Twitter is celebrating its sixth-birthday this year, and it has become all too apparent that users are beyond using the technology to set up happy hours and wish happy birthdays. In fact, the 140-word juggernaut has launched a revolution in the way consumers manage their money, their careers and their small businesses.
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How powerful is Twitter in people's financial lives? Let us count the ways.
U.S. farmers are using Twitter to help grow better crops and make more money from their produce. CNBC reports that farmers are using Twitter to reach out to other farmers, and to check the weather and trade price of corn or wheat on the nation's commodity exchanges. Farmers don't have time for long chats on cell phones, even if they could hear the person on the other end of the phone over the heavy noise of a combine. Twitter allows for quick, useful messages, and farmers are taking full advantage. (For more information, read How Small Businesses Can Best Use Social Media.)
Wall Street firms are using Twitter to reach out to important clients and let them know about key market movements and potential trading opportunities. Lori Feldman, a marketing director at Citibank, says that the financial giant's Twitter campaign has helped grow its website five-fold, and around 20% of its tweets to clients are re-tweeted, according to Reuters.
Those ubiquitous stock-trading groups that pool their money to build strong investment portfolios - are using Twitter to organize meetings, gather opinions, direct members' focus to potential trading targets and break news on stocks such clubs own – or want to own.
Bank on It
Retail banking customers like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are using Twitter to strengthen their social media muscle and get updates on information like great auto rates and low mortgage deals. Often, the first time a banking customer hears about a higher certificate of deposit rate or lower mortgage deal, it's increasingly on social media tools like Twitter.
Online Daily Deals on Twitter
Discount-happy consumers are turning to Twitter to hear about the best deals for the day in their communities, or online. Even as short as a year ago, daily deals sites relied mostly on email to get their discount posts out to consumers. While email is still a strong message center for such companies, they're just as likely to reach out to those same customers via Twitter, allowing them to connect with customers away from their computers, and in real-time.
Using Twitter to Promote Brand Loyalty
Big companies are using Twitter to keep customers coming back for more. Starbucks, for example, uses Twitter to provide links to pages on the company website and tell consumers about new discounts. Such "conversational" usage of Twitter builds strong ties to consumers and makes them feel like they're part of the family. (For related reading, see How Social Media Can Help Consumers Save Money.)
The Bottom Line
Twitter celebrates its sixth birthday in March – but the real party is played out every day between companies and consumers. Expect that relationship to thrive for years to come as Twitter continues to grow.