Twitter isn’t the largest social network, but its users are very active and tend to be influential. As a result, more and more marketers are looking for ways to leverage the service. The challenge of course is that Twitter is distinctively different than other digital channels, so marketers still struggle to find the “right” way to engage.

In our just-published report about Twitter, we found that:

·  Many successful uses of Twitter go beyond the marketing department. Alone, that’s probably not all that surprising. What’s particularly interesting though is that even when Twitter is used in non-marketing departments — like customer service, PR or even sales  — interactive marketers are participating in the development of the channel to ensure that disparate accounts are strategically aligned.

·  Twitter provides both an overwhelming amount of data and is dominated by a minority of influential users. This can be confusing to marketers because it often means that huge amounts of conversation are created by people who all seem to require a response. Handling that volume and depth of conversation can be particularly daunting. More daunting:  Marketers need to be even more interesting and more relevant than the average influential user if they want to cut through the cluttered streams and engage their consumers.

·  Perhaps to an even greater extent than other social networks you could leverage for your brand, Twitter engagement requires preparation.  Marketers need to make sure that all stakeholders really understand the platform, how the brand's customers use it, and the nuances of speaking with consumers on the brand's behalf in just 140 characters. Then you'll need to determine the purpose of each account the brand wants to open. Once those things are worked out, you can (and should) define your metrics and operational processes.

Forrester clients can read the full report here

If you’re a current Twitter marketer, I’d love to know:  What uses of the service have you found to be the most successful?