Yesterday, I was browsing iTunes and discovered one of favorite bands had released a new album. I downloaded Divided by Night by Crystal Method and cranked it up while I left the room.
A few minutes later I returned to my office and was hit with the stench of burning plastic. I shut off Crystal Method and put on some lighter music. Judging by the garbled sounds now flowing through the speakers, I determined my old Altec Lansing unit was fried.
So I tweeted about it:
“I just fried my Altec Lansing computer speakers while playing Crystal Method on high volume. My office now smells like burnt plastic…”
Later that afternoon I logged onto my TweetDeck, a free dashboard application for managing Twitter, and found this reply from Bernice Cramer, VP Marketing and Product Manager at Altec Lansing (Twitter screen name: Alec_Bernice):
“@robertbeadle Yikes, that should not have happened. Which model Altec speakers do you have?”
I got into a brief conversation with Bernice at Altec Lansing and learned that a new set of speakers (model: MX6021 200W) due out in September, would be more appropriate for my music listening habits.
How cool is that?
So how does this apply to your business?
Twitter enables you to listen to your customers and respond in real time. This improves your public relations and opens the doors to new business opportunities you would not otherwise catch via sales and traditional broadcast marketing.
While the more obvious use for Twitter is to broadcast messages to your followers, the most successful Twitter users are those who understand that Twitter is often more effective as a listening tool.
I admit, the Twitter interface alone is pretty crappy and useless. That is why I’ve installed a free dashboard application called TweetDeck which helps me extract the business opportunities from Twitter.
Follow these simple steps for building your Twitter listening tool.
I’m going to assume you already have a Twitter account. If you do not, go to Twitter.com and sign up first:
1) Download TweetDeck – There are several Twitter dashboard applications out there, but TweetDeck is one of the most popular because of its ease of use.
2) Configure TweetDeck – Follow the directions to link TweetDeck to your Twitter account. You will need to log in again. Start to play around with the various buttons and features to get a feel for how it works.
3) Create live searches – This is the important part. Twitter is useless unless you are monitoring it daily. To get started with searches, click on the magnifying glass and input your search terms. Search terms should include: your name, your company name, key terms that apply to your business. I’ll give you an example. I search for: Robert Beadle, Northeast Public Relations, social media PR and social media marketing. Now if someone mentions me or the topics I’m interested in, I can comment in real time, thus expanding my business opportunities.
Altec Lansing “gets” social media. So what could they have done differently? Perhaps they could’ve offered me a coupon or free shipping for the new speakers in order to solidify the customer relationship. If a company goes out of its way to show it really stands behind a product, it can turn its customers into “brand ambassadors,” or people who are impassioned to spread the company’s message and recommend it to their friends.
Take a moment today to run a name and keyword search on Twitter. You may be surprised by what you find.
Bernice contacted me after seeing this blog post and is sending me a product sample of the MX6021 speakers to test drive.