Twitter has launched a how-to guide for business users looking to engage with customers on the social media site, in what looks like the first step in a drive to monetise the site.
Twitter 101 launched earlier in the day following co-founder Biz Stone’s (pictured) announcement at a conference in California, aimed at teaching audiences how to best take advantages of Twitter’s services.
It features case studies from brands such as Dell, Tasti D Lite and Coffee Groundz, recounting how they’ve allowed consumers to order products online or contact customer relations desks.
According to reports, Twitter uploaded the guide both to draw businesses to the site and retain these users in the long run.
The launch comes one month after Stone told Media that he wants brands to start paying for the unique service that the site provides, eventually making the site profitable.
“The idea is that the commercial users pay for extra value. So they can still get the basic service for free, but if they want more, they pay,” Stone said at the time. “It would send out a signal that we’re building a company of enduring value.”
Stone noted that “people keep telling us we need to be in China”, but getting businesses in the market to rely on the service may be a difficult sell. Twitter has recently been subject to blocks whereby users cannot access the site. Earlier this month, Twitter was inaccessible nationwide following the large-scale rioting in Xinjiang province.
However, Barney Loehnis, regional network director of Isobar - which launched a social media tracking platform through its wwwins Consulting arm earlier this month - points out that the benefits of understanding the platform, as well as other forms of social media, shouldn’t be neglected in China because businesses still stand to benefit from their presence in the market.
“When it comes to China, I think you definitely have to go for it. China’s a really important market from any business’s point of view, and it would take an extreme payment model to make it not worth it,” Loehnis said.
Outside of China, Loehnis said a fee for roughly US$100 or less to either register a branded ID to use on Twitter or pay once a month would be worthwhile for businesses to pay and would provide a “pretty solid revenue stream” for the company.
Twitter claims more than 17 million users, with Stone pointing out that the site’s most active corporate users are Dell, JetBlue and Whole Foods, with almost one million followers.
The site has also provided a new outlet for online and print publications, including Media, which has approximately 7,000 followers.