Just when you thought you were regaining a handle on marketing, things get all “a twitter.” As Kevin O’Keefe points out in a recent post to his blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, many companies are using Twitter, the free social networking and micro-blogging service to get customer feedback and improve relations. This is now being used by such institutions as BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, and even law firms.
Another blogger, Chris Brogan, has posted a nice step-by-step article on his site, which outlines “50-ideas-on-using-twitter-for-business.” Twitter advertises itself as:
“a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”
Twitter, which officially launched in 2006, began as an R&D project inside San Francisco start-up, Obvious, used internally by the company’s employees. Earlier this summer, Twitter acquired Summize, another start-up. Using Summize technology Twitter Search now allows companies to track comments about themselves, including service issues, and to respond to them very quickly. They can catch unhappy customers, respond to them and gain positive results from others who see the company taking care of its customer’s problems in near real time.
Twitter continues to gain momentum as a social networking tool and has added a host of tools. Twitter utilizes a technique called “micro-blogging,” a form of blogging which allows users to publish short text updates (usually 140 characters). The user can configure micro-blogs to either to be viewed by anyone or only by a restricted, user-selected group. These short messages can be pushed to the recipients by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3, and the Web.