How many of you have a Twitter account?  I know I didn’t up until a few months ago and now I am addicted!  With homework, working out, plus friends and family time, I find it difficult to find time to watch the news and keep current.  Twitter enables me to keep current on the go – on my mobile Twitter App!  I follow certain Twitter accounts such as CTV News or the Edmonton Journal and their tweets keep me informed about current events!  I am able to stay in the loop!

Signing up for Twitter is so easy; it is free and simple, and it allows you to follow people immediately and tweet updates quickly.  Companies are taking advantage of Twitter by listening and interacting with their customers.  Twitter can spread brand messages far more effectively than television can, and can do so at a much lesser cost.

Tweeters are among some of the most influential people out there.  The social technographic profile of tweeters include highly active users: joiners, creators, critics, conversationalists, spectators, and critics.  The demographics of tweeters are 64% male with an average age of 32 and an average household income of $91,000.  52% have a college degree and 72% often tell friends about products that interest them (WOW! Talk about word of mouth)!  If you think it is only the young people who are tweeting, guess again!

As a company, before you embrace Twitter you should ask yourself what your groundswell objective is, as I mentioned before in POST: listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and/or embracing.  With Twitter, you can have more than one objective.

  1. Listening: with Twitter, listening is essential.  You need to listen to know what you are getting into; watch for trends!
  2. Talking:  it is easy but don’t be boring!  Tweet things that you believe might be picked up and followed by others.  Make sure you respond to others as well!
  3. Energizing:  listen first and find the people you want to energize (those who like your products).  Respond to fans and re-tweet them, plus give them content to re-tweet to their followers.  For a great example of this, check out @Zappos_Service!
  4. Supporting:  respond to questions and complaints; listen to unhappy customers and reach out to them!
  5. Embracing:  this is more difficult when there is a limit of 140 characters per tweet, however you can use Twitter to drive people to surveys and links, plus provide incentives such as contests and draws. The best way to embrace, however, is to simply enter into a dialogue with followers.

Once you determine your objective(s), here are some tips for successful tweeting:

  1. Lock up your handle – tweet from your handle and don’t let someone else get it!
  2. Listen first – know what people are tweeting about before you post!
  3. Be ready to support people – people want responses!
  4. Follow others – people love when you pay attention to them!
  5. Be ready for a crisis – people will look to your Twitter account for a response!
  6. Respond, re-tweet, and link – and add a little personality!
  7. Staff it – make it part of someone’s job description!
  8. Check with legal and regulatory staff – it is public speech so be careful!
  9. Don’t waste a following – once you have it, keep it going and be creative!

Many companies are using Twitter now and are having a lot of success with their customers.  It is a cost-effective way to meet the needs of consumers and send them messages as well as support them.

Have a look at my Twitter account and follow me!  Creating an account is so easy to do!

Source: Groundswell


Speak Out!!


We have talked about using the groundswell to listen to your customers, but what about speaking to them?

The marketing funnel above illustrates that consumers are driven into the large end of the funnel through activities that raise awareness; advertising for example.  Consumers proceed through the stages of consideration, preference, action, and loyalty to become buyers.  The problem, however, is that marketers have little control over what happens in the middle of the funnel between awareness and purchasing; this middle piece of the funnel is where the groundswell influence is the heaviest.  Once awareness has been raised, people learn from each other through word of mouth.  Let’s face it; consumers trust friends, acquaintances and even STRANGERS more than they trust marketers.  When purchasing a new vehicle, for example, would you trust the salesperson at the dealership or the reviews of customers just like yourself who have provided reviews and/or feedback about the vehicle?

There are many techniques that can be used to talk with the groundswell: post a viral video (YouTube for example) and let people share it, engage in social networks, join the blogosphere, and/or create a community to engage and deliver to customers.  Here are some great examples:

  • Blendtec created a YouTube video titled “Will It Blend,” where items such as iPhones are placed in a blender and chopped into pieces!!
  • Ernst & Young realized potential employees belonged to Facebook, therefore they used social networking to reach out and talk to these potential candidates and answer their questions individually
  • HP speaks to their customers through blogging; they are honest and direct, instilling trust in their customers
  • Proctor & Gamble created a community called to provide teenage girls with a place to connect to each other and share embarrassing experiences; meanwhile they are marketing feminine care products to a target market that is normally not open to talking about such issues

Marketers are used to shouting to customers and listening to them to find out their needs, however the conversation in the middle of the funnel is what needs to be addressed.  Marketers MUST become involved in the consideration process: people, comments and feedback.  Constant involvement and responding to customers is key!

Stimulate conversation, sit back and listen!  The insight gained from conversing with your customers will provide invaluable information!

Blogging Tips for Success:

Start with people and objectives, as noted in my POST blog; know who to reach and how to reach them.  Here are some suggestions for beginning the dialogue:

  1. Start by listening – listen first and then determine how to join the conversation
  2. Determine a goal for the blog – what are you trying to accomplish?
  3. Estimate ROI – how will your blog pay off and what will it cost?
  4. Develop a plan – who will blog?  How many blogs will you have?
  5. Rehearse – practice before you go live!
  6. Develop an editorial process – who, if anyone, needs to review your posts?  ie your boss?
  7. Design the blog and its connection to the company site – how central will it be to the company’s image?
  8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog – press release? trade magazines? emails to customers?
  9. Remember, blogging is more than writing – respond to what is out there and respond to comments!
  10. Final advice: BE HONEST!  People want genuine statements of a person’s opinion

For more information, please see Groundswell chapter 6 and learn about how you can talk to your customers and become part of the middle of the tunnel!