Tag Archives: twitter

what does Twitter look like from where you sit?

My Twitter Map

My Twitter Map

Well this is a rather amazing tool.

Marshall Kirkpatrick’s recent piece on ReadWriteWeb about The Inner Circle of 10 Geek Heroes listed me as a person with whom the remarkable Beth Kanter interacts often on Twitter.  Which surprised me a bit, only because I have been totally submerged in school for the last seven months getting an MBA at Simmons in Boston, and have radically curtailed my twitter usage (and bloggage) as a result of the intense and all-consuming workload of an accelerated MBA program.  So I thought I was pretty well out of the loop — things move fast on Twitter, and seem to have been moving even faster of late.

I love the visualization of my network that this tool provides — you can tweak it in all sorts of ways, too, to find out who lives where (if your network is particularly complex geographically, as mine is), what they talk about, and what their network maps look like.

One of the most common things I hear in conversation with other Twitterers is Well, do you know so-and-so? And the answer is no, more often than you might think.  Because Twitter provides you with a personalized view of a very broad and multi-layered conversation, it is easy to allow yourself to believe that your view is at all similar to the view of others… just because you share a few connections.

It’s pretty worthwhile, I think, to take a moment and click on some of your friends’ links within your network map — see what Twitter looks like from where they sit, and maybe see what angles you’ve been missing.


trust, twitter, and those holiday travel blues

I have always loved airports, and flying. The whole experience is still glamorous and exciting to me.

Of course, I never travel on the holidays. This might explain a lot.

This morning I read this post by an MIT student about her frustrations with an unnamed airline as she struggled to get home for the holidays. She starts off by asking her airline’s CEO:

Have you ever ridden on an airplane? During the Holiday Season? Without your Super-Sparkly-Platinum member’s benefits? Incognito, so that your employees don’t know that they need to behave around you? Might I make a small suggestion? DO. Then go back to your interviews and repeat, “We need to take excellent care of our customer,” and MEAN it this time.

Here’s a sample of the contradictory information the MIT student got during her ordeal:

“We’ll arrive in time for your delayed connection.”

“Though you sprinted through the airport and made the connection, we decided to give your seat away.”

“You definitely have a seat on the next flight.”

“The next flight has been canceled. Since before you spoke with the last agent. There is no hope for you.”

“Oh, you can standby on another airline. Let me transfer that ticket.”

“What? They say we haven’t transferred the ticket? Well, that’s because we aren’t allowed to. No, it’s not possible. I don’t care if they say it needs to be done. I don’t care if the other employee told you she did it. You have issues with communication.”

No, I’m sorry, you, the airline have issues with communication.  And with trust. What happens after we, the customer, receive a few contradictory messages like this is that we lose faith in anything anyone wearing that company badge tells us.

But Twitter is built on trust — that’s why we insist on talking to real people we can call by name, even if you are representing a brand.

When I tweeted @comcastcares (who I know from his profile information is actually Frank Eliason) that my service was out after the last snowstorm, he told me something different (and, it happened, much better) from what the guy on the Comcast 1-800 number had told me minutes before.

Who did I trust? Frank. Who turned out to have been right? Frank.

Turns out, @JetBlue and @SouthweastAir use Twitter.  How do they manage their customers’ trust on Twitter?

The first thing I noticed is that both of these companies publish and (if necessary) change the name of the person on the profile who is staffing the account at any given time (see “currently on duty”):

Twitter / JetBlue

Twitter / SouthwestAir

This is really important, because Twitter works best when the interaction is personal, real, and human.  In fact, it’s the only way it works at all. We need a name, if we’re going to trust.

So what does this do? How does this help? Is the only thing accomplished here adding another channel of information to a subset of customers who use Twitter?

No, because the secret ingredient is trust.  The thing that Twitter does is it archives and makes visible your conversations with other customers over time. So if I want to talk to Jet Blue, I check out their Twitter profile to see what kind of conversations they tend to have with people. How human are they? Are they funny? Helpful? When was the last time they tweeted?

Based on the answers, I can decide the level of trust I have for them. This kind of archived conversation isn’t available anywhere else, except maybe on some forums and bulletin boards, which don’t offer the same immediacy, nor are they as public as Twitter.  I can’t go through transcripts of customer service phone conversations to see how well they do with that channel.  But I can watch how you behave, publicly, over time, on Twitter.  And that builds trust.

A new report just released from the Society for New Communications Research confirms the link between brand management and customer care.

Among the findings, when a customer is considering a purchase:

  • 72% use social media to learn about the level of customer care offered by a company
  • 74% make their purchase decisions based on the customer care information they find online.

On Twitter you can:

  • Respond immediately when a customer mentions your company, your competitor, your product, or your industry
  • Make the customer feel like the the company hears them and is responsive to their needs
  • Find out valuable information about what your customer experience is really like (and respond accordingly, one hopes)

The SNCR report also found that only 30% of customers believe that companies take their customers’ opinions seriously.

That’s atrocious.

How do you use Twitter when you’re having problems with a company? Do you trust what someone from a company on Twitter tells you more than what they tell you through another channel?  What can companies do better to earn your trust?

twitter honor roll

Liz Strauss just published a generous, helpful, and useful post (those adjectives tend to follow Liz around wherever she goes, if you haven’t noticed), celebrating the behaviors she admires on Twitter, and the people she admires for embodying those behaviors.

I’ve been thinking recently about how much I need to do a Spread-the-Love post about all the amazing people I’ve met in this space in the last year, and Liz’s call just spurred me into action.

First, read her list.

My favorite Twitter behaviors on her list?

5.  talk mostly about the accomplishments of others.

9.  have a different conversation with every individual and every business.

14.  are incredibly curious about what works, what doesn’t work, seek feedback often, and look to improve what they do.

19.  get paid to strategize business, build tactical plans, but won’t “monetize” relationships.

21.  keep their promises.

What would I add to this list?

1.  share some pieces of their real, personal selves online, with dignity and in moderation, but enough so that the tie we build is real.

2.  respond well when others do the same, understanding how vulnerable this can make people feel, and that we all need encouragement.

3.  ask questions that they don’t know the answers to, that aren’t rhetorical, that reveal the asker’s “ignorance” (or lack of expertise) if necessary.

4.  maintain a tone of hopefulness, helpfulness, and fun.

Who is on my list?














Who’s on yours?

stone soup

image by flickr.com/mtsofan

image by flickr.com/mtsofan

Tonight I came home starving.  I opened all the cabinets, peered into the fridge, looked out on the porch for any forgotten, orphaned root vegetables, and eventually came up with a delicious meal that mainly involved left-over chicken tenderloins and egg noodles.

Now, I used to be a professional chef.  I can do the Iron Chef thing with the best of them.  But I’ll admit that I usually would prefer to be able to buy the freshest produce, the best cut of meat, the obscure fresh herb or seasoning that makes a dish really rock — and often makes it an official “secret” recipe.

But in hard times, I can’t.  I need to rely more on noodles and ramen, less on nori and rabe.

When I put together a marketing plan, especially under restricted financial circumstances, it’s the same issue.  How can I best allocate these (extremely) limited resources to achieve the best possible result?

That’s why social media marketing is something that can really shine in a recession.  Done right, done thoughtfully, it can wring more value out of a marketing dollar than traditional means can.

Better yet, it can be done with assets that you may already have in your kitchen organization.

Look in your cupboards: what do you find?

  • An employee knowledgeable about how to engage your customers on Twitter?
  • An employee who can write a blog on a consistent basis?
  • Awareness that your market segment is active on one or more social networks?
  • A little bit of time?
  • A little bit of willingness?

Sounds like soup to me.

I’ve written about this before, back in February, when things didn’t look nearly as grim as they do today, and when the Interactive Marketing team at Forrester Research published a free report titled Strategies for Interactive Marketing in a Recession.

In short, the report maintains that interactive marketing:

  • Provides measurable results
  • Costs little to maintain and use
  • Keeps customers engaged, even when they’re not buying

Check it out.  It still stands up, even all these horrific months later.

Give it some thought.

What ingredients do you have on hand?

What flavors will work magic for you?

What kind of soup can YOU make?

In Short: Listen.

So after not quite 24 hours of Motrin’s Twitter Moment (Hat Tip to @Pistachio), some more in-depth analysis of the offending ads and the online response is starting to roll in.

Laura Fitton weighs in with a pithy summary and analysis here:

Even if your brand or agency isn’t ready to engage formally and integrate the business applications of Twitter throughout your campaigns, community building and other market engagement efforts, you need to get clued in — fast — to the reasons, times and ways that you can listen. Maybe you’re not even ready for full-time social media monitoring. That’s your call. But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age.

Here’s what Peter Shankman has to say, in part:

Screw focus groups, use Twitter. The moms have been sucking the life-forces out of their children since 4am this morning to use it as a weapon of mass destruction against Motrin. And they’ve been doing it on their blogs, on Twitter, and the like. Not ONE person at either Motrin or Twitter has an alert on this crap, to say, “Hey Bob, maybe we should pull the ads for now and revisit the situation tomorrow morning at 8am in an all-hands?” Hell, I have alerts on my name ping me every 20 minutes on my blackberry because I’m bored! That Motrin or their agency didn’t do it is pathetic.

And this is from Brian Brown at Brand New World:

If the brand gets very real, admits their mistakes, listens, keeps asking questions, lets real moms do the talking, and does a really good job at it, they may just be able to turn this backlash into strong brand advocacy – then everyone would be happy.

Karoli writes:

Had the folks who created this ill-conceived PR campaign thought for half a second, or had a clue about how Twitter works, they would already have been reaching out to the community, asking about how they handled pain, how they did it while nursing, what they most loved about being new moms, what they most wished could be different, what tools they wanted but don’t currently have.

And, at the end of the day, the response from Motrin’s VP of Marketing.

We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website.

Jeremiah Owyang weighs in on Monday with some lessons learned:

  • Always test your campaign with a small segment first
  • Always have staff on hand to be prepared to respond during the weekend
  • Don’t launch a campaign right before the weekend unless you’re prepared to respond
  • The participants have the power, so participate
  • For better or for worse, more influencers are talking about Motrin than ever before
  • Robert at InfOpinions writes:

    Saying a response withing 24 hours is good … hey, that’s old school. Welcome to the new world. Listening is the key, here. Listening before preparing the ad would have sent out warning flares galore. Listening after it was launched (24/7) would have alerted McNeil and J&J to the potential firestorm. They could have dealt with this faster. PR people, the protectors of reputation and brand, never sleep. Didn’t you folks at McNeil & Johnson & Johnson get that memo? More importantly, they should have dealt with it faster. If you’re going to be online and engaging the masses online … pay attention! Hello?

    And the newly posted Motrin.com website:


    What’s your take?

    Motrin Moms React

    I just noticed there’s a growing uproar over on Twitter about this ad hosted on the Motrin homepage.  (If the Motrin team is listening to social media at all, that link won’t work for long.  I wonder how long the ad will actually live on its homepage?)

    Check out the Twitter backlash here.


    It seems this ad just appeared, and I just watched it — it’s a kind of frenetic, mostly text-based appeal to “moms who wear their kids” in slings, backpacks, and whatnot, to use Motrin to ease the back pain kid-carrying can cause.

    Oddly, the narration seems to doubt the very wisdom of “wearing” your kid, and implies that women do it just to “look like a real mom.”  Then it calls them crazy.  Then it asks them to buy Motrin.

    Interesting.  Doesn’t seem to be going over well.








    Note: See follow-up posts below:

    Motrin Moms Take it to the Street

    A Focus Group Would Have Stopped This

    In Short: Listen

    Laura Fitton and Twitter at SNCR

    Laura Fitton (@pistachio, Principal of Pistachio Consulting) accepted the SNCR Innovator of the Year Award on behalf of Twitter founders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.