Business and Twitter interactions

The latest thing in  social media  marketing seems to be having a corporate twitter account. Often this appears to be staffed by the office junior as an after thought, as in the now infamous Kenneth Cole twitter post (reproduced and stuck to a store window by a prankster).


Business has to be careful how it uses twitter though, and it’s not just because of full on cock ups of the level of the KC tweet. Twitter users expect a fast reply. Note the fast bit there; they take it as read that they will get a reply. What sort of faux pas is it to not even reply to an @? A fairly hefty one in my book and I don’t think I’m alone in this.


What a lot of companies, both large and small see Twitter as is just another advertisment channel. They haven’t yet twigged that advertising successfully on twitter requires a degree of interaction that goes above retweeting positive comments or linking to special offers. It’s about engaging an audience.


As in most things, some companies do it better than others. Kodak for example not only interact well on twitter but also have social media and mobile marketing guides on their website that you can download. As they say in their booklet, the term Kodak had 470,000,000 impressions on twitter in 2009 (number of tweets multiplied by followers), so there’s obviously a large audience if a company does it properly. Heck, Kodak even replied to my tweet about their media guides in under half an hour, which is not bad is it? But it’s not just the big multinational giants that do a good job, Three mobile, Butlins, and loads of smaller independent companies do a great job of interacting with their customers too.


I’ve had some great interactions over the last few months, below are just a few of them:


What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given since being a mum and who was it from?
@Huggies_UK “You’re not the mother you great lumbering ox, where’s your wife?” is the one that sticks most for me.
Huggies_UK Huggies
@me haha LOL!


Oooh Pontins has gone into administration. Hope @wearebutlins aren’t suffering as badly.
@me As part of Bourne Leisure we’re in a different financial place – we’ve invested well & enjoyed the benefits with strong sales


That is a fun fact about our history! RT @me I think its ace that the chap who started Maclaren designed landing gear for Spitfires


Of course some companies don’t quite have the twitter policy sorted out as well. So here are a few name and shames:


Just 4 more days to take advantage our our ‘£1 for a Regular Popcorn’ offer. We were no.1 UK cinema in 2011 y’know?
@cineworld if the £1 popcorn campaign is a success, why not make that the normal price? You would be universally loved by all
No reply


@ladybirdbooks what’s ladybirds view on the gov funding cut to the book trust?
No reply


thank you @sainsbury for delivering products out of date tomorrow and then expecting me to hold on the phone when the driver runs off
No reply


Failing to reply to one off tweets obviously doesn’t make a company a twitter outcast but it’s worth tweeting a couple of words in acknowledgement, even if you don’t intend to engage the person. That’s what twitter is about nowadays, even though it really started off as a microblogging site, it’s now a sort of free for all IRC chatroom. In the example of Sainsbury given above, it just compounded what was already a frustrating interaction. Not as frustrating as the phone call we got over a cancelled delivery due to snow- we were told we had to call a centre in Scotland to organise a redelivery and that the person who called us couldn’t schedule it or transfer us!


What’s the worst outcome for a business on twitter (other than the Kenneth Cole debacle)? A chap I followed wasn’t told by a popular high st opticians that if they broke his glasses when adjusting them they weren’t liable for the cost of repair. They broke his glasses. The popular high st opticians were inflexible so he went after them on twitter and they ignored him. He has 500+ followers, several people retweeted his posts, each of those probably had several hundred non-overlapping followers. By the end of it, 1,000’s of people had seen how terribly he felt he’d been treated by the popular high st opticians, which isn’t great PR.
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