Link to my Twitter page: http://twitter.com/#!/rjruss6

Three Organizations Using Twitter, and How They Rank

 The three organizations whose marketing Tweets I followed are:  Whole Foods, Dell and Starbucks.  First up, Whole Foods http://twitter.com/#!/wholefoods:

Whole Foods is very effective in their use of Twitter as a tool for marketing.  They have targeted their audience, and have established their brand in the realm of wholesome foods and nutrition.  Their Tweets are upbeat, and timely; the Tweets coincide nicely with seasonal events and community happenings.  Whole Foods uses the question/response device very effectively to engage their audience.  It works.

Next, Dell http://twitter.com/#!/DELL:

Dell use of Twitter is also effective, especially when considering that Dell’s products are of an intrinsically different economic nature than that of Whole Foods.  Dell positions themselves well as a leader in the marketplace.  They establish themselves as up-to-date within their industry; thus credibly laying out for us their expertise.  They cultivate their target audience by providing excellent care and follow-up via their Tweets.

Last up, Starbucks http://twitter.com/#!/starbucks:

Starbucks use of Twitter is very effective.  Starbucks’ audience is of course very well established, and they pay very close attention to it.  They listen.  This is true in their use of Twitter for responding to questions and complaints about customer service.  Starbucks’ Tweets about their products and seasonal items are consistent and timely.  In addition, they even used Twitter recently to announce an opening within the company for a Product Manager for Global Digital Marketing.  And in Canada (but sadly, not yet in the U.S.) they even Tweeted about an iPhone App for mobile payments.

Some Guidelines

  • Again, Target your audience
  • Be respectful . . . as well as welcoming, and friendly
  • Content:  be engaging; ask questions . . . what has your attention?
  • Be upbeat; have fun!
  • Always listen; gather information, collect opinions . . . remember, it’s a forum
  • Post questions for quick answers (see Always listen, above)
  • Respond to questions quickly to establish credibility and expertise
  • Keep current within your industry
  • Promote more than just your own agenda; participate in the community
  • When talking about your organization, be helpful:  give advice; gain credibility
  • Show the ‘people’ side of your organization; demonstrate an interest in connecting
  • Always:  be consistent, be transparent, be authentic

Is Twitter Better Suited to Some Organizations, Over Others?

Twitter can be an useful tool for most organizations.  The most important thing is for a company to understand the inherent strengths/weaknesses of their products/services, and how those characteristics match up with their target audiences’ wants and needs.  For instance, the products/services that Whole Foods vs. Dell vs. Cleveland Clinic all sell very different things.  The nature of the connection that each of those establishments is trying to build is very different.  The type connection influences the analytics; in turn, the analytics determine how effective Twitter can be for each organization.  Twitter may not be the lead marketing tool for every company, but for most companies, it can still be an effective one.

Other Social Networking Platforms

This week, I Tweeted about four other social networking platforms.  Of the four, I found that Klout turned out to be more of a measuring tool than a true social networking platform.  Of those that I explored, I will summarize Flickr, MeetUp and Delicious.

Flickr  http://www.flickr.com/ is a photo management and sharing application.  It enables people and organizations to share their digital photos with like minded others.  Sharing groups can be selectively chosen.  Once invited in by the originating poster, the invitee is able to organize the photographic content to his/her own preferences with comments, notes and tags.  But, what does this mean for marketers?

Well, what it means is that marketers can use Flickr to target groups that have interests similar to their offerings.  It has been said that people would rather watch than read, and that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Flickr enables your company to get their message across with still images (with or without captions), and videos (with or without sound or dialogue).  Companies can get the most out of Flickr by using their website address as their Flickr screen name.  The screen name is attached to all visual messages posted. 

The Flickr ‘Profile’ should always be used.  It describes your company, your company’s mission, and your product line.  In addition, it’s advisable to provide a link from the company’s website to the Flickr account.  In this way, search engines will help draw traffic to the account, ensuring optimal usage.

MeetUp http://www.meetup.com/ is different.  Its purpose is to align like-minded people in physical time and place.  This can be within a single organization, or within a city, or within something like a national trade show or conference.  MeetUp facilitates networking and information exchange.

MeetUp’s marketing benefit is straightforward.  It enables a company to promote its products and services.  People are gathering here for this purpose:  Your company, whose interests align, can be there too.  There, you can distribute samples, pamphlets, free offers, etc.  Your company has a chance to connect with customers and potential customers; your company can gain valuable input prior to a product launch; your company can cultivate a wider network; your company can expand its professional profile.

Delicious http://delicious.com/ is a social media bookmarking site.  It provides an alternate location for storage of online sites and online resources.  Delicious is accessible anywhere, anytime, from any type of computer.  Content organization is flexible:  organize by subject, organize by quality or organize by type.  Information can be selectively shared, or not.

Delicious offers the marketer the ability to access, bookmark and share the most current information about industry trends, industry news and competitor status.  A marketer can also track company mentions, thus helping keep market research up to date.  Delicious gives marketers within an organization access to relevant information about topics that can be shared with the target audience.

I can see Delicious being a highly desired, and versatile tool for both marketers and PR people alike.

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