Should we be encouraging our employees to post messages on the company twitter account or is this just one big waste of time? According to recent statistics, companies without a twitter presence will get left behind in a gigantic leap by consumer choice
It is estimated that 18 million people will be using Twitter by the end of 2009; a size-able number by any standards but dwarfed by estimates that 321 million will be using Face-book, also by end of 2009.
This phenomenal growth is indicative of how people want to belong, to be part of something and to be able to share experiences with people in their ‘group’. Business people should ignore this at their peril. Imagine the huge potential that these people can bring. What if one person said they liked your product or service – it could spread like wildfire. Twitter users which huge followings could instantly promote you with one simple 140 character message. Face-books has an even greater reach as one face-book user promoting you to their friends also (as a by-product) appears on their friends friends wall. Imagine the reach from that one mention.
So simple? All you do is get your customers to mention your product/service? Er NO not that simple.
Social Media users are savvy Internet people. They know when they are being used and resist all attempts to be manipulated. What you need are these people to WANT to mention your product/service. Not told to with bribes and other devious methods. Help them feel part of your company. Ask them for their opinions on your products. Ask for feedback on your customer service; and if its not good, show them how you respond to make it better (if the comments were fair and reasonable).
Use the Social Media to tell your Friends/Followers about the day-to-day activities of whats going on in your company. Help them to feel part of your company. The more loyal they are to you or your brand, the more they will talk about you (and hopefully through Social Media).
I was once offered a plug-in for an on-line Health shop I was building for a client. The plug-in posted details of a customers purchases onto their Face-book ‘wall’ which meant that their friends and their friends friends could see details of the purchase. The ideas was that they would then flock to the website to make the same purchase! I think NOT. Not only does this start to become an invasion of privacy, but is the biggest turn-off going when friends of friends start seeing all the clutter of purchases through an on-line shop appearing on their ‘wall’. I declined to install the plug-in but it shows some of the attempts at a quick-fix, that are being used by companies nowadays instead of building customer relationships and loyalty which takes a little longer.
It pays in the long run though.