Still Don't "Get" Twitter? It's Time to Try

Last Updated May 31, 2011 12:06 AM EDT

Despite the fact that millions of people are using Twitter, too many still do not seem to grasp its power. Upon asking marketers if they use Twitter, the common replies I hear are:
  • "Why should I care if you are having a latte at Starbucks?"
  • "I already get status updates from LinkedIn or Facebook."
These reactions demonstrate that some marketing professionals still don't know what Twitter can do for their business or the brands they manage. In fact, last year social media pundit and blogger Brian Solis noted that on google, the second most popular query that begins with "I don't get..." is "I don't get Twitter."

Twitter users have more power

Those that do get Twitter seem to have more influence online. A 2010 study by Exact Target showed that consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand's reputation than the average customer. In fact, the study goes on to say that Twitter users are the most influential online consumers and that "Twitter offers marketers an unrivaled opportunity to instantly and personally interact with customers on behalf of a brand."

How can you use Twitter to improve your business? A look at how some marketers are using it to their advantage might give you some good ideas.

Use it as a Tool for Consumer Feedback

Mashable's Adam Ostrow reports that Gatorade has a command center called Mission Control that monitors Tweets relevant to the Gatorade brand. Mission Control enables them to react quickly to complaints and turn them into opportunities for building a closer relationship with customers. They also use it to gage the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, monitor product performance, and feed new product ideas and competition information to the appropriate new product development and sales teams.

Use it to Enhance Loyalty to a Brand

Sun Valley Dairy uses Twitter to promote their Voskos Greek yogurt brand. They run contests, link to coupons on their Web site, provide links to scientific data related to health benefits, encourage followers to share how they use their products, and refer followers to Greek yogurt recipes.

Fix Customers Problems

JetBlue uses Twitter extensively to service their customers, which tend to be tech-savvy and influential. They have over 1.6 million followers and receive lots of positive feedback about their quick response to customer complaints via Twitter. They add a personal touch to their Twitter page by providing the name of the customer service person on duty.
Twitter gives JetBlue the opportunity to quickly reply in real time so they can impress their customers, neutralize negative feelings from a bad experience, and generate a positive word-of-mouth pyramid on Twitter that can multiply on other social networks.

These are just a few of the many ways companies are using Twitter in their marketing.

How have you used Twitter to advance the marketing of your company and products?

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Ira Kalb is president of Kalb & Associates, an international consulting and training firm, and professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California (USC). He has won numerous awards for marketing and teaching, authored ten books and over 30 articles, created marketing inventions that have made clients and students more successful. He is frequently interviewed by various media for his expertise in branding, crisis management and strategic marketing. Follow him on Twitter.
image courtesy of flickr user, Rosaura Ochoa
  • Ira Kalb

    Ira Kalb is president of Kalb & Associates, an international consulting and training firm, and professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California. He has won numerous awards for marketing and teaching, authored ten books and created marketing inventions that have made clients and students more successful. He is frequently interviewed by various media for his expertise in branding, crisis management and strategic marketing. Follow him on Twitter at @irakalb