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March 26, 2008
How companies connect using Twitter
Ben Martin sent me a question today via Twitter: What do you think about corporate branded Twitter accounts?
I'm a Twitter n00b, but already I've seen companies using Twitter to help me connect with them. Here are a few examples:
- Promotions. Southwest Airlines uses Twitter to let customers know about deals. Today I got a tweet from them explaining that if I book a ticket using PayPal, I'd get $50 back in PayPal credit. Southwest also tweets press happenings and pointers to blog posts, as they did recently about their plane inspection issues.
- Listening and responding to customers. A few days ago, I tweeted about how Starbucks and Dell are using Salesforce.com's Ideas product for their Ideastorm and MyStarbucksIdea.com, respectively. But I had inadvertently linked to the wrong page on Salesforce.com's website. In less than 30 minutes, someone at Salesforce saw my mistake and tweeted the correct URL to me. I posted the correction back to Twitter along with a compliment about Salesforce listening in on the Tweetersphere.
- Employees as ambassadors. Dell leads the world with employee representation on Twitter. Check out the conversations that these Dell employees are having on Twitter: LionelatDell, RichardatDell, JohnatDell, APaxtonatDell, KellyatDell. Unlike many Twitterites, I met most of the Dell people in person before following them on Twitter. Because I had a chance to cement a relationship in person, I'm a big fan of the Dell people I follow on Twitter.
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If they're using the service to push out press releases or marketing language they're doing it a disservice. The real value in something like twitter is the listening and the conversation. The "atdell" folks get that as does the jetblue twitter
When I first read about Twitter I thought what an odd technology. Who cares what I'm doing throughout the day and why would I care about their routine activities. However, after tweeting at a very rudimentary level I can see the value of the technology. It doesn't have to be as frivolous as it may seem on the surface. I've begun considering it as I evaluate strategy for some of my marketing clients.
At Officenet (an Argentine subsidiary of Staples) we have an RSS feed for our frequently asked questions on products. That RSS, we direct it into a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/officenet) for people to see the questions... Some of them are really interesting/funny... but they are in Spanish, maybe you'd want to practice it!
Thanks for the mention Jackie. I manage our online customer community and social media stuff at salesforce. Twitter is still at a very experimental stage for us, so your positive feedback is very valuable. I am a little concerned that like email, it may not scale very well. But it may just work as a channel were a response is not expected, but is appreciated. Regardless of actual utility I do think there is value in being where your customers are.
Jackie -- It took me a while to "get" Twitter, but it can -- as your post implies -- help put a human face on a corporation.
We are still trying to "get" twitter. It seems like every blog we keep up on has a mention of Twitter these days. However, we are finding it difficult to find contacts on there and those who we do invite are like "HUH"? Any tips on expanding your Twitter network? I see that if you are following others and they are not following you, Twitter defeats much of its purpose.
Great topic Jackie! But what about B2B uses?
The only great use of twitter I've found so far is nprnews.org. nprnews.org has been amazing on primary nights. Best news coverage anywhere. npr blogging, users adding input.
But I'm yet to find a good B2B use of twitter. What do you think?
Great post and John nails it.Also worth noting that @DellOutlet on twitter announces various sales etc if you are looking for "deals"
Thanks for the interesting post. I’ve seen some great personal examples of people using this to connect with colleagues, post questions for market research, and even heard a podcast this morning about a guy who will be using Twitter to post updates on his progress before and after the Boston Marathon (though it
would be even better to use Twitter DURING the marathon!). Yours is the first post I’ve come across where someone has looked at company usage of Twitter.
Another example is for driving traffic back to their site, and New York Times is a great example of this. Seems like every hour or two there’s another few tweets that include headline and tinyurl to the actual story; it would be very interesting to hear their thoughts on how effective this has been as a way to drive more traffic to their site.
One other unique example I’ve seen is M&M. It’s one thing to run specials and promotions like JetBlue. It’s another story though when Mars creates a Twitter account based on the Green M&M (twitter.com/msgreen) and posts tweets coming from her character directly. Who would have ever thought a piece of candy would have a personality expressed in a microblog?!
Great post, Jackie, and something I've been thinking a lot about. It's one thing to start twittering away, but how to use this tool to create value for customers is another story. Zappos held a cool promotion this weekend - win a trip to Vegas, etc., including a lunch with their CEO - and selected the winner randomly from those following @zappos. More brainstorming around this is going to be crucial over the next while as the tool reaches critical mass...
Great post. I work for a large B2B company and I'm just starting to experiment with Twitter with one of our magazines. So far we are using it to post a few daily headlines and any updates to our website. It's only been 2 weeks but we already have about 20 followers and I've been working to build our network. Not sure what to expect out of it but it certainly is an interesting medium. http://twitter.com/fleetowner.
i think its getting ready to explode, the # of corporations on twitter. but on the ones that offer value within their posts will benefit from the venture.
we just launched a user nominated vote of who your favorite corporate twitter is. have a go, who is doing it the right way?