I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and get a Twitter account.

One of my current work projects involves a big rebrand and as a result we are considering the role of social media and how we need to use it to best promote the company. Sir Martin Sorrell recently said “Twitter is a PR medium, not an advertising medium” which got me thinking about the role it will play for us and also in the future. I think the lovely Mr. Sorrell may need to rethink his view over time.

Kellogs pop up Tweet Shop

This week saw the last few days of the Kellogs pop up Tweet Shop in Soho which is a real first and one that will have us all re-evaluating the role of Twitter in our social media campaigns. Promoting the new Special K cracker crisps, consumers were encouraged to tweet from a choice of three statements or make up one of their own and in exchange, they receive a box of their chosen flavour. Tweets are the new currency. This is a really clever move taking the power of social media and combining it with the ever growing strength of word of mouth.

In this age of Twitter, word of mouth (read tweet) is increasingly important. In fact, it has been said that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and that translates to up to 50% conversion.

It is the insight into the industry that I know will suck me in as soon as I have an account. I was looking up Tom Sellers to keep an eye on his latest venture and suddenly you get a glimpse at his choice of restaurants, suppliers, friends and food connections: Tom Kerridge, Nate Green, Adam Byatt, James Knappett and of course Chef Keller. The legend that is Thomas Keller has 202,151 followers. This compares to Gordon Ramsay who has 1,034,062 which only goes to show the power of TV. But both genius Thomas and dear old Gordon pale to insignificance compared to the media savvy, personable and very popular Jamie Oliver who wins hands down with 2,587,156 followers. Unbelievable.

For the food industry, the Twitter route has facilitated the growth of markets and pop up concepts, not to mention bums on seats with last minute availability making some of the best spots open to all. You only have to look at the entrepreneurs doing a great job in the industry to see how it is done. Pitt Cue Co continue to impress in this field, but others are equally strong: Mr. Jones tells me that The Ribman is doing a great job and so undoubtedly we will be eating ribs very soon. And if that’s anything to go by, then ribs will be closely followed by burgers, mussels, yum buns, doughnuts and lots more. Mr. J. is also talking about all the food markets, day and night, that we need to frequent and I am, as always a willing compatriot for that.

What is fascinating is how many people are following these guys and just how many tweets they clock up. The most committed is The Ribman who has clocked up over 25,000 tweets. He may have an unhealthy love of West Ham and a controversial taste in T-shirts but he also has a personality and a conversation that others want to hear. We follow the person as much as the food.

So, Mr. Sorrell. You may be the most powerful man in advertising, but maybe the power of Twitter will win out. Is this still only PR or do you as a leader in the advertising world need to think again?

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