Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twitter Intrigues Me

There are the Twitter lovers and then there are the less techy who don't understand the use/benefits of Twitter. I've been learning the benefits more and more over the last few months and thought I'd share some of my insights for those unconverted folks.

First I do believe that there are two user types with a fuzzy line between them. The first are the Tweeters. More on them in a moment. The second I call the the Followers. Followers are average folk who will follow tweets from the Tweeters, but don't really tweet much themselves - usually because as an individual Joe/Jane, they don't need to. After all, as an individual Joe/Jane there really isn't much need to tweet about going to get your tires aligned and other mundane life happenings.

Tweeting I personally see more as a marketing tool for celebrities and companies. The most common examples are when companies tweet about a sale they are having or some major announcement. After all, the Followers of Tweeters are usually people who already love the brand/celebrity. I'm certainly not gonna follow Sarah Palin because I'm no fan and I could care less about anything she has to say. But I do follow Ellen Degeneres, Pee Wee Herman, and sites that I know post free stuff/giveaways on a regular basis.

Another great marketing example is street food vendors. There's been a huge increase in popularity and quality of street food vendors. These new gourmet trucks/carts have been featured on news programs and in various articles lately. You can even check them out on blogs such as VendrTV and Food Cruisers. But what's great is how the street vendors use Twitter. After all, they're mobile and sometimes, depending on the jurisdiction, have to move every few hours. So how do their fans know where to go? By Twitter! The vendor will send out a tweet saying "We're at 5th and Main from 1-4. Cya there!" By the time they park their truck, they've already got customers lined up.

But lately I've been amazed at responses to my own tweets and what's come from them. The first is just a goofy example in that I had a road rage issue that happened to me. My tweet says it all - "Wacko road rage bitch nearly ran me off freeway! CHP pulled her over. LOL" Anyway, I get a response from a total stranger tweeter who suggests I post my road rage story on their road rage website. In another case, I posted a tweet about an extra ticket for sale and it got retweeted by a Tweeter who specializes in For Sale announcements.

How did they find me? They apparently use the Search feature to look for key words/phrases. So now let's take that and expand it into how a company turns that into customer service.

As of this writing I am almost 48 hours without home internet service. Comcast has been working in my area and I lost service. I called tech support twice and they couldn't get me back on. So they sent out a tech, for which I had to wait around in my house for a lovely three hour waiting period. He didn't get me back on either. I tweeted my frustration. Lo and behold, I get a response to my tweet from a Comcast customer service agent. Apparently they search for Comcast being mentioned in tweets. So now ComcastBonnie is researching and assisting and we are tweeting back and forth. Now I'm not a happy camper - yet - but I sure am impressed with this proactive use of Twitter.

So, as my title implies, I'm finding more and more interesting and intriguing uses of Twitter. I already knew of its use as a marketing tool, but had never considered the use for customer service - and Comcast has. It's companies like Comcast that are forward thinking enough to embrace new technology and use it to their advantage. As I come across new examples, I'll be sure to share them.
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