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Knowledge is Power!

Okay, so you MUST have heard about Twitter by now. But, just in case you haven't, Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that seems to have taken over the Internet. It's one of, if not THE fastest growing social media type of program currently available.

Basically, the idea is you sign up for an account, you begin "micro blogging" which means that your "post" can't be any longer than 140 characters. So basically, you're just shouting out a note. You add to your account certain people that you want to follow on Twitter. And in turn, people follow you. Why should you follow anyone? Maybe the CEO of your competition is on Twitter. Don't you want to know what he's saying? Why should anyone want to follow you? Well, if you have important news, insights, advice, information on your "expertise" within your industry, they'll follow you. Believe me.

One note to remember. If there are 100 people following you on Twitter, those 100 people have people following THEM. Those additional people can look to see who the people they are following, are following (follow me?) and that's how your brand and exposure can continue to grow - at least within Twitter.

Maybe you have heard of Twitter and you know what it is and you actually have an account there, maybe you're wondering, "What do I do with this thing?" - well, there are many companies out there who are trying to figure out the very same thing. You're not alone. So, let me share with you some ideas and what others are doing to utilize this very interesting little tool.

First you must realize that in order for Twitter to work (and really, in order for ANY social media tool to work) you must participate. You can't just sign up for an account on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn and expect that just because you have a profile out there that people are going to just jump and contact you. Well, maybe if your photo was of you in the nude and you looked absolutely amazing nude - maybe then you would get alot of contacts just for posting a profile. Otherwise, you're going to have to use that program and the way you use it is to converse with other members, provide information, share insights, etc. Think of your social media program as your "watercooler". Everyone takes a few minutes each day to take a break - go to the watercooler or the coffee pot and just hang out for 5-10 minutes. Chat with others, get some news, gossip, etc. Your social media account is the very same thing. Only you don't have to get up and walk anywhere!

Okay, so with that being said, let's see what others are doing with this Twitter thing...

Quick Notices of Upcoming Sales, Events, Etc.

Companies like woot, southwestair, jetblue, best buy, american apparel, rubbermaid, whole foods, zappos, starbucks, dunkin donuts, dell, kodak, hoovers and so many more are using Twitter to increase / improve brand recognition AND to advise their "followers" of specials, sales, events, etc.

These companies have anywhere from 2000 to 75,000 followers. Imagine planning a sale for Valentines Day - you can use a program like TweetLater to create posts which then run at the designated time you instruct. You create 5 posts about the item(s) you are selling for Valentines Day and you post them onto your TweetLater account so for 5 days straight, all your Tweet followers will receive notice about what you're putting on sale for this upcoming holiday. Imagine if you had 75,000 followers (like Woot).

Keep Up Communications With Your Customers

The RedCross uses Twitter to "provide information to the public during disasters". But they also receive alot of "thank yous" from individuals that they've helped. It allows them to keep in touch with those individuals, whom they may otherwise have never heard from.

Dunkin Donuts is getting a great response from their Twitter account. As they say, “We have been pleasantly pleased with the response volume we’ve received — there’s clearly enthusiasm for the brand on Twitter. It’s been exciting to see the conversation with our customers take off.”

WholeFoods has gained some insight into their own operations from their clients. Imagine, no need for sample polls and focus groups. What they've learned through Twitter is, ...“…A lot about the importance of localized information. Whole Foods is a very decentralized…Because of this we will be working to get more local information out to people via accounts tailored to individual stores or cities, such as @WholeFoodsLA.”

HRBlock reports..."“Most rewarding: interacting with consumers 1:1. Love that connection - it’s great to help. Challenge: respond quickly in a 24/7 environment.”

Customer Service

Imagine if every time someone mentioned your company name, you would get a notification not only that a mention was made but what the mention was. I know, we can't monitor EVERYTHING that's said, but if your company name is mentioned in Twitter, you will see what was said and who said it. If the mention is unfavorable or they spoke of a problem, you can contact that Tweeter and try to resolve the issue. What great customer service! The dis-satisfied customer didn't even have to get in touch with you!

Some Interesting Other Uses wrote in September 2008 - Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a pretty good plaintiffs' firm here in Seattle, apparently has its PR person, Laura Young of Firmani + Associates Inc., out twittering to find putative class members for a possible class action law suit versus Verizon Wireless.

And from David Armano himself: - If you are interested about marketing, conversations and the ways which we communicate with each other (and how this is changing and evolving), you should at least investigate what the hoopla is all about. My recent experiences with Twitter tell me that the service is morphing due to how users want to use it. What was once initially designed to answer the question “what are you doing?”, has turned into a free-form communications service where people are having burts of shorthand conversations, sharing links and information in rapid-fire fashion…Personally, I think Twitter is a pretty powerful tool for anything involving promotions, events and communities.

Botanicalls - do you forget to water your plants? Set up the Botanicalls kit in your plant and it will Tweet you when it's thirsty.

Commuter Feed - do your own traffic reporting for others in your area. No sense in EVERYONE getting stuck in that traffic jam!

There are some folks who just love to listen to emergency broadcasts with radio scanners and ham radios. For those folks, they can check out the LAFD twitter. The Los Angeles Fire Department tweets real time alerts in its jurisdiction.

So, have I convinced you yet? If you're not on Twitter - I have no idea what you're waiting for. And if you are on Twitter, are there any interesting ideas that you have on how to use this great program? Let me know.

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