What’s Twitter saying about you?

Companies need to accept that Twitter users and bloggers, especially the higher profile ones, now have a solid journalistic voice when it comes to brand opinion. Reactions to this media are necessary and needs to be treated just as seriously as traditional mediums.

I think many business owners still feel the need for reacting to these people is less important to the marketing mix – especially Twitter – as so much gets lost among the personal commentary and nonsensical “I just ate a pizza”-type tweets.

Karla Dawes, a consultant for Ann Morrison Public Relations (AMPR) tells how they have gained great results and added exposure by reacting to social media commentary surrounding the fashion industry.

EXAMPLE 1

“A well-known and respected fashion blogger and freelancer tweeted that she loved our client’s jacket and also uploaded the picture of this jacket onto Twitpic. We informed our client and they said they’d love to send it to her as a gift. We already had her address so we couriered it that day. When she received it she immediately tweeted to us, our client and her followers just how much she loved her new jacket. This was seen by over 1,500 people on Twitter – not including re-tweets. She has also continued to mention it in additional seminars and lectures she holds in Melbourne.”

EXAMPLE 2

“Client Pepe Jeans held a competition as part of it sponsorship of the St Kilda Festival, where they were giving out free jeans in the St Kilda precinct. Via Twitter a well-known fashion blogger asked if Pepe would be giving these away in Sydney. We tweeted back on behalf of our client saying no, but asked her for her address. That day we sent her a free pair of jeans. The next day she tweeted to her extremely large follower base and then posted the jeans she received on her blog with a large write up. This exposure for the brand was excellent!”

Twitter follow: @annmorrisonpr, @karla_dawes, @pepe_jeans_aus

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On a more personal note my experience with reactive social media as an end user was with Telstra. I’m certainly not going to be the first person to voice their opinion of the service levels offered by Australia’s premier telco but recently I purchased a new high speed USB modem. I was promised in store that it would work with the Apple Mac, only to get home and be left with a device that seemed to connect but would not allow any internet access.

Cutting a (very) long story short, I spent a total of around five hours on the phone speaking to various people and waiting in queues and had two separate visits to the store where I was presented with very few options and no real assistance other than the use of their phone to call the same people I had been on hold to.

Enter social media and the use of my Twitter account. After a disgruntled tweet (putting it nicely) via my mobile phone expressing my disappointment with the lack of service, I had an instant reply from the Bigpond Twitter Team – saying how sorry they were for the issues I was facing and asking if there was any way they could possibly help me.

While in the store and still on hold to a second level account operator I replied to the tweet with my problem. Within several minutes the problem was found and rectified. I then received a follow up call the next day from the Twitter team just to confirm everything was working fine and to see if I had any other problems. BRILLIANT!

I now know of several other people who have used this Twitter service, as it seems to be the only way to get your problem fixed at Telstra.

Twitter follow: @BigPondTeam

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Of course, it’s essential to be proactive when going about your social media campaigns – starting your Twitter feed and promoting your Facebook fan page are fantastic to blast out your promotional message, but these examples highlight the need to keep an eye on trending topics surrounding your brands, products and services, and then react accordingly.

Quick tip: Download a copy of TweetDeck. It works on most platforms – PC, Mac, iPhone, etc and you can easily manage your tweets as well as do a search on specific keywords (such as your brand). This will help you keep an eye on what is going on so you can react quickly.

In my opinion reactive social media is an essential component of the digital marketing lifecycle from concept to promotion through to end user experience. You need to understand what people are saying and then LISTEN TO THEM! Respond to their voice and their opinion.

Recent stats from comScore show that Australia has the second highest social media penetration in the Asia Pacific region (89.6%) with Facebook the number one site. This translates to internet users averaging 21 visits in February 2010 at a staggering 3.8 hours per visitor.

Basically, now more than ever these social media statistics show that it is part of mainstream marketing and that the opinions of these users really count.

I’d be interested to hear of examples of where reaction or failure to react to social media has had a negative impact on your brand, product or service.

Twitter follow: @godigital_media

Benjamin Nicoll is a founding partner of GoDigital Media, one of Australia’s best value digital media agencies, which provides up-to-date, affordable products and services for SMEs.

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