document can be viewed from a website or blog and the viewer is provided with several additional features such as text enlargement, bookmarking, sharing, discussions, etc. For more information on the steps necessary to accomplish this, please visit this link.

Once a white paper has been embedded into your blog or website, it looks like this sample white paper below: (BTW-the size of the viewer window can be adjusted):

SEO for Recruiting White Paper

Publish at Scribd or explore others: Business & Law seo employment

The Scribd/iPaper combination solves several common problems that white paper marketers have faced for some time with the traditional practice of distributing PDF files:

1. Centrality – allows you to use an HTML link to redirect your reader to a central, frequently accessed area for both viewing and downloading the white paper.

2. Previewing – allows a reader to preview and white paper and see if the content meets their expectation before having to download the complete white paper.

3. Storing - Since the file has been uploaded to, it eliminates the need to storing and organize a vast number of white papers on your local hard drive. This is especially handy for smart phone users such as iPhone and Blackberry, that have very limited storage capacity on these devices.

4. Searching/Referencing – allows a reader to search for a title or content description to quickly find a particular white paper rather than at a local computer or server level. You can also accumulate your favorite white papers using their MyScribd tab. This is handy if you need to pass along a favorite or impressive white paper to a co-worker or client.

Is the combination of and iPaper the future of white paper distribution? No one can tell, but the site and technology is very easy to use and convenient.

One thing that Scribd may do is unseat the Adobe PDF format as the standard way of viewing and distributing white papers. Since the viewer can display a variety of common formats, marketers may not be the need to rely on the PDF format for their white paper needs. As we become increasingly tethered to the Internet on a 24×7 basis, options like Scribd/iPaper make a heck of a lot of sense.

What do you think? Is this the future way to distribute white papers?

When a White Paper does more Harm than Good

cover1You would have to be the modern equivalent of Rip Van Winkle not to have seen any of Apple’s successful ‘Duo’ campaign with the Mac guy versus the Windows guy. In Apple’s own humorous way, the commercials point out the many limitations of Windows Vista computers that Microsoft would prefer remain unknown.

Now after many years of Apple bashing, Microsoft has decided to strike back. In addition their recent TV ad campaigns called “I’m a PC” and “Find Your Perfect PC”, they have also released a white paper through a third-party consultant.

This particular white paper has been has been garnering a lot of attention lately for both the author and for Microsoft. It’s written by EndPoint Technology Associates’ author Roger Kay, and is entitled, “What Price Cool? Users may know they pay more for Mac hardware, but much of the “Apple Tax” is hidden.” The white paper compares the cost of ownership between a Mac and PC, but contains many factually incorrect statements, which impacts one of the central tenants of a good white paper… credibility.

According to a recent article from, here’s a statement from the white paper that negatively impacts its credibility:

You would think that for an industry watcher with Kay’s experience, making side-by-side comparisons would be relatively easy. But as several of Apple’s defenders have pointed out, Kay seems unable to keep his fingers off the scale. No one would mistake Roger Kay’s white paper for objective statement of the facts. It’s a tendentious piece of work, dripping with sarcasm. Take, for example, this paragraph from the section that briefly summarizes the history of personal computers:

“All during this time, even in the darkest of ages, when Apple hung onto a 2% share with its fingernails, the Mac community held vigil. Their inner belief was sheltered against the cold wind of market sentiment by secret thoughts that they were, well, better. Fewer crashes, less clutter, and, as time wore on, fewer viruses. But it was more than that, the Mac was just more elegantly done, nay, cooler.”

There are a couple of lessons to be learned from the Roger Kay white paper experience:

1. High Profile Means Greater Scrutiny - If you have a ‘high profile’ client like Microsoft, make sure every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed. In this case, make sure the facts you use in your white paper are accurate and can be backed up from credible ‘third-party’ unbiased sources. To use less than credible material will only serve to degrade both your and your clients’ credibility. Also understand that such a white paper will probably be closely scrutinized by thousands of readers that have the ‘long knives’ out for your client. You don’t want make a grammatical mistake or inaccurate fact provide ammunition for your clients’ enemies.

2. Don’t Inject Personal Opinion – No matter your personal beliefs, the use of personal or biased opinion can harm your credibility and that of your white paper. In doing so, you run the risk of being known for your bias, a risk that can harm future business with other clients. This is the case when a white paper goes viral as with the Endpoint example. Instead of generating lots of positive impressions, the white paper creates a negative backlash. As the article points out:

No one would mistake Roger Kay’s white paper for objective statement of the facts. It’s a tendentious piece of work, dripping with sarcasm. Take, for example, this paragraph from the section that briefly summarizes the history of personal computers:

“All during this time, even in the darkest of ages, when Apple hung onto a 2% share with its fingernails, the Mac community held vigil. Their inner belief was sheltered against the cold wind of market sentiment by secret thoughts that they were, well, better. Fewer crashes, less clutter, and, as time wore on, fewer viruses. But it was more than that, the Mac was just more elegantly done, nay, cooler.”

The negative buzz that has been generated as a result of this white paper probably has done more harm than Microsoft ever expected. By allowing such a tainted white paper to be released to the general public, it has given those who are sympathetic to Apple, more ammo that can be used against Microsoft, and probably generated more sales for Macs as a result.

The moral of this story is clear: If you don’t have credible facts, it’s best not to choose white papers to market your product or service. It may end up doing your brand or company more harm than good!

What’s your opinion on this issue? Do you think this white paper does more harm than good for the author and/or for Microsoft?

Does Frequency Diminish Online Effectiveness?

youtube-small1For years, we have heard countless numbers of Internet experts tell us that frequency is the single most important factor for online marketing effectiveness. Getting “eyeballs” on your website, Blog, Facebook, or Twitter page, as they would say, was gained via the frequent posting of quality online content. Repeat your message over and over again, and you’ll get the eyeballs you need that can be leveraged into other profit-generating activities.

Now one perspective would have us believe that this concept has been a lot of “hooey”.

The article in question was posted to the website entitled, “The depressing truth about web stardom“. Before I scare you away thinking that this is an article for guys in white lab coats with ink-stained pocket protectors, it actually has some thought-provoking points that you may find interesting.

The study is based on the findings of two researchers, Fang Wu and Bernardo Huberman, at HP Labs in Palo Alto, CA., that studied the hit rates of some 10 million videos uploaded by 600,000 users to YouTube before 30 April 2008. They classified ‘success’ as a video that was among the top 1 per cent of videos that had been viewed. Their findings suggest that “the more frequently an individual uploads content the less likely it is that it will reach a success threshold.”

What is less than clear is why this happens. After all, whether it is a YouTube video, regular blog posts, white papers, or Twitter feeds, any Internet user that performs an online activity with enough frequency, would clearly get better at the task and attract a larger online audience, right? In this case, one would think that producing a lot of videos for YouTube, the marketer would get better at video editing and uploading, yielding better video content, and a larger online audience, right?

The article goes on to provide a hypothesis to the researcher’s claim of diminished returns:

Based on Wu and Huberman’s findings: “when a producer submits several videos over time, their novelty and hence their appeal to a wide audience tends to decrease.” A more puzzling question is why the producers persist in the face of declining audience figures. Here Wu and Huberman are a little more convincing. They argue that like gamblers, video producers overestimate the chance of winning when the probabilities are small.

Here’s my perspective on this issue:

Online marketing success isn’t just about frequency. It’s also about updating content with fresh, new, and increasingly more interesting information. If it’s just as much about what goes into the content as doing the same old stuff over and over again. While eating steak may be exciting during the first meal, after about two weeks of eating it every day, you may find yourself yearning for a nice fresh salad.

But, the central premise is still in force in my opinion. Repetition will grow an initial audience for your online content. How you improve that content over time will decide whether you keep that audience or lose it.

As for the findings of Wu and Huberman, they may be right, but they didn’t dig deep enough to uncover the real reasons for viewer dissatisfaction.

What’s your perspective? Do you think repetition increases or decreases online effectiveness?

5 Ways to Clearly Differentiate Your White Paper

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: WP Marketing 

HEEEEEEEELP! (serie)As the number of white papers in any market segment grows, there will also be a need for a company to differentiate their paper from those of their competition. After all that’s the competitive nature of business. Do you really want to distribute a similar type of white paper when everyone else is also doing the same thing? Of course not.

So in this spirit of fostering a healthier competitive environment, there are five ways you can differentiate your white paper when you find that your competitors are also creating their own white papers:

1. By Content – Clearly the content in your white paper is the best way to provide a unique differentiation. Even in a crowded industry, such as technology, there are always new industry issues, updates, development approaches, and changing customer requirements that can offer a host of unique white paper topics and marketing opportunities. To use content as a differentiator, become known as the authority in that particular niche space, so your prospective customers will build a path to your door (or website in this case) and become regular white paper subscribers.

2. By Design – Using an altered version of that old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand views“, design is a great way to differentiate your white paper amid a crowded field of text-only clones. Adding a professional layout and/or incorporating graphics such as concept, workflow, or business charts not only will help you deliver key messages across to your target audience, but they will also help you gain a larger audience. Think about it: If given a choice between a plain, text-only white paper and a professionally designed graphic version, which one do you think your time-constrained business executive will read first?

3. By Size – Altering the size of your white paper is another way of providing differentiation in a crowded white paper field. But this method carries a double-edge. Providing either too little or too much content can have a negative impact on your reader and the ultimate effectiveness of your white paper. You could create a series of short white papers in the 4-6 page range, but with that approach, there is a risk that your white paper will only have enough room to discuss your solution and its advantages. This will come across as a “sales message” turning off many of your readers. On the other hand, covering every nook and cranny by creating a 15 page tome, will put your reader to sleep. If you notice your competition distributing white papers that are too short or too long, you can offer a size in the recommended 6-10 page range that concisely provides them with industry dynamics, business challenges, and solution advantages associated with the topic.

4. By Tone – Tone refers to the way in which content is delivered, which can range from “business serious” to “casually conversational”. While most white papers take the “business serious” tone, many companies prefer the “casually conversational” version which facilities content delivery of the reader. Many magazines such as Business Week, Inc., Time, or Newsweek often take the conversational approach with their business content. But be careful because the use of humor in a casual tone can sometimes go overboard leading to offended readers. If this occurs, you will differentiate yourself, but in a way that you never intended…by turning off your base of readers!

5. By Technology – Finally technology is another great way to differentiate your white paper. Who says that your white paper has to be a PDF file? You can also provide a podcast, video podcast, PowerPoint presentation, PowerPoint with narration, or offer to send your prospective reader a printed version of the white paper via direct mail or upon request. Executives that receive a bound, color printed version of a professionally designed white paper will be hesitant to throw it away so quickly. The longer it stays on their desk, the greater the likelihood that they will read it from cover to cover, or at least send it to another decision maker within the corporation.

Oh yes, and don’t forget to use Social Media technology such as Twitter and Facebook to differentiate the distribution of that white paper as well!

Twitter from the Technology Executive’s Perspective

April 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Social Media, Twitter 

twitterPart of the problem with Twitter is its perception. To those unfamiliar with the medium, it has the connotation of a network of people with nothing better to do with their time than exchange mindless trivia.

But as Twitter gains in popularity, business executives are becoming increasingly curious about its benefits. On in a blog post from CTO/CIO Perspectives, entitled “Getting” Twitter from the technology executive’s perspective, several advantages are listed that help executives better understand the validity of the medium:

  • Probably 90% of Twitter users produce little more than drivel. But, you don’t need to follow any of those 90%.
  • Messages, by virtue of the 140-character limit, are pithier, hence more scannable. Brevity is the soul of twit. (I can’t be the first person to say that).
  • Topic areas are more findable, prunable, and groupable, leading to an incredible and still-growing abundance of Twitter utilities and after-market products to help people divide, search, conquer.
  • Twitter, used properly, is much less subject to the incursion of advertising (or pure inanity) that plagues nearly everything else on the net: you can (and should) customize the people you follow for maximum utility. It’s so much easier to simply unfollow someone who turns out to be a spammer or a fool than it is to, say, unsubscribe from a typical email blast stream. It’s your action that does the unfollowing, not theirs.

In addition, the blogger references the term “mindcasting”, which can help executives separate the Twitter wheat from the Twitter chaff:

“Mindcasting” is the term that I find most applicable to Twitter. Through Twitter, I get to tap into the minds of people I find useful, people who are willing to share, via this new medium, their perspective and interests. Those whose tweets prove interesting and useful, I keep following. Those who don’t, get dropped, and that’s OK.

Is Twitter the “pot of gold” within social media that finally gets influential business executives to jump on board that blogging, Facebook, and Linkedin couldn’t achieve? Only time will tell.

One thing is for sure. Having a maximum of 140 characters certainly appeals to their short attention span.

How about Retweeting Your PDF White Paper?

April 9, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Twitter, WP Components, WP Marketing 

For most business marketers that embrace the white paper medium, its been fairly common to include contact information on the back page.

This typically includes one or more of the following pieces of information:

Company Name
Website URL
Blog URL
Email Address

But what about a corporate Twitter address? Shouldn’t this be included as well? I think so.

As the Twitter community exponentially grows, it becomes an increasingly smart move to include a Twitter address along with contact information on the back page of your white paper. It is even smarter if your white paper is in a PDF format.

Now if your white papers have been printed, there’s little you can do but manually link it to your Twitter address. But as a PDF it becomes essential since the PDF format has become the defacto standard for all white papers.

Imagine this: You’ve finished your white paper and saved it as a PDF file. There’s a check box in the Save Options that allows you to add a ReTweet button to the PDF file (along with populating that option with your Twitter name) . Once saved as PDF, that button appears on every copy of your white paper. If your file is passed along to other readers the ReTweet button travels with it. After all, isn’t the goal of producing a white paper, getting it into as many hands as possible? Such an option for Adobe Acrobat would be one of the best ways to accomplish this.

In fact, I’d like to see Apple add this to their print options since MacOS X allows a user to save any document as a PDF file.

There seems to be some plugins for WordPress on this, but to my knowledge there isn’t anything out there that could be added to a PDF file that would allow a reader to post a ReTweet on basic information about that white paper to Twitter. I have to believe that Adobe must be working on this, given their commitment to Twitter via the TweetDeck application.

Sounds like a good addition to the next version of Acrobat Professional. Hopefully Adobe is smarter than I am and is feverishly working on this.

5 Steps to a Great White Paper Introduction


It’s often been said that “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” This is certainly the case with your white paper introduction.

With that said, here are five steps to improving your white paper introductions that will garner greater reader affinity and effectiveness:

1. Don’t Assume Your Reader Knows What You Know

Many white paper writers make the mistake of assuming the reader knows basic core issues related to the topic. In many instances, your potential reader may be an influential business executive that is in charge of a purchase decision, but is under-informed on key principles. As a result, spend a few more lines describing the current state of your market, industry, or business issue contributing to your primary white paper topic. This extra effort may just buy you some additional brownie points in the minds of your reader, prospective customer, and ultimate decision maker.

2. Provide a Flow that Goes From Broad to Narrow

To make the biggest impact with your reader, the flow of your white paper should be akin to a good novel. As a result, set the stage in your reader’s mind to the existing business situation. Talk about broad industry issues then move on to more specific points of interest.

For example, if I were writing a white paper on a wireless network security solution, the content flow for the Introduction would look something like this:

- Online crime is on the rise (hackers, viruses, Trojan Horses, phishing schemes).
- Online security threats cost users billions of dollars in lost information and productivity.
- Existing security solutions can’t provide the level of security that enterprises need to protect sensitive business information.
- Enterprise customers need new robust security solutions based on 128-bit dynamic encryption.

3. Validate Your Point with Statistics and Quotes

Let’s face it. Most readers are born skeptics. Even though your descriptions of a particular business situation may sound fairly logical, the fact that a commercial business is writing about the issue automatically creates skepticism.

The Introduction page is one area where you need to build credibility early in the education process. To overcome the potential for skepticism, you need to add a statistic, quote, or statement from a leading industry new or information source that your reader will deem credible. Such validations build credibility for your main point and make the process of telling your solution story easier for your reader.

4. Use an Visual Element to Gain Greater Reader Attention

If you use a visual element such as a sidebar callout, pull quote, or business/concept graphic, it will be one of the first things your reader will notice on the Introduction page. Make sure the element you choose represents the single most important point on that page that will draw your reader’s attention and incent them to read the rest of the white paper.

In our example above the sentence I would select the sentence, “Existing security solutions can’t provide the level of security that enterprise need to protect sensitive business information”, as my callout or pull quote.

5. State What the Reader will Gain

This final point may seem instinctive, but you’d be surprised how many white papers don’t bother to tell the reader what they will gain once they have completed the paper. You don’t have to give away the farm on this point, but simply tell the reader in a generic fashion what benefit will be gained if they invest the time to read your white paper. For example:

“This white paper will educate CIOs to the network security advantages that can be gained from the deployment of dynamic, 12-bit encryption security devices within the enterprise information infrastructure.”

Twitter: The Ultimate Short-Attention Medium

April 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Social Media, Twitter 

twitter-tweetIs one of the reasons for Twitter’s success it’s appeal to our short attention span? As a related topic: Could Twitter be a replacement for the traditional newspaper?

That’s the question posed by a blog post on the UK Social Media Club entitled, “Could a Newspaper Go Twitter Only?”:

Consider the ramifications of Twitter as media. I’ve heard large American newspaper editors say that Twitter is best utilized for reporting breaking news. And that reporting is usually coming from citizen journalists, not college graduated journalists.

The idea seemed so off-the-wall and ridiculous — a 188 year-old publication such as the UK Gardian moving completely to digital delivery — and yet so intriguingly interesting. Could reporters really report the news in only 140 characters? How would that effect in-depth reporting?

It’s worth reading the Guardian’s post just to see the examples they give of how they could report the news in 140 characters.

Truth be told, our short attention spans are well suited for the 140 character rule. It’s no longer about an elevator speech. It’s about grabbing attention and telling your story in 140 characters or less

I think there’s something to this idea. No more newspapers at the morning breakfast table, just our Blackberries/iPhones reading the Twitter feeds as they come in.

Think about it. Currently most of us who still read newspapers only read the headlines. Very few with lots of time on their hands read the entire article. So what’s so terrible about using Twitter as the new newspaper?

Think that’s why Google wants to buy it? Oh, yeah.

What’s your view?

BTW- If you’d like to learn more about Short-Attention Marketing, simply subscribe to my monthly newsletter by clicking here.

Four Ways Enterprises are Using Twitter

April 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: social marketing, Twitter 

gartnerI haven’t spent a lot of time with Twitter, but in the few months that I have been online with this new and growing medium, it seems that the bulk of participation has come from individuals and SMB (small to medium) businesses. Sure there have been a smattering of large technology-centric companies such as HP, Oracle, Adobe, etc., but it seems that most of the Fortune 1000 have yet to actively participate and incorporate Twitter as a legitimate component of their marketing strategies.

Now industry leading analyst, Gartner, has weighed in with an interesting article entitled, “Four Ways in Which Enterprises are using Twitter” that serves to educate those enterprises that are still squeamish about dipping their toe into the social media water. According to the article, Gartner had these comments:

Twitter is primarily aimed at individuals, so it is not imperative for every corporation to be actively participating at an official level. However, the popular impact of microblogging is leading many companies to explore how they could use it. In addition to the individual use of Twitter, Gartner has identified four different ways in which companies are making use of the Twitter application: direct, indirect, internal, and signaling.

Direct — The company uses Twitter as a marketing or public relations channel
Many companies have established Twitter identities as part of their corporate communications strategies, much like corporate blogs. They Tweet about corporate accomplishments, distributing links to press releases or promotional Web sites, and respond to other Twitterers’ comments about the brand. Gartner maintains that this approach should be used with caution because uninteresting or self-serving Tweets could hinder the brand image as much as it could help. Responding to comments can be particularly risky, as the anonymous nature of Twitter can easily descend into a negative spiral. Gartner recommends that at a minimum, companies should register Twitter IDs for their major brand names to prevent others claiming them and using them inappropriately.

Indirect — The company’s employees use Twitter to enhance and extend their personal reputations, thereby enhancing the company’s reputation
Good Twitterers enhance their personal reputation by saying clever, interesting things, attracting many followers who go on to read their blogs. As people enhance their personal brands, some of this inevitably rubs off on their employers. Twitter provides a way of raising the profile of both individuals and the organizations they work for, which elevates these companies that want to be seen to employ influential leaders.

Internal — Employees use the platform to communicate about what they are doing, projects they are working on and ideas that occur to them
In most cases, Gartner does not recommend using Twitter or any other consumer microblogging service in this way, because there is no guarantee of security. It is crucial that employees understand the limitations of the platform and never discuss confidential matters, because as a seemingly innocuous Tweet about going to see a particular client can tip off a competitor. Other providers, such as Yammer and, provide Twitter-like functions targeted at enterprise microblogging with more security and corporate control.

Inbound Signaling
Twitter streams provide a rich source of information about what customers, competitors and others are saying about a company. Search tools like or the twhirl application can scan for references to particular company or product names. Savvy companies use these signals to get early warnings of problems and collect feedback about product issues and new product idea

Will Twitter be yet another corporate flash in the pan? Maybe, but only time will tell us if Twitter becomes a full-fledged part of large enterprise marketing plans.

The question will be HOW will they use it to their advantage? The answer can be found with short versus long-term dedication.

If they are able to create specialists within their organizations that fully embrace social media over several years, many will find it can provide a significant payback that was previously lacking with other social marketing efforts. On the other hand if it is evaluated for one quarter, (as most corporate marketing campaigns), then it will fail just as quickly as as one line Tweet!

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