A Twitter success story: Search leads to new market discovery

Fara Hain grabbed my attention in a big way. In a recent comment on {grow} she mentioned that Twitter had led her to discover a new market for her company’s product. REALLY? I asked her tell us more and here she goes:

To some, Twitter is surely the Paris Hilton of new media, a place popular only because of its own popularity, fascinating because it’s so clearly pointless. And I admit my initial impression of Twitter was similar. But it didn’t take too long to make me a believer because I saw first-hand how Twitter helped our company create an entirely new line of business.

While working at Gizmoz (now digime), I was pulled into the world of Twitter by two friends who were early adopters.  They encouraged me to try it out and I started by “listening” through a daily search for Gizmoz on the Twitter search box. I thought it would be interesting to see what, if anything, people were saying about us. I collated responses into a spreadsheet to see if I could find a theme or locate emerging influencers.

I found that there was a group of people using my site in a completely different way than I had expected. Gizmoz is a B2C 3D animation company which had launched a web-based tool for teens to create greetings and videos using 3D avatars. On Twitter, our tool was being discussed with hashtags like #edtech.

It turns out we were being discussed on the podium at a major education conference!  To my surprise, teachers had been using Gizmoz in the classroom as an interactive tool for students to create presentations (science classes, social studies, even a kindergarten class!). We were blown away.

By making some simple changes to our product, and asking teachers for their direct feedback, we were able to make Gizmoz more classroom-friendly. We added avatars like Albert Einstein and other historical figures and we started to be more aggressive about hiding public posts which featured less appropriate content.

In our new marketing effort, we actively targeted teachers – who are, in fact, major viral influencers – one teacher influencing 30 students is a marketer’s dream! In this example, teacher in Australia embeds a Gizmoz example in his blog post.

It’s doubtful that I would have ever discovered this amazing new market for our products without Twitter. So while the occasional, “I’m drinking coffee” tweet may be annoying, I now know there’s deep value in there if you know how to look for it.

Fara Hain tweets on Marketing and Financial Media for her company Seeking Alpha

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  • This is a great testimonial, Mark! Thanks for bringing Fara’s perspective to your blog. I think a lot of folks could benefit from hearing this story.

  • Mark and Fara,

    Thanks for sharing this great testimonial! It is an excellent example of utilizing listening to discover emerging markets. It’s great to hear stories like this because it helps affirm our work and the passion we demonstrate in raising awareness to MYOB through social media listening strategies.

    Joseph
    @RepuTrack

  • Mark

    Thanks for commenting today Laura and Joseph!

  • Dan Levine

    Mark and Fara,

    What I like best about this post is that it reminds us that it’s critically important to be willing and able to think outside the box about your product or service. It’s fantastic that you found a new biz opportunity on Twitter; even better is that you were willing to embrace it and change your model and open a new line of business. Great stuff.

    Dan

  • Great stuff as usual. Everyday I am hearing stories of people that are not into social media finding it beneficial. People are even making money off SM. Freemium is definately the latest, greatest marketing approach.

  • What a great story! That’s also a clever way to introduce someone to Twitter – using the search column to see what people are saying about you. Congrats! A lot of kids in school must be thankful!

  • Mark

    @Dan I’m actually amazed by the ideas and opportunities I find on Twitter search!

    @Jon — Agree. You can run a good portion of your business off of free!

    @Susan — Thanks for the kind words!

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  • Awesome, yet one more example of the value SM will deliver if effectively leveraged!
    Thanks Mark and Fara for sharing these valuable insights

  • Great success story! Twitter is like being the proverbial “fly on the wall.” Companies just need to reach out and grab the many opportunities that come from simply monitoring conversations about their brand.

  • Mark

    Steve + Jelena Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. Much appreciated!

  • Fara Hain

    @Mark Thanks so much for the opportunity to post!
    And thanks to all for your kind words here!

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