A few recent changes to Twitter and a few interesting articles I read made me think about Twitter as a business tool – it’s benefits and challenges to any business that decides to participate on it.
- Traffic – eMarketer just came up with a new report called “Data on Twitter Decline Stacks Up”. The report talks about declining Twitter traffic in the past few months. If you were watching Twitter closely this past summer, you probably remember reading about it experiencing traffic surges upwards of 1,500% at some point of time. eMarketer reports a decline in traffic from Sep to Oct anywhere from 2.1% to 27.8% depending on the service reporting the traffic.
I still think Twitter is a good tool to have in your bag for reaching out to your customers, building brand awareness and responding to questions. Even with this decline, eMarketer projects a continued increase in Twitter usage over the next year. If you haven’t decided whether you should be on Twitter or not, start by reading what companies are already on this digital space and how they using it effectively to build their brand. Twitter has become instrumental in some Fortune 500 companies in their efforts to respond to people and improve their customer service. Which brings me to second point.
2. Customer service on Twitter – USA Today recently released “Social Media like Twitter change customer service“. I had my own experiences with big brands on Twitter. I made a complaint to United Airlines on Twitter about how horrible their telephone customer service is. I didn’t barrage them with tweets like some people do, I only tweeted them 3-4 times before I gave up. I still haven’t heard a response back and most likely I won’t. I complimented WholeFoods on Twitter as to how pleased I am with their local Reno store. I heard a response back from them within minutes. I tweeted Tony (the CEO of Zappos before their sale to Amazon) and asked him a question. Quite honestly I didn’t expect a response. He responded within 48 hours and put me in touch with the person within the company who could answer my question. I’m still awaiting a response from that person via email but in my mind, Zappos did the right thing.
Twitter can be a very powerful tool for people to connect directly with companies and vice versa. As a business, you need to decide if you have the human power to respond to every Tweet and complaint and if you don’t you need to think how you are going to handle this in your overall communication and customer service strategy. What I don’t want to see happen is every company with a Tweeter account that no one is checking and responding to. If you do this already with an 800 number, why bother going to Twitter? save yourself time and frustration down the road. United Airlines is obviously not going to improve their customer service with Twitter or without. Are you?
3. And finally, Twitter recently changed their question from: “What are you doing”? to “What’s happening?” Brian Solis wrote an excellent post about this subject. What is happening right now? Here’s the Twitter feed regarding the 3 mile island leak that just happened. Yes, it definitely answers the question of What’s happening? much better than What are you doing? I like the change. Do you? Are you using Twitter for business?Are you using it to respond to people’s questions? How are you finding the time and resources to keep up with the time demand?
How I use Twitter for business:
1. Connect with people
2. Help spread the word about the business
3. Answer questions
4. Get news
7. Provide value
How about you? How are you using Twitter for business?