Ben Elowitz, the CEO of the social media firm Wetpaint and author of the Digital Quarters blog, picked the top ten companies on Twitter. From his perspective these are the companies that are gaining the most success from their use of Twitter. Trying to crack the whole “using Twitter for your business” thing myself, I decided to take a look at each of the “Top 10 Companies on Twitter” and see exactly what they are doing in order to be in this top ten.
10- Home Depot
Elowitz said “The Home Depot goes beyond just product and store questions to help showcase how consumers use the store in their home improvement projects.”
When I checked out the recent Home Depot tweets I was impressed that the Twitter account is constantly contacting customers who tweet anything about their company. Anything from rants about lack of gardening knowledge of a salesperson to buying a new gazebo to install at home, HomeDepot is very likely to reply if you direct a tweet their way.
“With a Chief Blogger and a Chief Listener both hooked onto the party line, this venerable brand now uses the most forward communications to help them stay up-to-date with their product and market.” -Elowitz
Jennifer Cisney manages this Twitter account and does some great things with it. While posting tweets that contain links to her newest blog post, she is sure to address any other Twitter users who tweet at Kodak with concerns or issues. Most interestingly though she keeps her Twitter personable by posting messages of thoughts and insights that have to do with her job. She writes about her excitement for her pets being used for sample pictures to reduce red eye on animals and also posts any photos that she would like to share with the “Twitterverse.”
“The #1 most socially engaged of the Interbrand Top 100 brands, Starbucks is on top of ‘in the moment’ customer interaction. Starbucks says, “It’s about the relationships we form with our customers, not marketing.”—Elowitz.
After checking out the Starbucks Twitter page, I understand why they are so effective with their social media marketing. First, “Brad at Starbucks in Seattle, WA” is quick to provide any customer services he can. In addition to giving praises back to customers who are raving about Starbucks, he recommends different drinks to customers who were dissatisfied with their last purchase. And of course there are promotional tweets as well that tell of “happy hour” and free samples being given away at a specific locations.
7- Southwest Airlines
“Replicating that same fun, casual flying relationship to enthrall their customers. The (only) airline that knows how to make customers LUV (the company’s ticker symbol, based on the Love Field airport in Dallas) them, one tweet at a time.”- Elowitz.
It seems thus far, all the companies on this list are very customer service oriented. Making sure to address any complaints, questions, or anything else a customer directs at your company seems to be a huge part of successful tweeting. Southwest Airlines is no exception. Along with the outstanding customer service I observed, Southwest Airlines hosts contests to win plane tickets and even has tweets offering free tickets to MLB games.
6- New York Times
“This publisher broadcasts all the news that fits in 140 characters to keep in touch with 2.4 million readers, with subchannels for specific interests.”- Elowitz
The New York Times does exactly this. There are constant updates on news, most commonly several every hour even. If you easily want to stay updated with the news, I would suggest following the New York Times on Twitter.
“The cable TV giant stages a perceptual makeover of customer disservice by converting a gripeline into a testimonial factory through @comcastcares”- Elowitz
I was very surprised to see Comcast on this list. And after looking at the “comcastcares” Twitter page I was not all that impressed. They seemed to be helping with a lot of customer’s issues, even providing step-by-step details on how to fix problems, but I don’t think customers would gain anything from this page unless they had an issue they needed help with.
“Never again for JetBlue after their 2007 ‘day on the tarmac’ PR nightmare. Constant communication with 1.6 million followers keeps them from falling out of touch; plus JetBlue Cheeps broadcasts fast-moving deals to their most devoted 50,000.” – Elowitz
JetBlue constantly has contests and giveaways. If you check out the “What is being said about JetBlue” box on their blog, you will see person after person tweeting about JetBlue. The deal is, if you retweet something JetBlue has posted, you are entered in to the contest, for lets say, free tickets to LA. The easiest secret to social media success appears to be giveaways or products that are largely discounted. Many people have negative views on this and believe that social media marketing should be much more than just freebies. Will a few giveaways keep fans coming back? And obviously the constant freebies and sizeable discounts are not sustainable. So how long will this last?
“Extending the zany brand relationship between the online shoe company and customers, encouraging everyone from CEO to newbies to join the party.” – Elowitz
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, is in charge of this Twitter account. This is probably the most personal account I’ve encountered on the list so far. Tony tweets favorite quotes, what he’s doing, and just random thoughts. It does not tell too much about Zappos, only a few tweets here and there.
2- Whole Foods Market
“Whole Foods uses Twitter to go deep on their customers’ needs, test concepts, and extend the conversation about values that drive them.” –Elowitz
Right in the bio of the WholeFoods Twitter page, it states “Ready to answer your questions Mon-Fri 9am-5pm CST!” It deals mostly with telling people where they can request a new store to be located. From what I see, there are very few negative tweets about them, so I guess they are doing their job right. They also are sure to quickly respond to any customer concerns.
“For overstock and obsolete equipment, getting outlet inventory sold fast is the name of the game. Twitter is the fast-paced grapevine that gets the word out – to the tune of $3 million in annual sales.”- Elowitz
This Twitter page is full of customers asking for coupons for Dell products. In the midst of all the requests you will find some promo codes for a percentage off specific products. These coupon codes do a great job of getting products sold fast and it appears people are always looking for these savings.
In summary, it seems the best way to use Twitter for your business is to first, address any customer questions, concerns, or even good things they may be saying about your company. Make sure you are interacting with others, the main point of Twitter is to be in contact with people. Next, take advantage of your following by posting any promotional tweets about events or specials. Finally, be sure to keep it personal. Add some of your own individuality and expertise. Tweet little tips, articles that interest you, or anything else that appeals to you and you would like to share. With these tips and your own individuality, there are incredible opportunities for success awaiting you on Twitter.