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.    

Discussion  Questions:

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.