You bet they are! With 106 million users, over 50 million tweets per day, and an estimated 20 billion tweets since its inception, someone's listening. So you would think that every company would recognize Twitter as a viable marketing tool to grow their business. Yet many business execs still reference the Harvard study that concluded that 10% of users account for 90% of tweets and talk about the high number of abandoned accounts when expressing their skepticism about using Twitter for their business.
Simply put, Twitter helps businesses stay connected to their customers. You can use it to share information with customers, employees and other people interested in your company, offer special promotions and other sales incentives, and gather real-time market intelligence and feedback on who's talking about your company and what they are saying. Twitter can be a great real-time information and research tool.
The growing number of case studies that point to its success in lead generation, customer service and building customer advocates offer great insights as to whether Twitter is right for your business. One case study that I think offers some of the best reasons to consider Twitter for business is Dell Outlet.
When Dell employee Ricardo Guerrero first heard about Twitter in 2007, he thought it would be a good channel to sell Dell's refurbished computers and peripherals. According to interviews with him and other Dell executives, he felt the ability to broadcast special sales in a low-cost environment that didn't require a lot of lead time would make it a great one-way communication tool. What he (and Dell) didn't count on was that people wanted to ask questions and were really interested in talking with Dell. At latest count, Dell Outlet has over 1.5 million followers.
Twitter has helped Dell Outlet raise awareness to a larger audience.
According to interviews with Dell management, instead of using Twitter just to let people know about deals, the company sees Twitter as a good place to interact with customers and to raise awareness about the brand. “When we respond to people on Twitter, they get really excited, and we gain advocates,” said one Dell exec in a recent interview.
Twitter helps Dell Outlet increase sales.
That does not mean that Dell Outlet has abandoned the deals on Twitter. They regularly post exclusive offers to Twitter users with coupons, contests and other special promotions. They only tweet a few times a week to avoid spamming their followers, but they get re-tweeted and picked up by coupon sites which broadens their awareness. Dell Outlet has booked more than $3 million in revenue attributable to its Twitter posts. In addition, the division has done research showing that awareness of the outlet has grown dramatically.
Twitter helps Dell to connect with their customers at several levels.
Dell now has more than 80 Dell-branded Twitter accounts that offer everything from information on new product introductions and promotions to customer service responses, to videos of new technologies. Dell also encourages employees to tweet, and has well over 100 employee accounts. Dell uses many of those accounts primarily for customer service exchanges that require direct messages (Twitter’s private channel) and to reach out to people who are tweeting about Dell (which they find via Twitter search).
Is Twitter right for your company? That answer depends on your business model and your goals as a company. But I would be careful to dismiss it out of hand, based on personal feelings or research numbers. It's simply too large to ignore.
For more case studies and information on how to use Twitter for business, a good place to start is http://business.twitter.com/twitter101.
Are there any good Twitter successes or failures you want to talk about? Don't be shy.
- Don Morgan, Raindance Consulting
White Papers can be a great agency new business tool
3 months ago