What is it with twitter and ROI?

So far the media140 event on Everything a brand needs to know about twitter and real-time social media has been heavy on hot air and light on substance.

In some respects that’s not surprising, twitter and real-time social media are still babies in the human development analogy. Many companies are still grappling with what they mean for their brands, for their customer service, for their communication strategies….you could go on.

That’s why when the evangelists are often asked to demonstrate some ROI, the concrete examples are hard to come by. What is true though is that there is increasing awareness of twitter and social media and companies are scrambling to play in the space.

The conference’s keynote “Why pay attention to twitter and real-time social media?” by Tom Bedecarre, chief exec of agency AKQA, said: “Our clients are asking us to engage in social media – its the number one thing that clients are asking for now.”

He admitted there’s a lot more conversation than there is money spent at the moment, but that most campaigns at his agency now have a social element.

Its a growth area, look at the amount of social media jobs being advertised, its the only sector in the recruitment industry that is growing right now.

US cable TV company Comcast now employs 12 people to field customer service enquiries through twitter.

Gap asked AKQA to do its autumn campaign for denim, traditionally run through outdoor and TV media, through social media. It is essentially a Facebook campaign around the tag line borntofit. Its all also all about the customers sharing experiences and collaborating with the brand.

Tom said it was too early to say whether its been successful yet, just six weeks in, but its proof of how brands and companies now feel the need to play in the social media space to get their message across and communicate with their customers.

So for companies that aren’t using social media there is a school of thought that says its worth just getting out there and doing it… there’s also a feeling that there needs to be a strategy to underpins what you do.

If you’re not sure how to get started don’t worry there are hundreds of self-defined social media experts out there, just search through twitter, you’ll find a few, I can assure you.

One thing is for sure you can’t ignore social media and twitter, there is no doubt it is increasingly becoming part of communication and brand strategies…. even if the ROI is hard to pinpoint at the moment.