By Irina Skaya
Not a day goes by without someone asking me, “Why do you use Twitter? It’s so useless. Why do I care what you are up to every second of the day?” Wake up people! You are missing out on engaging with and learning more about your customers. As Cynthia Ashworth, Vice President of Customer Engagement @Dunkin’ Donuts said, “We don’t have to justify Twitter. It’s free customer-service.” Indeed it is, Cynthia. It’s a free focus group and a cheap option for collaboration.
As I try to keep up with the cutting edge marketing trends, I enrolled in a two-hour course on Twitter Love where I learned how marketers can utilize the microblogging Web site to promote their products and services, research consumer insights, improve customer service, converse with and engage their customers, and group collaboration. For instance, @JetBlue is using Twitter to help improve customer services and teamwork across business units. As a customer service tool, Twitter’s benefit is that everything people say about your product/service is public on Twitter and is easy to find via using their built-in search tool. This makes Twitter an instant focus group with over 10 million participants, many of whom are your customers. Collecting customer feedback via Twitter is easy and effortless, especially when you compare it to the number of responses you get back through email surveys. Zappos is using Twitter to make personal connections among employees, and between the company and its customers. For those marketers who want to improve their corporate culture and customer service, Twitter is a great tool.
So just like there was Facebook and then came LinkedIn, a professional social networking Web site, Yammer is like Twitter for business. Yammer offers groups for discussions on a subject between people in the same workgroup. It can connect employees from different departments, so if you work in a 500+ company, you won’t feel like just a number anymore. Although some may argue that Twitter and Yammer may be distracting and may affect employees’ productivity, it can, if used moderately improve corporate culture by connecting employees to one another and letting them know what the organization is up to, its achievements and pretty much anything.
So for the Twitter rebels, get on it, add ANAmarketers to your list of the following, and most importantly, start talking and listening to your customers. And here are some Twitter tools to get you started:
TweetLater.com – helps you in following everyone who follows you; includes auto DMs and a tweet scheduler.
Twitter Karma - keeps a follow-to-follower ratio in order for you unfollow those who are not following me, with a few exceptions.
TwitterCounter - see my followers in graph form. It also predicts how many followers you will have in 30, 90 or 365 days.
TweetDeck – as an Adobe Air app, TweetDeck allows you to see your @replies, direct messages, timeline, and a lis of folks you follow whose Tweets you want to make sure you read. You can also use it to update your Twitter and Facebook accounts simultaneously. I use and love this tool!