Social media is now an integral part of every company and brand. It is vital for companies to have an official Twitter account – whether it is a 1 person company or an extremely large company.

Zappos (now part of Amazon) is renowned for their customer service and their Twitter account is used by Customer Service Reps to quickly address questions and more often to receive compliments. This publicity is priceless! It gives social proof to potential customers and helps build Brand Equity.

Also, with Google search including the latest “tweets”, imagine a person who searches for Zappos and sees a tweet saying “Thanks for the expedited shipment @Zappos_Service“. I’ll bet that the CTR and the probability that the customer making a purchase is quite high.

When searching for web hosting services last year (2009), I looked at some of the web hosts Twitter accounts, asked questions, looked at their answers to other Twitter-ers and could instantly tell who were the most responsive and how effective their answers were. This and other reviews I read encouraged me to go with DreamHost and I often plug DreamHost in my tweets, like when I found I could set up Git, when I found out that they upgraded the Git to 1.7 (when my laptop still had Git v1.66) and when I am all round just happy with their service. In full disclosure, I just discovered today that I won a contest Dreamhost held where you had to tweet #Dreamhost and although I only tweeted about them once in the whole month they ran the contest, I won. And I NEVER win anything! EVER!
[I have to admit, I asked a friend to buy me not 1 but 2 lottery tickets today] Anyway, my point is that with users Tweeting the hash tag #Dreamhost it gets picked up as a Trending topic which is visible to users on Twitter as well as other sites that pick up the Trending topics. So, this is a great method to acquire new customers who will search for “Dreamhost” and see that people are happy with their service.

As an aside, I usually shop around every year for a new web hosting service and have tried everything from BlueHost to GoDaddy to 1and1 and some other crappy hosts and DreamHost is the first one that I have been delighted with and have decided to stick with (before I found out that I won the contest). Now that I won this contest, I feel even more obliged to stick with these guys. Thanks Dreamhost!

Another advantage of having a social media presence for consumers is that instead of having to dread at the thought of being on hold for half an hour before you can complain about a company or service, you can just tweet it (which takes all of 30 seconds and 1 minute if you try to fit it perfectly in the 140 character limit) and there is a good chance that the company will respond to you pretty soon but you didn’t waste the 29 minutes in trying to get a hold of someone or trying to find the right contact’s email address.
The advantage for the company is that they are held publicly accountable and when they respond, there is a good chance that your issue will be resolved and you will feel better and instead of complaining to others, you will praise their Twitter-ing CSRs and their service. As a consumer, I can attest to how responsive companies are – even big banks like Bank of America who quickly responded to some of my concerns with their HSA division.

Facebook on the other hand is not as helpful for companies with Social Media unless you are a “cool” brand that someone wants to be associated with. Think “Axe” but not “Tide”. Or “Apple” but not your grocery store – unless you are a “Whole Foods” fanatic.

The final advantage of a Social Media outlet is that users who are not tech-savvy enough to subscribe to your RSS feed have no difficulty in “Follow”ing your Twitter account which essentially replaces the need for an RSS feed. Said companies, should also “Follow” back the customers who tweet them or add them as a friend since it gives the impression of a real person who cares enough to follow them and not a company drone behind the Twitter account. You don’t need to read any of their tweets but just be sure to respond to their tweets in a timely manner. And please don’t over-tweet – or at least try to keep it to 5 tweets a day or risk being noise.

If you liked this post, you should follow me on Twitter. I dont over post.

Categories: Tech