With Twitter set to pass the magic 100 Million user mark later this month, or early May, and the company having been valued at around a Billion Dollars last year, it’s moved from the realms of novelty. So, should business sit up and take note; is it the “Next Big Thing” as a business tool?
Speaking with business leaders and marketers, one gets mixed responses – the enthusiastic advocates on the one hand, and those that hope it will fade away as it can potentially damage their company, they believe, on the other.
There’s no question that any public forum can be used by people to disparage, or worse, a company, but is that a reason to abstain from that forum, or should one take the opportunity to embrace it and counter any adverse remarks? After all, unhappy customers that are turned around tend to become the most loyal advocates…
Others look at Twitter and ask whether 140 characters is really enough for any sort of meaningful dialogue with customers and dismiss it on this basis. But in our information-overloaded world, is brevity not a blessing?
Properly used, there is no question in my mind that Twitter really can become a significant business tool:
- Customer service – probably the first Twitter application area to be embraced, companies like Southwest Airlines, Staples and Zappos have found it invaluable to track unhappy customers, respond quickly and show a great service ethos.
- Sales leads – of course, great customer service leads to sales, but many more companies, like Dell, Sony and Starbucks are using Twitter to promote products; in fact an article last month reported Sony measuring over £1 Million in sales directly attributable to its Vaio Twitter account.
- Promotions – an extension of the sales leads application is using Twitter for promoting special offers to followers. As the integration of GPS technology with phones increases, these could even be location and time specific, making them highly targeted.
- Product feedback – companies are often accused of making products that customers don’t need, or of not including “obvious” features. Twitter can give a window for listening to the needs and views of a very wide customer base.
- Order tracking – an area I’ve yet to see, but one I think is an obvious one: imagine being able to Direct Tweet to a courier company and get an automated response as to where your special delivery is in the system…
In fact, the possibilities are endless – limited only by imagination. With Twitter, companies have access to an incredible mass direct marketing tool without the dangers of being considered spammers – people would simply unfollow those they consider annoying – and one which can provide real-time, real-person feedback on an incredibly wide range of issues.
Twitter, I firmly believe, is poised to be the “Next Big Thing” for business, and companies that ignore it do so at their peril.
Related articles by Zemanta
- 7 Reasons Every Business Needs to be on Twitter (socialmediatoday.com)
- Scaling Social Media (chrisbrogan.com)
- Overture Founder Launches Tweetup, “Adsense For Twitter” (Michael Arrington/TechCrunch) (techmeme.com)