How 4 Technology Startups Make Use of Twitter

startups using twitterTechnology startups were one of the earliest adopters of Twitter.com. Fueled by the South By South West excitement back in 2007, the Twittersphere became a buzzing community of geeks.

Now in 2010 things have changed. Oprah and Ashton Kutcher have bought the mainstream crowds into Twitter and the dynamics of the conversation have changed from the geeky to the “pulse of society”.

For this post, I want to take a lot at how technology startups are currently making use of Twitter.

I’ve chosen to profile four startups I discovered through LinkedIn.

My criteria for my choices were that (according to LinkedIn data):

– The company had between 0-500 employees

– Developed and produced technology solutions

I hope in the comments you’ll be able to share other technology startups you follow on Twitter.

This is not a representation of the legal perspective of their usage (i.e Data protection laws, copyright), I’m merely looking at how each company is choosing to engage and provide value to their community.

XING- (@XING_com)

Xing is an active European professional social network based in Hamburg, Germany. The @Xing_Com account (as of writing) is currently followed by 676 and follows 244.

The company appears to have opted to use @Xing_Com as its main hub.

The account clearly has some human presence behind it as each update is signed off with a person’s initials. I certainly have seen in my experience that this type of account works well. Look at @VodafoneUK and @Ford for great examples of this.

The account is updated fairly frequently, averaging about 2-3 updates every few weeks.

It’s certainly appears to be more of a place that XING seems to inform customers about new company updates and website maintenance etc.

However, it tries to throw in a mix of replies with company updates. Personally, I think this a problem for the account. It doesn’t really show the primary reason for a user to follow the account.

Of course, I don’t know the metrics and click-through that Xing gets from this account, but I would think that the mix perhaps wasn’t working in it’s favor.

If they want to provide a real-time customer service support account, they should really focus solely on that.

Total Immersion – (@totalimmersion)

Total Immersion is a company based in Paris, France that develops augmented reality software. The @TotalImmersion account (as of writing) is currently followed by 2,303 and is following 2,254.

This account certainly seems to be more automated with most of the updates being sent from WordPress.com and Hootsuite. Unfortunately, this causes a rather one sided story to be told. Each automated update is usually some form of press release on the companies latest mention in the news or product developments.

On the other hand they do certainly value the community who helps them to grow by developing an automatic “Thanks for the mention @Twitterusername” policy. I do like when companies do this. It shows that they value how others are helping them to grow brand and product awareness on the Twitter network. I see folks such as @ScottGould and @appetiteforgood who also operate this policy.

Viadeo  – (@Viadeo)

Viadeo is a professional social networking service based in Paris, France. The @Viadeo account (as of writing) is currently followed by 2,583 and is following 1,865.

The company has chosen to use this account as a value-based community resource. They focus their conversations on topics of social media and the web. It’s certainly an enticing reason for people to follow their updates. They actively show they are prioritising the needs of their customers.

There is often a fine balance between talking about your company and sharing the resources of potential competitors. I think that Viadeo strikes a great balance with this.

Force 3 – (@force3)

Force 3 is a provider of information technology solutions to the U.S Federal Government based in Maryland, USA. The @force3 account (as of writing) is currently followed by 163 and follows 37.

The company has chosen to actually use an external social network to update it’s Twitter account. This is often a popular choice with many because it connects into their existing fan base. The only problem (which is clearly evident) is that they never check in on what is being discussed on Twitter.

It’s always confused me as to why external social networks enabled a feature to remotely publish to Twitter. It’s clearly not working. Companies who want to use that external social network (and clearly have already had success with it) are simply causing a massive social and brand disconnect to occur when they aren’t involved in the Twitter community.

In Summary….

There are three key points which I can extract from studying these four technology startup’s Twitter accounts.

One is that you must always define one sole purpose for a Twitter feed. Never mix and match between sharing company updates and providing customer support.

Two is that a company must be authentic and engaged in the Twitter community rather then simply updating their status from an external network.

And finally the third point I want to make is that each company has definitely taken different approaches to how they use Twitter. Some use it to share company updates, others would rather build value-based resources which could attract RT’s and “favorites”.

Some questions for you….

Which of the four accounts I mention in today’s post did you like the most, and why? If you could take over one of these accounts for a day, which would it be and why?

photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa

About the Author:

Josh Chandler, age 19, is a Virtual Assistant , Blogger and Video Podcaster. Making his start on the web at age 16, he produced interviews with Top Web Entrepreneurs and first time Startup owners. He has a strong passion for marketing, technology and the web.

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  • Carlos

    Since I am new to social media, can you please expalin what are “RT's” and “favorites”?

  • RT's (short for Retweets) are status updates which are reposted on another's Twitter profile.

    Favorites are updates carefully selected by a user, these updates are then displayed on the “Favorites” page.

  • Emerald Reilly

    Hi! Thank you for your post about how technology start ups are using Social Media. I work for FohBoh Inc, we are a social web technology company for the foodservice industry. We are an online community, fohboh.com, and we offer social media monitoring software for the restaurant indusutry, FohBuzz. All of our employees utilize Twitter & Facebook, both professionally and personally. These incredible tools allow you to connect, share & market with people all over the world. If you are in food service, you belong on FohBoh. Please follow us @FohBoh.

    Thanks,
    Emerald Reilly
    @FohBohGem

  • Emerald,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for sharing more information about Fohboh.com, I'll be sure to check it out.

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