Even companies who once resisted social media are now realizing that Twitter is an important marketing channel, especially for reaching younger consumers and building a brand image. Here is how three different companies manage their Twitter strategies.
When Southwest Airlines first started its Twitter account in 2007, it was primarily handled by one PR social media specialist. She instantly found herself fielding questions on flight delays and lost luggage. Now, Southwest’s communication department and customer relations department have teamed up to recruit and train employees to monitor Twitter from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm every day.
Whole Foods’ Twitter tries to develop broader engagement with customers by interacting with Whole Foods’ 2.1 million followers. It has also instituted a weekly Twitter chat, for an hour every Thursday, where Whole Foods can discuss topics such as holiday menu planning and healthy eating with its customers. Many of Whole Foods local stores have their own Twitter accounts to answer questions directly related to their stores. Best Buy has an army of specialists managing its Twitter accounts. Best Buy has its main account @Best Buy, but also has @BestBuy_Deals, @GeekSquad, and @BestBuyNews. Best Buy’s help desk also has a group of specialists that answer questions through Twitter, known as @Twelpforce. If you Tweet the help desk, you will receive an almost instant response from one of Best Buy’s 3,000 employees who have signed up for the task force. Best Buy thinks that having a wide range of employees participate in the company’s Twitter messages allows Best Buy to showcase its spectrum of expertise.
1. What are the advantages of Twitter in the new world of retailing? The advantages of Twitter are that: it allows retailers to establish a one-‐on-‐one relationship and communication channel with customers, retailers can instantly promote products or promotions, and retailers can instantly respond to customer comments and complaints
Source: Elizabeth Holmes, “Tweeting Without Fear,” Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2011.
In the generation of smart phones and social media, I think it only makes sense that a company would have a Twitter to connect to its customers. At the same time, you have to keep in mind that social media allows the opportunity for dissatisfied customers to set the trend of complaints for a certain company. Even if you can control what people post on your twitter feed, you can’t control what people hashtag your company in. It takes only seconds for one customer’s bad experience to reach the eyes of hundreds.