Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all want to know what we are doing. The big question is “why would anyone care?”
When I first considered participating in Twitter I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to know that I was making pancakes or sifting through the cat’s litter box or racking my brain for a great opening line for a customer’s press release. “Who cares?” The bigger question being – why would the more than 400 people that follow me want updates on cat pooh and pancake batter?
I attended a Web Association meeting in January of 2007 in which a guest speaker spoke about Twitter and how it had been effectively used when the bridge collapsed in Minnesota. “People communicated their safety to loved ones a full 25 minutes before the first traditional news media arrived on scene.”
Terrific. But how does that help my business?
If I’m going to jump into the social media scene, dedicate hours of learning and listening and then participating; what bottom line benefit can I expect to see?
First you have to learn how it works. People far smarter than I have written tons of information on the effective use of Twitter. I am a big fan of Deborah Micek (@coachdeb) who co-wrote a great Twitter handbook with Warren Whitlock. But how is it being used to reach customers?
Ramon DeLeon owns several Dominos Pizza locations in Chicagoland and has been effectively reaching his local community via Twitter and Facebook for two years. Recently he and one of his managers created a video apology to an upset customer. The customer had sent a tweet that it took over an hour to receive her pizza and then the order was wrong. Ramon saw the tweet and responded in a big way. Twitter was a fast, effective way for Ramon to rebuild his relationship with the customer and advertise his business.
Keeping with the pizza theme, DiGiorno’s frozen pizza has launched a new flat bread pizza using Twitter.
Not just for marketing, more businesses are using social media sites to connect with customers to ensure their experience is positive. Once thought to be strictly a marketing vehicle, Sawhorse Media founder Greg Galant was quoted in DMNews as saying:
“Rather than keeping Twitter in the PR and marketing departments, some companies have allowed their customer service and operating departments to get on Twitter in a big way.”
Customers are using Web 2.0 solutions to voice their opinion – shouldn’t you be involved so that you can communicate, gather opinions, respond to concerns and ideas and build relationships?
As a well respected business expert, Guy Kawasaki uses Twitter to share articles, blog posts, videos and photos that he feels would be of interest to his followers. Sure he’ll also let you know if he’s having trouble finding a rental car (and followers are quick to help) but he primarily provides educational value in his tweets.
On a personal note: last year I used Twitter to connect with marketing experts like John Jantsch, Joan Stewart and Drew McClennan to see if they’d be willing to read my new book Back to Basics: 30 tips to marketing your small business and establish your expert status in the industry. All three responded, read my book and provided a quote for the cover!
So what is the best way to answer the question “what are you doing” so that you increase credibility, build relationships and connect on a personal level with your intended audience?
Chris Brogan, social media expert, offers a post in which he lists 50 ways to use Twitter for Business. He shares that you:
• Need a plan
• Assign time restraints (or you could be tweeting all day)
• Understand the pros and cons of Twitter
• Have tools available such as Direct Tweeting, Twitter Search and Tiny URLs that make the process smoother
John Jantsch weighs in with his 17 Ways to Use Twitter for Business which also include a few non-business benefits to Twitter.
Although some may use Twitter to share their first cup of coffee in the morning, or complain about their kids or their boss, this simple social media tool offers a mighty powerful solution for connecting with customers.
How are you using Twitter to connect? Can you share a story in which you garnered a new customer or sold products because of your involvement with Twitter? Share here.
About the Author: Deborah Chaddock Brown opened her freelance writing business AllWrite Ink in 2004 after almost 17 years with the International retail optical corporation, Pearle Vision. Deborah’s background is in franchising, operations, marketing and communication, however, her passion is helping businesses connect with their target audience using the Internet. Deborah blogs at Websites People Read.