Why Twitter is the New 800 Number


Image courtesy FreeImages.com/Rybson

I don’t know about you, but I hate calling a company’s 800 #. There’s that long wait, that awful hold music, and finally, that wonderful moment when someone answers and they:

a) accidentally hang up on you

b) have attitude from the word “hello”

c) ask you to give a ton of personal info before you’ve even said “hello”

d) are as insightful as a box of hair

e) transfer you to someone else because they’re not the right department

f) or maybe, just maybe, are decent to talk to, but you are still on the phone with them forever

I got news for you.

Your clients are looking for a quicker, better answer.

They want to be able to resolve customer service problems quickly and they want to do it on Twitter.

If you don’t have a customer service department set up on your Twitter account, well, what are you waiting for? It’s a vital step in improving relations with your clients.┬áIf a client can get a problem solved in a few seconds on Twitter, instead of a half-hour or more on the phone, that client will feel really positive about the whole experience and your company in particular, plus it will make it that more likely they’ll recommend you to friends and family. And: other folks on Twitter may see the conversation, and they’ll be impressed you solved a customer’s problem so quickly. Win-win-win.

That being said, sometimes, customer relations on Twitter can go very wrong. I once had a medicine company contact me on Twitter after I complained about an issue. I ranted on Twitter that they ruined my night’s sleep and then the company asked me if I would share my experience with them. Why? I knew I was never going to use that product again. If a client is upset about your product, and you can’t fix the problem, there’s no point in contacting them on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter. But if you can fix the issue, by all means, use Twitter to do so. Offer free store credit, apologize, ask what you can do to make it better, etc. With customer service, it’s all about using common sense and asking yourself what you would like if you were that customer. They want a nice, friendly person to talk to and the problem resolved fast so they can get on with their lives. It really isn’t that hard.






Are You Using Trending Topics Incorrectly?

Photo via Sureash Kumar at freeimages.com

You see them as soon as you log on to Twitter — a small group of subjects and/or hashtags on the left side of your screen. You may not know why they’re there or what to do with them.

Trending topics are powerful. They are a convenient way to see the day’s news, all gathered in one place, before, perhaps, even the local news reports on it. (This is not to say all the news on Twitter is always accurate.) They also allow us to collectively snark on or praise awards shows or popular TV shows. Trending topics let us experience our world collectively, and isn’t that what social media is all about?

More important for you, though, is the fact that trending topics are a way for you to have your tweet noticed. If you type a trending topic after your 140 characters–and if you’ve composed a well-written tweet–there is a nice chance it’ll get retweeted by others. Think of it as a highlighted piece of text in a book. And once more people notice you, that, of course, can lead to more followers and maybe more business.

So, does this mean you should use a trending topic with every tweet?

Absolutely not.

People who click on trending topics expect to see tweets that have to do with that topic. Throwing a trending topic on a tweet about something else you want to bring attention to just makes you look like a spammer, and you’ll quickly lose credibility — the kiss of death on Twitter.

So don’t be that person. And just in general, use trending topics wisely. Here’s how:

  • Understand the topic. Read an article or two about it before you start tweeting so you can bring an informed perspective.
  • Be careful. Humor and politics can gain you more followers, but they can also be misinterpreted and/or alienating. If you’re a comedian, sure, go ahead and be funny, or if that’s part of your brand. (I use humor in my tweets, but I always try to be wise about it.) If you’re a political/activist type of non-profit, yes, certainly express your views. But if you’re running a big business account, you want to avoid humor and politics in tweets in general, and especially in trending topics. And even if you’re using humor and politics, make sure you’re not going over the line. Write the tweet out first, then come back to it in an hour, before deciding if you still want to post.
  • Save trending topics for your very best tweets. If your tweet isn’t especially interested to read, you’ll waste your time posting it under a trending topic.




Two Secret Ways to Analyze Tweets

Image via Svilen Milev at freeimages.com

How do you know if your tweets are attracting an audience? You can tell a little by how many re-tweets you get, or how many times someone “hearts” a tweet, or how many new followers you get, but there are other ways to measure your tweeting success that are more thorough and a little less obvious to the beginning tweeter (meaning it only took me seven years on Twitter to figure out).

Twitter analytics is an amazing free measurement tool. It gives you a month-by-month summary of how many tweets you posted, how many tweet impressions you received (for more about tweet impressions, click here), profile visits and mentions.

It also lets you see your top tweet of the month, who is your most popular follower, and how many impressions the top tweet received. It’s a great way to see what subjects get you the most attention. (My most popular tweets tend to be anything having to do with celebrities and humor.) Go to “audiences” (at the very top of the page) and you’ll see what subject is of paramount interest to the folks you’re tweeting to.

If you want to analyze each tweet individually, click on the thing that looks like a couple of chimneys on the bottom of your tweet (it’s next to the heart symbol). That tells you how many impressions that particular tweet received.

Use these tools to create future tweets and watch your follower count grow.