Ashlogue Chats With Twitter: Aliza Knox

Peranakan flooring and motifs. Check. Nostalgic old school door and window designs. Check. 1970-esque grilles, brick walls and furniture. Check. A mod, boutique museum on a tourist’s bucket list. Uncheck. Twitter’s new home is seamlessly in line with the Singapore’s living culture.

In case you think you are missing out on yet another of Singapore’s latest so-hip-it-hurts hideout that pays you a tad more bearable on the weekdays at work, here’s to clarify that we’re really describing Twitter’s new home which is nestled within the financial district of Raffles Place.

It is here from which Twitter operates their unique #RealTimeLab, where staff creates, executes and shares live Twitter campaigns, analytics and data visualisations with everyone. In search of a behind-the-scene perspective from the cool folks working here, Ashlogue took a spin around the new office and had a chat with Twitter’s first hire, Aliza Knox, plus her team. Read on to their stories.

What effect has technology and internet have on our lives and daily processes?

Aliza: We are living in a world which is becoming increasingly connected and mobile, particularly here in Asia, which will drive the future of the Internet, mobile and social media markets. By 2020, 60% of all millennials (ages 16-24) globally will reside in Asia. Currently, already half of all Internet (47%), mobile (48%) and social media (52%) users worldwide reside in the Asia Pacific region (Source: WeAreSocial). And this is why Twitter is more relevant than ever: Twitter is the only communication platform that is simultaneously public, real-time, conversational and widely distributed. No other platform combines all these elements at scale. People use Twitter to discover great content, connect with others, and express themselves about their interests and passions, from news to politics to sports to TV and entertainment. We often say that what happens in the real world happens on Twitter, too.

What are your personal social content/conversations on Twitter?

A: I often Tweet about events, share interesting content and moments in my everyday life. For example, I’m a huge fan of Dr Pepper, particularly Diet Dr Pepper, and I’ve had ongoing conversations with @drpepper to convince them to make Diet Dr Pepper available in Singapore. While I haven’t gotten @drpepper to reply to me, a former colleague saw my Tweet and brought me back a case of Diet Dr Pepper from San Francisco (here) and more recently, here)!

Twitter currently has 41M followers. Describe the journey and how long it took to curate such a huge base.

A: Actually, we have 302 million Monthly Active Users (as of Q1 2015) who come on Twitter to find what’s hot, what’s new, and what’s trending. Half a billion Tweets are shared each day around the world, and we’ve only been around for 9 years (and still growing!). Our goal is to reach every person on the planet and our new APAC headquarter in Singapore plays a crucial role in this. APAC is the growth engine for Twitter: two of Twitter’s top five markets worldwide are in Asia (Japan and Indonesia), with India and South Korea being among our fastest growing markets in 2014.

Note: Twitter has 31 offices around the world. Of these, Twitter has offices in 7 markets in Asia Pacific: Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and recently launched in Indonesia (new) and Hong Kong (new).

What do you think is the next big thing/social craze and how would the trend blend in with Twitter?

A: That’s an easy question to answer because Twitter is where people go to find out what’s happening in their world right now. Whether it’s breaking news, #thedress, or #OTRASG (One Direction On The Road Again tour in Singapore) – which set the record for total number of Tweets related to a Singapore-based event at 100,000 Tweets – Twitter shows what’s trending in real time.

What kind of content or direction works best on Twitter?

A: Tweets can include text, photos and videos. In fact, mobile video is hot on Twitter right now. Native video in the Twitter app drives more overall engagement than third party videos shared on Twitter: 2.5X replies, 2.8X Retweets and 1.9X Favourites.

When it comes to the content itself, the most engaging Tweets come from live events or have an authentic or emotional connection for your followers or the general public. You don’t even have to be a celebrity for your content to go viral. In Singapore for example, the most retweeted Tweet in 2014 – nearly 18,000 Retweets – was achieved by @MuhdHaidee, any everyday guy who tweeted about how everyone needs a hug when they’re sad.

How does Twitter benefit businesses by just updating statuses with limited characters?

A: Twitter offers the opportunity to reach and connect with a global audience of 302 million monthly active users in real-time. Businesses use Twitter to market and sell their products and services; gather market intelligence and understand consumer trends; and provide customer service. Beyond the 140-character text limit, businesses often add photos or embed videos to their Tweets for richer, more engaging content for their customers.

Businesses run two types of marketing campaigns on Twitter – to increase brand engagement or to get a direct response. Twitter’s advertising platform offers precise targeting for specific business goals, whether it’s branding, promotion, lead generation or mobile app downloads.

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