Many branding executives ask me about Twitter. Is it an important branding tool? Is it worth the effort to have a Twitter presence and monitor the discussion?
I’ve been a bit skeptical of Twitter for many years. It feels a bit promotional and fleeting. Does anyone really use it? Can it really help brands?
I now understand that it matters a lot. Twitter is a venue where people talk and communicate. Very often, they talk to brands and the brands reply, or at least they do when someone is paying attention.
Last weekend I went to Staples to buy some ink and paper. The checkout person explained that there was a good rebate on the paper so I really should go on-line and apply for it. So I did. But the rebate didn’t work.
Rather than give up, I thought I would test Twitter and Staples. So I sent Staples a tweet, saying, “@Staples Bought some paper yesterday and was told to use rebate on-line. But the website says it can no longer be used on-line. Any help?”
Staples replied in a few hours, “@TimothyCalkins Pease send us a DM with the item # or the order # that was purchased, so we can further research the rebate for you? ^JD”
I then tweeted back the information. Staples replied again. It turns out the offer number on the receipt was incorrect; Staples sent the correct one. With the new number I successfully filed for the rebate.
The overall result: I had an issue and asked Staples for help via Twitter. The company came through perfectly; the people at Staples were prompt and helpful and responsive. I now feel good about shopping at Staples and will travel a bit further to go there.
Brands that pay attention to Twitter can build relationships, loyalty and brand equity. I’m not certain tweeting random thoughts on Twitter does a lot to build a brand. I’m very confident that replying to customers is important and every brand should be paying attention and part of the discussion.