5 Reasons Why Twitter is Not a Fad

Even in 2011, there are many people who are hesitant or skeptical regarding the use and benefits of Twitter. I shake my head and “sigh” at these folks. Twitter, although simple to begin using (such as tweeting, retweeting, hashtags, etc), is not so simple to finesse and engage with. It takes time and effort to get the art and science balance ofTwitter and its benefits. But when used correctly, brands (whether personal or companies) can truly increase their marketing efforts. Thus, it is not an app that is going to go away anytime soon…face it folks, Twitter is still here and you should take the time to embrace it. And here’s why…

1. Customer Service: Like the idea of instant customer service in real-time? Who doesn’t? Well Twitter is the answer. You can tweet to a company who uses Twitter for their customer service and their community manager should respond within minutes to whatever question, grievance, or comment you may have. For example, I made a comment to Zipcar once via Twitter, and within seconds I had a response. Who wants to pick up the phone and sit on hold when you can Tweet it?


2. Targeted element: Rather than reaching out to the mass media and just Tweeting to no-man’s-land…Twitter helps people target who they’re talking to. For example you can make Twitter lists of people who are current customer, potential customers, etc. Then when you see them Tweet, you can respond with a targeted tweet whether it be a special promotion for first time customers or a discount for being a loyal consumer.Twitter allows your brand to show your consumers you care about each one, and are listening and catering to their needs. For example, Petco does promotional tweets, which allow you get discounts and/or win contests for freebies if you answer a trivia question. Great way to promote the brand and create conversation too. One note of caution though — be careful not to spam. You may scare away potential or current consumers. Think before you Tweet!

3. Open vs. closed: Certain platforms are good for some things and others are better for other things. But the way Twitter is set up, it’s very easy for businesses to have a conversation with customers but still drive traffic to their site and take the conversation and activity elsewhere. Whereas Facebook pages it’s like everything is locked up inFacebook (or so it seems). Thus, you’re taking it past Twitter and putting it where and when customers want it. For example, brands such as Johnny Cupcakes utilize Twitterto talk about new T-shirts that are being released, and allow consumers to click right then and there on a link to the page with the new item. Convenient and “tweet worthy!”


4. Building Relationships: Unlike those who just Tweet stuff about themselves,Twitter can be a great vehicle to build relationships with both potential and current consumers. For example, when brands tweet back to people, respond to questions, and/or JUST to comment back with a laugh and appreciative banter…that’s where relationships form. The building blocks to successful relationships of course include time and effort, but it can start with a Tweet, which allows for that consumer (potential or loyal) to feel special and connected to a brand, especially when it’s a large one. Just take a look at Domino’s Twitter feed below…even a simple thanks can go a long way, whether it’s a consumer buying their pizza and/or sharing the customer experience with friends and so on and so forth.


5. All the cool kids are doing it: When a social media tool goes beyond brands and trendy people using it, that’s when it causes a real stir. For example, when it comes to national crisis events, Twitter has been used to get the word out faster and allow people to know what’s going on whether it’s regarding a national disaster or something else. In short, Twitter is a great — no, exceptional — vehicle for getting the word out, quickly, efficiently, and to the people you want to hear it when and where they want to listen to it.


So what are you waiting for? Hop on the bandwagon before it leaves you behind! Tweet it up!

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

How to: Start a Company Twitter Account

Is your company ready to Tweet? Well before you get started on the Tweets, hashtag usage, and great consumer engagement through the relationships you will build…and then here are the steps you need to take in order to take advantage of Twitter and all its greatness:

1) Twitter Handle: In my opinion, it is best to keep a Twitter handle as simple as possible, as close to your company name as possible, and without any numbers and/or dashes (if possible). Case in point: @carbonite and @zipcar. That way if someone is looking for your company handle on Twitter or via Google, it is easier to find, and easier to remember when people are Tweeting about you. As the old line goes, “keep it simple stupid.”

2) Profile Picture and Background: Use a picture that’s easy to recognize and coincides with your company’s brand image. Best to use your logo if possible or a variation of it. In addition your background is also great “retail space.” You can customize it to be very visual like @zipcar below or or keep it simple and to the point like @carbonite below. In addition you can use that space to add more info regarding your other links to your other platforms and/or blog(s).

3) Bio and Link: So you have 140 characters to work with for this concise and to-the-point bio of who your company is and why the consumer should care. Let’s take a look at @zipcar again — their bio says “A community of folks who’ve found out that car sharing beats the heck outta car rental or ownership. We’re tweeting from Zipcar HQ Mon-Fri 9am-5pm EST.” They keep it hip and simple just like their company culture exudes. You want to be consistent with your brand image and positioning as well as be creative with this “retail space.” I think @zipcar does a great job at this. They also include their web page in the web address portion – which is vital! The link you include should be the heart of your company’s content hub. You want to lead people to where you want them to go, so they can be converted from someone who is aware of your brand to a consumer who purchases and advocates for your brand.

4) Strategy: Now before you start following every random person you can find…think why you should follow them. Put together a strategy/plan for your investment in social media. It is not about random follows and robotic Tweets. It’s about reaching your target market and engaging with them on a deeper level. Social media, such as Twitterallows companies the capability to listen and respond to consumers in a real-time way which was not possible before. It gives consumers the personal attention they want from the brands they love.

Thus: (1) who is your target market, (2) where are they, (3) what are they talking about, and (4) how can you converse with them. Example: @carbonite would have looked at who they want to sell to and what they want to utilize their Twitter account for. As seen from their stream they talk to current consumers and assist with issues they may have, questions regarding the service @carbonite provides, offers they may have, as well as engaging on a personal level with each follower they have in order to demonstrate they aren’t just another brand on Twitter, but a brand who wants to fully engage with each person who follows them. Still unsure where to start and find the “right” followers? Try out Follower Wonk, which is a helpful tool for following “relevant” people for you. It allows you to find who is following your competition, and in turn you can follow them as well. Useful and easy to use!

Note: Another thing to keep in mind is if you want more than one handle for your company. Some companies such as @zappos have different accounts for different services in order to be more efficient with consumer response. Therefore you can have one handle for customer service, while another for finance issues, and another for the CEO (or a higher up) to Tweet from in order to show that the brand is personal and even the higher ups care about each and every consumer out there. In addition@zipcar has different handles for their different cities they are located in. Great for specific attention to your consumers. This can be great for efficiency as I said, but be sure that you have the manpower to handle each of these handles and do not leave consumers waiting. Twitter is in real time after all.

5) Lists: Helpful to create lists of categories that matter and a great way for your followers to follow those lists as well. Example: if you have different areas of function within your company such as @mashable who focuses on Tech, Social Media and many other things — they have different lists to correspond to those.

6) A few more tips:
  • Last few tweets: People pay attention to your last few Tweets especially when they are unsure whether to follow you. They may check to see if you are offering relevant content in your Tweets. So it can be useful to ensure that your Tweets are relevant to your industry and target market (as well as some not so serious ones thrown in to be more personal and fun).
  • Follow back: Do not be one of those that does not follow back. It’s so middle school.
  • ReTweet: ReTweet other people within your industry or target market. It’s not all about you.
  • Be Polite: Like in real life, a “thank you” goes a long way.
  • Do not Spam: I know when I get spammed by companies I either unfollow or block them. Spam = waste of time.
  • And avoid the common mistakes on Twitter that people easily make.

Wishing you had a helpful guide to keep at your side and familiarize your boss or yourself a bit more? Check out this Ebook: Twitter for Business 101. It’s not only free but super easy to follow and utilize for 101 guidance. Now….Ready, Set, Tweet!

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot

Zipcar: At your Fingertips “on” and “offline”

Are you familiar with Zipcar? Well let me ask a simpler question – do you own a car? No? Zipcar is the solution. When I was in college (not too many moons ago), my best friend and I wanted to rent a car to go away for the weekend (as much as we loved Boston, it was nice to get out of the city once in a while). BUTTT….as many know, you need to be 25 to rent a car (and not get charged up the ass). Solution: Zipcar. The alternative car rental service, which allowed you to rent at 21 (awesome) and didn’t make you go to a car rental location (and abide by silly restraining open/close hours) – even more awesome. And as many fellow “zipsters” know – it gets better. Most likely a zipcar is located right around the corner of your apartment/job/gym/school for your utmost convenience. Whether for a couple hours to run to Wrentham Outlets for that “shopping spree” or head to the beach or the slopes – my zipcar membership became “clutch.” It may get pricey if you rent for longer periods of time – but for me, the convenience was worth the extra cost — especially with the gas and insurance included. High Five!

My best friend and I – who lived together for multiple years during and after college – used Zipcar anytime we needed a “getaway.” We tried out the Mini (cute for the beach), SUVs, hybrids, and the always reasonable Honda. Kind of an awesome way to test-drive to see what car you may want in the future too.

To this day, I am pleased with my membership because I am a woman of having things at my fingertips (convenience is key). And being a social media geek, I am all about having my news, info, and chatter at my fingertips too. So as I randomly tweeted today “@Zipcar Been a member since I was 21 (ok so that’s almost 7 years)… had some great trips and memories. cc: @juliaroy” — I was impressed by the fast and speedy response by the “person behind the handle.” The community manager was friendly and interested to hear more. So hear I am, Zipcar — telling you more. I am impressed by your product, service, and now even more with your friendly banter online – in “real-time” – just the way I like it.

And as promised here are a few pictures from my adventures back in college. :)