Twitter Offering Commercial Accounts, for a Price
Twitter is looking to businesses as a way to possibly kick-start an elusive revenue stream by offering paid commercial accounts to users. The news comes a few days after the launch of a Microsoft-sponsored site, ExecTweets, which uses Twitter technology. Twitter, Facebook and other social-networking sites have been looking for ways to generate revenues commensurate with their popularity. At the same time, Gartner is suggesting ways for businesses to take advantage of Twitter and microblogging.Twitter is planning to introduce commercial accounts with expanded features, for an added fee, which would allow the site to generate revenue, which could help the site grow and compete against other social networking sites such as Facebook. The news that Twitter was looking to expand its revenue streams started on March 26.
Twitter allows its users to "microblog," or post 140-character "Tweets" to their individual pages. Although primarily a social tool, Twitter has been finding increased traction in the enterprise as businesses discover how to utilize its capabilities in an official context, such as having executives post internal messages.
The research firm suggests that enterprise usage of Twitter falls into four categories:
- Direct, or when the company uses Twitter "as a marketing or public-relations channel."
- Indirect, in which company employees use "Tweets" raise public awareness of themselves and their organization; the Microsoft-sponsored site ExecTweets, which launched on March 23 and represents one of the first possible models for Twitter revenue-generation, is an example of individuals using Twitter to boost both their own personal brand and that of the companies they run.
- Internal, in which employees and executives use the social-networking tool to communicate internally over projects or other issues; Yammer and other solutions also provide a similar functionality with a more corporate mindset.
- Inbound Signaling, or searching Twitter for conversation threads about a particular company or product, and then using that information for problem-solving and feedback. The integration of Twitter into Salesforce.com's Service Cloud is an example of this use.