Posted by: kevinliebl | May 22, 2009

How Businesses Can Leverage Twitter – Part II

Twitter LogoI received very good feedback on my prior article on Twitter, so I decided to continue the discussion.  As I said previously, the first step is to stop “shouting” and begin to “listen”.  Your customers and prospects are talking about you right now.  Use Twitter as a vehicle to gain meaningful insight into those conversations.  (Please visit my first article for a better understanding of this topic).

My next advice is to “respond”.  Don’t shout, but listen and then respond to your customers. How many times have you been in the middle of an interesting conversation when someone interrupted and began taking about themselves?  There was a disconnect, and you ignored them.  How do you feel as a customer when you are on a support line and rather than hold music, you are forced to listen to an advertisement for another product?  Irritating isn’t it?  Now, how would you feel if rather than listening to the ad, the company’s VP of Marketing came on the line and said, “since we have couple of minutes, can I simply listen to your frustration so that we can keep this from happening in the future?”  You would be a loyal customer for life!

This is what I am talking about when I suggest you “respond”.  Consider using Twitter (and other social networking tools) as a venue to have a productive dialog with your customers.  In one of my other blogs, I mention the book “Groundswell” and how there are distinctly different players in the social network (e.g., Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators and Inactives).  What if your customers who were “creating” and “critiquing” content on your products began to circulate stories of how you listened and responded to missing features or bugs in your product?  These creators and critics have large followings.  They influence the collectors, joiners and spectators!  Their positive stories and reviews have significantly more credibility than any website, collateral material or presentation your marketing department creates.  These are the groups of people that you need to listen to and respond to.  Marketing 101 – “Listen and respond”

Action Item – Expand!

Ironically, the simplicity of Twitter has broken down a lot of barriers.  Senior executives were opposed to establishing a blog because: 1) it took too much time, 2) was expensive to setup; and 3) was intimidating because they “may not have enough to talk about”.  Twitter solves all of these problems because it is: 1) simple to use, 2) free, and 3) limits your subject matter expertise to 140 characters (even a CEO can speak intelligently for 140 characters <grin>).

Now that you are beginning to demonstrate value into the organization through Twitter, slowly step into other areas to continue the positive momentum.  Consider ideas such as 1) expanding from micro-blogging (Twitter) to a full-fledged blog, 2) leveraging other social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, 3) creating an online community outside of your existing web, and finally; 4) creating a viral video.  Watch for future blogs on these last two items.


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  1. Your blog caught my eye on the discussion board for Linkedin’s Technology Marketing Group. I just posted on a very similar topic at the url I’ve listed.

    Listening is definitely the start, and not just for businesses. My blog post lists a few examples of what brands do with what they hear on Twitter.

  2. Nice Article – point well made. There is an evolution to the way we use Twitter. I’m giving a small local workshop to small business owners on how to use Twitter in June -I will give them this article to read.

    • Phyllis,

      I’m glad the article resonated. Make sure you take a look at both postings (Part 1 – Turn Twitter Upside Down and then part II). I appreciate the feedback. As I said in the article, Twitter (and social networking in general) needs to be a two-way dialog, so you feedback is appreciated. Feel free to comment on any/all of my posts. I love to get alternate opinions! Let me know if I can help you in any way, and feel free to pass my blog on to any of your attendees.

      Best Regards,


  3. Excellent Part II!
    I need to get my head wrapped around the concept quickly and looking for a Twitter “Seminar for Dummies”!!! LOL!
    Thanks a Mil Kevin!

  4. (Kevin – I hope you don’t mind the response – but he seems to be asking for it…) Hi EdG – I have a New To Twitter (you’re no dummy) 4 classes – live – online – get twitter-versed within a month. Learn all about Twitter, TweetDeck, TweetLater and TwitterFeed and how to use them to market your product or services. go to: feel free to contact me.

  5. Great two-part article. I especially enjoyed the example of the Laker game. Keep ’em coming, Kev. Gary

  6. Great pair of articles! I’ve been trying to get my head wrapped around how best to make use of Twitter as a tool to supplement my business blog and other online activity, and this is very helpful and simple at the same time. “Listen and respond” rather than shout about yourself is a fundamental shift from what seems to be going on right now.
    Right now, I’m engaged in trying to generate ‘buzz’ around our men’s legwear concept by engaging media to publicize this rather out of the ordinary trend that is emerging. Any suggestions for using social media to help get to writers or show producers to pique their interest in this?

  7. Steve,

    Great question… First, remember that Social Media is a new “tool” in your tool bag that can be very powerful, but it shouldn’t eliminate fundamental planning. So, always start with your objectives (as you have).

    You want to generate buzz. I would put together a comprehensive outbound marketing plan, of which Social Media is subset. It sounds like you have the basics in place – approach the PR/AR community. However, you need stories. I am at a bit of a disadvantage not knowing what you mean by your “men’s legwear concept”. However, can you get references and proof-points? Example – when Rebook launched their early campaigns, they came up with a new “aerobic” shoe that didn’t need to be “broken in” like other conventional shoes at the time. This was revolutionary and most people didn’t understand it (probably like your men’s legwear). They gave away shoes to aerobic instructors at the gyms. This gave them a tremendous pool of case studies and quotes to pull from. It also gave them “influencers”. The shoes actually worked well, so the instructors recommended them to their students. Can you do the same? This is what the PR/AR community wants to write about. This could also be the basis for a website/blog. Your Twitter strategy should be to create a Twitter account that connected to as many prospects as possible. Remember to not only have them connect to you, but to connect to them. Create a “community of people” with common interests. Attract them with both excellent dialog, but possibly prizes (e.g., coupons, etc.). Then create interesting dialog with them. Start with “What the heck is “men’s legwear” and get buzz around people talking. Maybe come up with a new interesting term for it since no one knows what it is (e.g., leg-armor, etc.). Ask questions of them about market requirements, interests, features they would look for, etc. You can use your Twitter community to drive traffic to your website/blog.

    Another approach is to pick a larger topic. This works well if your topic is awkward or too small to generate a community. An example is when Proctor and Gamble wanted to create an online community for young girls to talk about Tampons. They quickly realized that no one is going to visit a Tampon site. So they created a site for young girls to talk about fashion, dating, music, etc… Then they added a “dear abby” type of advice section and covered female reproductive issues. They subtly worked in feminine products and gave away advice, coupons and created an excellent marketing tool. They had a huge community to “listen to” and understand market needs, as well as promote their products. However, they buried it in a larger community. This may be a good solution for you.

    Good luck,


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