Ever since Shaq And Ashton made Twitter a household name, it seems like every celebrity and business entity out there is trying to cash in on the popularity of this social networking tool.
I can hear the boardroom conversations now, “shit, we just got WordPress installed because they told us we needed a blog, now you are saying we need to create something called a Twitter account?”
Most companies have no clue how to Tweet and foolishly jump in head first doing the same thing they have done before, pushing PR approved marketing blurbs to an unknown universe of people. I can’t think of a better way of alienating your current and potential customer base.
So who is doing this right?
Ben Gaines in Omniture ClientCare is a great example of what a corporate Twitter presence should look like. He is a real person, with a real personality. He is knowledgeable and he is a constant presence on Twitter. Have a product issue or question? Send him a Tweet and he will personally follow-up to make sure you are taken care of. What I enjoy most from following Ben on Twitter is that he isn’t just some corporate clone trying to brainwash me into liking the product. He provides valuable insight and is a great escalation point when I run into problems.
JetBlue is another shining example of a company using Twitter the “right way”. Rather then posting an endless and mind numbing stream of Tweets about how cool JetBlue is they are providing a real service on Twitter. They are actively listening to travelers and are responding to each one individually to ensure they have a world-class experience. “I’d like to travel with my pet dog but I don’t know what I can or can’t do” Well, Tweet to JetBlue and ask them and you may get a response back like “Pet carriers can’t exceed 17″L x 12.5″W x 8″H. We’re partial to the JetPaws program: http://www.jetblue.com/jetpaws/ offering a carrier and tips!”
I believe Twitter can be an extremely powerful tool for corporations but only if its done the right way. Remember, social media tools like Twitter are grassroots, don’t go in trying to think you can apply archaic business practices because if you do you are destined for failure.