When will Indian businesses use twitter?

Yesterday, I was reading a thought-provoking piece by C.G. Lynch on ‘How and Why to Launch a Business Presence on Twitter’. The article highlights the companies that have enjoyed successful use of twitter. It instigates several questions in your mind. Which businesses are using twitter? What are they doing on twitter? Has twitter been successful for them? Have they added to twitter’s success?

If you dig a little deeper, I’m sure you will come across many industry verticals where businesses have been using twitter for a variety of purposes. The glitch is the news is coming in from the ‘outside world’ at the moment.

Out here in India, we are still compiling/questioning the names of businesses & business representatives who are using twitter. Not that we do not have successful case studies of organizations using twitter, but the bottom-line is that such instances are very few. Majority of the CEOs and the companies you will come across on twitter are:

  • Very small businesses – One man shows or small start-ups
  • The key purpose is networking/pr opportunities
  • The real mantra of ‘feedback’ and ‘messaging’ takes a back seat

My due respect to small time entrepreneurs as I am not trying to criticize them for what they’re trying to achieve out of this tool.

My question – Are there any Indians brands/businesses/organizations engaging in real conversation apart from shameless self promotion on twitter?

Some quotes from the CIO story which describes the use of twitter by Jetblue:

You also might set up a personal Twitter account to see what makes this community tick. That’s how Morgan Johnston, Jetblue’s manager of corporate communications, built his own Twitter presence (@MHJohnston) before setting up Jetblue’s popular Twitter page (@jetblue), which has more than 155,000 followers to date.

The Indian story

If you search for the twitter accounts for major airlines in India you would either get a page that does not exist message or the twitter account is being already used by someone.

Take the example of ‘jetairways’. While the account is there it is protected and there aren’t any updates !


Basic expectations from airline companies using twitter:

  • Provide real-time flight status info.
  • Updates on weather conditions
  • Provide urgent updates like gate changes etc.
  • Most importantly gather feedback from customers about their flight clearance
  • Inform passengers about promotional fares.
  • On occasions, push the promotional material/press-releases 🙂

What more do you expect from an airline that uses twitter to talk to its customers? CIO’s story explains how Jetblue uses twitter for instance.

“It was probably no small coincidence that we didn’t gain a lot in the way of a following at first because of that,” Johnston says. “Twitter users said, ‘we want a conversation with you, not faceless marketing.'”

For example, Jetblue followers want to receive some promotions, but they also want to know about flight delays, cancellations, general information and what to expect from their in-flight experience, he says.

Just imagine how easy it will be for you as a traveler if you get all this information via twitter. Agreed it isn’t any rocket science but like always, we Indians have been very slow to react.

Will we ever stop over-analyzing things ?

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Filed under twitter, Web 2.0

7 responses to “When will Indian businesses use twitter?

  1. An attractive heading with relevant questions. But one of the most critical one:)

    When will Indian Businesses understand Technology? It is easy to say we are technologically advanced, have embraced & use technology.

    Go to any office & except for email; IM & surfing nobody has any clue…..of the uses of computers, internet, technology.

    The CIO does not understand why the marketing or PR person needs access to the internet or send attachments to an agency:)

    In all this even tweeting would amount to fritter:) But sure with people like you & others there is hope yet.

    Cheers & all the best.

  2. Niсе blоg! It’s a pity thаt thеrе’s not a lоt оf cоmmеnts. Bеst regards, Cheap airline tickets

  3. Even I want to ask the question with similar enthusiasm but when zeroed to the point of Indian business getting their hands dirty with micro-networks like twitter, I think the problem lies in few basic questions:

    1. Who or which part of business should handle such activities – Marketing, IT team, PR, Communications or Agency?
    2. What is twitter? A horn to blow out corporate news, new product updates, offers! Still the question is debatable since backlash can be costly for companies because of shameless promotion. Culture has a deep bearing to this point of mine.
    3. We still haven’t reached a critical mass in India in terms of netizens wherein twitter can be used as a platform to market.

    These are few questions comes on my mind when we think about using twitter effectively. Also, we got to understand that we are here dealing with companies which are by design traditional from inside but if you ask me.

    But if you ask my viewpoint, then I would say that what we need is an example to be set for others to follow. Though I’m quite bullish of the idea that Indian businesses would and should use twitter, not only to sell stuff but also to engage with people who buy their products (lots of reasons though).

    Till then, at least we would be watching this space and lets keep our fingers crossed!

    P.S. As a new-age Marketer, I’m also trying in my own ways to design something on the same lines which would help my employer!

    • Sampad – Wonderful points raised by you !

      I think ‘context’ is really critical when we talk about the deptt. that is responsible for business. While some might say that at best it is the pr/marketing team’s job to use twitter, it still varies from business 2 business.

      The barrier of internet penetration will continue to pose problems till the time we do something about it. While the penetration might be low, it has reached those places which are supposed to be the starting point in creating an influence.

      Looking forward to the progress you make with the solution for your employer.

      • I think if we can tweak our marketing pitch to decision makers about such tools, it can work wonders. Till now we used to pitch it as “Targeting the Influencers” via channels like internet can be tweaked to “Targeting the marketer amongst marketers” (read this AdAge article http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=135174).

        I’ve this gut feel that its somehow true since understanding influencers in a culture like ours is not apt since we are comprehending a diverse culture here!

        Would love to hear more from you on this one…


  4. Interesting examples for the airline industry. Until a social media team is not setup within large organisations, true one on one participation is going to be difficult.

    Every organisation needs a team equivalent to that of a call center for social media conversation. Probably not as big at first, but certainly some dedicated resources are the need of the hour.

    • Hi Ishwar,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts via the post. Bringing a team-together will help but there needs to be awareness. Dedicated resources can assist once you’ve understood the value part of a tool/service as a business, which seems to be missing at the moment.

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