Twitter is many things to millions of people, especially marketing people. And most of them are too busy thinking outside the box about their leading solution to use it in a manner even vaguely resembling useful.

I have heard Twitter alternately described as a:

  • News source
  • Numbers game
  • Inciter of virality
  • Community builder
  • Sales driver

…you get the idea. The point here is that anytime a new communication vehicle arrives, it means different things to different people. But regardless of opinion, marketing people have a responsibility to understand it. One would think the C-Suite would demand that much.

But Twitter is pattering along…and neither management nor the gurus who advise them “get” it. Witness:

I had a conversation this morning on Twitter about a public company. The conversation involved five people, whose combined reach is a whopping 64,259 humans. You would think the company would give a crap about what’s being said about them in social media, especially since maybe half of them are potential customers, but they don’t. And their being headquartered in Akron is no excuse, dammit. Here’s how the conversation went (you’ll need to watch the ad above to fully appreciate it):

After I finished laughing (managed not to spit coffee through my nose), I checked out Kay’s social media presence. What I found–and again, they are owned by a public company–was shockingly bad. In a nutshell:

  • They don’t have a corporate Twitter account.
  • A search for “Jane Seymour” brings up…Jane Fonda’s account.
  • On Facebook, the only Kay Jewelry page is a lame one for a franchise in Naples, Fla.
  • There is, however, a “Kay Jewelry” personal profile, but the “person” has all their info hidden (probably just as well).

The reality here is that Kay has spent a lot of money building a brand around Jane Seymour. People are talking about the brand. And Kay is neither participating nor listening.

So what should they do? It’s not rocket science. And doesn’t require a guru. First and foremost, they need to pay attention. Because if they don’t, sooner or later their shareholders will.