April 21st, 2009 Comments Off Posted in Betsy MacKinnon
No one is arguing the power of Social Media (SM.)
What these sites facilitate are conversations; discussions about the product, service, product attributes, marketing, even customer problems and issues. Companies that “get it” know having a presence is not the end of their SM program. It’s the beginning.
So after you get that nifty, exquisitely designed, cutting-edge blog up and running, companies who thrive using SM realize it’s not enough to have the blog regularly updated. They start to listen. To respond. To react.
With Twitter, this listening can be much more active. It can actually be valuable customer service and sales tool.
For example let’s look at ComcastCares, the Twitter SM program run by Comcast Cable. Tweet (that’s a Twitter message and it’s ≤140 characters) you have an issue with Comcast, within a minute you’ll get a message “Can I Help You?” from one of the ComcastCares team (mine was from @ComcastBonnie.) Helpful, unsolicited, almost immediate, it is a frank example of great customer service.
Twitter is also great for selling.
Take how Dell Computers utilizes Twitter as a sales channel. First they made over $1 Million through their @Direct2Dell Twitter address, mostly by alerting followers of sales. Then they started offering exclusive Twitter discounts through the @DellOutlet Twitter address. Their 370,000+ followers basically get a sales email and are happy to receive it. It has been a huge success for Dell both as a sales and PR tool.
Twitter can be a research and sourcing resource.
Sometimes you just need to fine something. Fast. The early adopters of Twitter are from the creative, media, PR, marketing academic, investing, technology, and finance. Think these people can help you? Probably. And most are happy to help. You can tweet a question and get an answer back sooner than later. There are also “hashtag” (#) groups- some are dedicated to small businesses, PR, journalists, and investing for example. All are there to connect you to tweeps who share similar interests.
There’s some great tools to use for marketing and communications.
Many second party apps allow business to listen, sell, communicate and market themselves more effectively. Applications like Co-tweet, Seesmic, Tweetdeck enable companies to listening (what @ComcastBonnie used to “find” me, apps use a filter to find key words or phrases.) Another nifty thing is Tweetdeck has a language translator, you can tweet (and translate) from 32+ languages including French, German, Japanese, Chinese (both simplified and traditional), even Indonesian and Slovak. Imagine if you were trying to research new markets for wine in Germany, France or Spain or find a new manufacturer in China. Planning a business trip in Indonesia? Just imagine what markets could you open up if you had 32+ languages at your disposal? Well you now do. For Free.
You have to find the right mix of Social Media to fit your company. If any at all. Sometimes a small business owner just doesn’t need a blog, or a presence on Twitter or Facebook. For most, some sort of presence is a good idea especially if you are in creative, consultant or intellectual services.
Learning if Twitter should be a part of your mix isn’t that hard, there is a lot of information out there. There’s information specifically tailored about Tweeting for business - the best thing about Twitter is that Tweeps (people on Twitter) pretty much just love to help.
Other Twitter for Business resources:
Small business advisor Duct Tape Marketing’s Free e-book “Twitter for Business.”
Liz Strauss- put up “30 Twitter Apps We Actually Like to Use and 140 After That”
Copyblogger did a piece on “Use Twitter to Grow Your Business”
New York Times’ piece “How Twitter Can Help at Work”
Plus here’s is a great little video (and there’s a bunch on YouTube):