Kalpesh Shah, TMMBA alumnus
More than any other social media tools, Twitter is about conversation with people in a company’s ecosystem. These include not only your customers, but also your employees, suppliers, government officials and any other person that deals with your company directly or indirectly. Here are three things that are common among companies that use Twitter most effectively.
The Chicago Tylenol murders had the potential to destroy one of Johnson and Johnson’s marque brands. The company could have easily disowned the problem because sabotage during production was ruled out in this case. However, the company not only issued a nationwide recall of Tylenol products, but also worked with pharmacies, hospitals and law enforcement agencies to educate the consumers. The company earned praise for being honest with the public and was able to re-establish its brand in few years. The need to be honest is even more paramount today because people have quick access to so much information. Trying to spin an issue can result in even more public relations nightmare. As a Microsoft research shows, being honest and proactively sharing information can help create a positive response from customers.
Twitter moves at the speed of thought and a company has to respond at the same speed. The only way to respond that fast is to monitor what is said about the company. As Motrin’s Twitter Moment proves, not monitoring, or worse, ignoring what is said about your company/product will not make the problem go away. It will only make it worse. Toyota went about the right way and turned #toyotafail into social media PR win (Disclosure – I work for the company that owns CoTweet).
Employees with Power
In order to respond at the speed of light, you need employees who are authorized to respond without having to check-in with management. When messages and conversations about your company are flowing at high speed, you may not have the management resources available to make every decision for the employees on the front lines. These front line employees have their ears to the ground and must be able to respond immediately. As JetBlue use of Twitter shows, just responding to your customers can make them happy customers at the worst of times.
In summary, as long as you have well trained employees who can monitor conversations about your company and can respond at the speed of light while being honest, your company is well on the way to using Twitter’s power to your advantage.