In an earlier post, I talked about the essentials of microblogging. Today’s Wall Street Journal had a great article in its Technology Section “Twitter Goes Mainstream.” The article reviewed how more and more businesses are finding practical applications for Twitter.
Examples of Twitter Business Use
As the WSJ reports, when Twitter launched a couple of years back, the application was thought to appeal mainly to “narcissists who wanted to know what they were doing in real time.” But with the number of Twitter users growing rapidly — from 282K unique visitors in 8/07 to 1M+ in 8/08 according to ComScore — businesses are taking note and beginning to find ways to leverage the service’s rising popularity. Some of the business usage examples of Twitter mentioned in the WSJ article:
- Doctors updating patients about office hours
- The Los Angeles Fire Department sharing details about service calls with interested residents
- Dell and other major corporations sharing deals and product news with people who sign up to “follow” them on their Twitter pages
- A realtor who uses Twitter as an instant advice hotline, posting questions to fellow Twitter users on issues his clients are facing (e.g. whether a client would qualify for a particular type of mortgage for a property that hadn’t received a safety test.)
- Professionals attending trade shows who provide conference updates to interested colleagues.
- Consultants hoping to build their reputations as experts without having to invest in a more time intensive blog.
Twitter as a Research Tool
According to the WSJ Article, in addition to creating their own Twitter pages, some companies are using Twitter as a research tool. For instance, Comcast is using Twitter to proactively resolve dozens of customer service issues a day by mining public Twitter accounts to detect issues that people are having with their service. Their service reps then take action via email or phone to address customer problems.
More Insights: Twitter as A Business Tool
I’ve pulled together a couple of good links if you’re interested in gaining more insights into using Twitter as a business tool:
- Chris Brogan has an excellent article: “50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business“
- From DoshDosh: “17 Ways You Can Use Twitter: A Guide for Beginners, Marketers and Business Owners“
- The Corporate Twitter Awards List. The Stratius Blog has a list of nominees and winners in categories of companies who are using Twitter. Includes companies such as Whole Foods and Jet Blue.
- In Business Week’s special report “CEO Guide to Microblogging” there is a good article “How Companies Use Twitter to Bolster Their Brands.” They also have have a good podcast : Business Week Podcast: Corporate Twitter Takes Off