Twitter, handy microblogging of 140 characters, can be combined with another communication channel of offline, is now used in an innovative way in a place in Tokyo, Japan that probably the developers of Twitter had never thought of.
1. How is Twitter used in what situation?
Twitter is displayed in an electronic bulletin board located in a large crossroads in Tokyo, owned and managed by a hair cut shop.
Tweets range from news and staff member introduction of the shop to comments on the hot topic discussed in the society and media.
2. What is the benefit of using Twitter in such a way and situation?
It allows many people accessible to the shop read the tweets, which is an extremely effective way of attracting current and potential customers. Allowing people walking in the crossroads where the shop is located is of more ROI than allowing nationwide or worldwide online users who cannot come to the shop read blogs and tweets.
140 characters is optimum to read when people are waiting for the traffic light to turn to green from red, although the volume and content is greater in Japanese than in English due to the difference in the characteristics of the two languages. People have nothing else to do when they are waiting for the traffic light to turn green from red so they would read the tweets thus the “reach” is extremely high and effective.
3. Is there any other organization(s) that use Twitter in a similar way?
Yes, there is. It is a commercial facility used by multiple tenants in Tokyo, reported in a recent article on June 20 by a Japanese newspaper specialized in retailing industry.
When the facility opened in October last year, Twitter accounts for all tenants were created so that tweets of each tenant can be displayed in the electronic bulletin board of the facility.
4. How effective is the new use of Twitter by the other organization?
According to the administrator of the facility, this method allows far more information to be delivered to great number of target customers compared with simply tweeting online.
This is because of the two reasons.
The first is reaching greater number of targets. The number of followers of the tenants is around 400 at the most. But major department stores and others in the neighbourhood attract 13.36 million visitors per year (for the fiscal year ending March 2011), all of them are current or potential customers.
The second is the fact that that still only a small proportion of the target customers still do not use Twitter. Main target of the facility and the neighbourhood department stores are senior people and majority of such people still do not use Twitter.
5. What was the reason for coming up with such an idea/breakthrough?
It was the fact that the two cases are free from stereotype/fixed idea that blogs and Twitter is the tool used to online only.
It is true that characteristics of Twitter include real time, interactive and viral, and they are neglected in the two cases introduced above. What was focused and leveraged is “very simply to tweet, even for extremely busy staff working in the shop floor”, and this was the critical requirement for the two cases.
As a result, in two cases, Twitter is used primarily to deliver information one-way which might be not what it was expected when it was first developed; however, the objective of reaching as many target audience to deliver information is achieved.
Twitter use can be combined with bulletin board function by displaying tweets on electronic bulletin board, to achieve an objective of reaching as many target audience to deliver information, although in this case Twitter is used primarily to deliver information one-way and interactivity and other characteristics of Twitter is neglected. Such an innovative idea attributes to being free from stereotype/fixed idea that blogs and Twitter are used only online.