I 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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