The Default Relationship between Brand and Customer

Twitter seems to have its fans and its detractors and a fair proportion of marketers who just don’t know whether it’s worth investing the time and effort in the network. So here’s a positive look at the tool and a summary of some of the things you can do with it.

Research conducted in late 2011 with over 1,000 Twitter users revealed some fairly significant insights. 1 out of 2 users who tweet a complaint about a company on Twitter expect the company to read their tweet.  Interestingly, only 29% of users who did tweet a complaint to a company received a response.

Of those 29%, over 50% say they ‘liked it’ and 32% say they ‘loved it’. Remember these were twitter complaints. Further, 34.7% were very satisfied and 39.7% were somewhat satisfied with the response. That’s a really positive result, again given that these were twitter complaints.

Not only has a dialogue started between the customer and the company (one that can be built on over time) but a resolution to the problem was achieved in the majority of the complaints.

But Twitter is obviously more than just a customer support channel. Another interesting research piece reveals the top five reasons for why Twitter users follow brands. Coming out on top is the obvious one – they’re an existing customer. This explains why Twitter is used by many brands as a customer support channel. Why else would you want to follow Telstra on Twitter unless you were a customer, right?

The second item, “to be the first to know information about the brand”, again really only the domain of existing customers. The last three are also relevant to existing customers but can be applicable to casual customers or those at the conversion edge:

  • To receive discounts and promotions
  • Gain access to exclusive content
  • Receive content/information and share it with others

So far we’ve focused primarily on Twitter use as a customer service channel. The reason being that many organisations and brands use Twitter this way but also because of this high usage, there is a general expectation from Twitter users that’s the default relationship between brand and customer on Twitter.

In saying that, there are of course plenty of other uses and we’re also seeing this expectation evolve to be more about the brand creating a value-add like activating meaningful content that may not actually be product or service related.

So let’s look at a few of these other uses of Twitter…

  • Listening to the Twitter community is a big one. In fact you should never stop      listening. There are tools out there that help you do this as it can be a bit overwhelming just using the stock standard Twitter search bar. Sometimes there’s not much you can do to help really irate customers on Twitter. For many brands, simply acknowledging that there’s an issue and taking a step towards resolution will help turn an angry customer into a satisfied customer.
  • Expressing brand personality. Twitter’s new profile layout for brands means that brands can upload a graphic in the header and pin a tweet to the top of their profile.
  • Link sharing to articles or discussions is another popular use. Or simply link      sharing to specials or promotions you’re running to drive sales.
  • Sharing to rich media such as video, infographics or podcasts is also popular on Twitter.
  • Following “key influencers” within your industry is a great way to engage with      individuals who have large followings.
  • If your organisation holds a live event or conference, chances are your      audience will be tweeting about it. You can play a role in the online discussion by suggesting a hash tag to use before the event. Another great idea is to ask for questions via the hash tag that a speaker or panel discussion can address.
  • It’s also worth noting that Twitter have a powerful API or Application      Programming Interface that allows your developers to access backend      functionality of Twitter to deliver on your website or app.

The above ideas are a sample of the content from the social media consumer marketing course which is running in Sydney on June 13th (Tim Hill, Digital Strategist, The reading Room) and Perth May 29th  (Anna Smith, Director, Hatchd).

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