Businesses on Twitter

14 August, 2009

I was asked this question in relation to our corporate twitter account on LinkedIn today

Mick – Great idea but do you have any examples of this being used in a business context before and the value it could bring?

My response got kinda long so I decided to post it here :-) Enjoy!

There are hundreds of examples of businesses using twitter to achieve a whole range of objectives. The two most common objectives businesses set out to achieve via twitter are to raise their brand’s profile or provide proactive customer service. Proactive customer service, where an organisation ‘listens’ to the conversations happening on twitter for mentions of their brand and steps into help is becoming more and more common.

The best local example of proactive customer service using twitter is Telstra BigPond (twitter.com/bigpondteam). The team at BigPond search twitter for people talking about Telstra and BigPond products and offer to help.

Sometimes this is as simple as answering a question, other times they will ask the person with the problem to send their contact details via direct message (a private message between two twitter users) so it can be investigated further.

In many cases a twitter user will simply complain about a problem with their Telstra service to their friends and a BigPond representative will contact them directly and offer to help them solve it. In the US, Comcast (twitter.com/comcastcares) have been very successful with a similar system.

Many organisations are using twitter to distribute news and information to their customers; many AFL football teams are doing this very effectively. I particularly like twitter.com/northkangaroos… but I might be biased!! Other examples include twitter.com/SouthwestAir, twitter.com/jetblue, dell.com/twitter, twitter.com/gimmecoffee and twitter.com/5senses

Others conduct competitions to raise the profile of their brand. Two weeks ago I won an LCD TV after participating in a promotion run by Kogan Technologies (twitter.com/KoganTech), as a result I told my 460 followers all about my new Kogan TV.

These are all great examples of how businesses are using twitter for their brands, but there are infinitely more examples of individuals using twitter to find, share and discuss information relating to their work on twitter.

One example occurred this morning. I read your comment and thought to myself ‘hmm I can think of a couple of good examples I wonder what else is out there.’ I asked the question on twitter and was alerted to Southwest Air, Jet Blue, Gimme Coffee, Dell and Comcast.

Another example came up a couple of weeks ago during the Knowledge Management Australia conference. I was not able to get to Sydney to attend the conference but much of the content is directly relevant to my work at CPA Australia. Traditionally I would have just missed out, however using twitter I was able to search for the tag #KMAus09 and follow the key points that were being made at the conference. A tag is simply a word that users tweeting about a common topic include in their tweets. You can view the search results for #KMAus09 here: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23KMaus09.

Following the conference on twitter was not as good as being there but it was better than not being there at all and provided a useful insight into the issues discussed.

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2 Responses to “Businesses on Twitter”


  1. You really are a convert, going from a position of sceptic to true believer, aren’t you.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re right, although I did hear a tale of an obsessive CEO who spent half his day monitoring twitter for references to his (rather large) company, rather than actually running it…

    Thanks: Micheal

  2. Mick Leyden Says:

    Yes, I have been saved!!

    Having whitnessed the fist couple of days of our work twitter account in action I can attest to the risk of distraction!!

    Fortunately in our case the novelty wore off quite quickly and it settled into business as usual, but it important to think about when kicking something like this off.


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