Dick Costolo: How Brands Are Tweeting

Twitter CEO highlights corporate uses of his ‘sharing and discovery platform’.

At the WWD Conference in New York earlier this week Twitter CEO explained how he saw his network’s business and how brands can work within it. Dick Costolo said that people shouldn’t expect Twitter to become the main internet platform because he didn’t believe in convergence:

“I see divergence. Uses of the web will become more and more different and that will continue to happen. Twitter is a sharing and discovery platform and part of a user’s connected world.”

Costolo showed how a pyramid diagram that described Twitter’s multi-level business. He explained that the difference between traditional media and Twitter was that with traditional media influence is directed and controlled through channels. At Twitter, influence is requested.

The most implicit example of the requested influence was a RT but it wasn’t always necessary to have that in the tweet. He admitted that the bigger the brand (and followers) the more explicit their requests are.

The Twitter CEO talked at length on how brands use Twitter for ‘multi-dimensional conversational influence’.

He said that Louis Vuitton uses difference accounts for the different levels of staff. There is a consistent tone of voice but they staff can post how they see fit and this brings authenticity. “It’s an explicit mapping of Twitter,” Costolo explained.

An alternative example was Dolce & Gabbana. The fashion brand had its own official Twitter brand and Stefano Gabbana had his own less formal account where he shared personal news and sounded more authenitic. Costolo said that Gabbana’s stream actually reinforced the D&G brand.

The Twitter CEO highlighted the way that DKNY and Oscar Del La Renta used Twitter with their ‘PR Girls’. “Somebody in the PR department is traversign up and down the stack at will. The followers feel that they are allowed behind the curtain,” Costolo explained. He said celebrities like Ryan Seacrest also worked Twitter like this.

In terms of future relationships with brands, the CEO said that he hoped to see the development of API that allowed tweets and re-tweets to take place on other sites (right now, users can republish their tweets but the service doesn’t offer any interaction).

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