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Twittering from the Field and the Bench

By: Pierce Mattie
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Twitter profiles can be made viewable to the public, thus they are also indexed by search engines, or you can make them private so that a follower has to first send you a request to view your Twitter stream, allowing you to approve or deny the request.

Depending on your purpose and strategy for using Twitter, one may be a more appropriate option than the other. With Twitter being among the most used social networks with roughly 32.1 million users (according to a May 2009 report in The Wall Street Journal), your reach can be vast, however it takes some time to build the online community that is right for you.

How Twitter Works to Your Advantage in Marketing and R&D

Being on Twitter gives you the capacity to tap into the mind-set of “what is happening now.” Beauty brands can track who is discussing their products, competitor’s products or relevant keywords in a variety of ways—including the use of, TweetScan or Hashtags (#). Not only does this help you to find advocates of your beauty brand—and be sure to follow them—but it can give you insight into what people are saying about your products, ingredients and formulas while providing valuable customer service to those posting questions about your brand, and can give you a good sense of how your brand is being viewed by the general public. In a sense, Twitter is a way to manage your online reputation, gain direct feedback, poll your followers and interact on a more personal level. It puts a face to those involved in everything from the chemistry and science behind a product to packaging to marketing and helps provide an emotional connection to a brand with consumer response.

Building brand alliance and a loyal following is not only beneficial when trying to drive sales to your current products, but it can also play an important role in creating buzz before the launch of a new product.

Purple Lab is company that recently used Twitter to tap into the beauty market and reach its target audience. Karen Robinovitz, the creator and co-founder of Purple Lab, first began tweeting in December 2008 as a fun way to talk with people she knew and to find those with similar interests. She began tweeting about the projects she had going at the time, the launch of Huge Lips Skinny Hips (a lip gloss designed to suppress appetite) being one of them. It grabbed the attention of beauty bloggers and beauty addicts—which led Robinovitz to use Twitter as a vehicle to communicate information about her products, retailers who would be selling them and answer any followers’ questions. She also gathered feedback by polling her followers and utilizing the information provided to create a more meaningful experience with her brand. Her genuine and personable approach resulted in a far greater reach of connecting with trendsetters and key influencers that led to requests for samples and written reviews before the launch.