Tag Archives: twitter

Small business marketing using twitter

Loads has been written about how to use twitter for marketing and generating new customers using social media, principally Twitter and Facebook.  Apparently its all about “customer engagement” and fancy business words like that.   Some companies use it to field customer service enquiries, like NEC Australia.  But what about customer acquisition?  And how can your average small business owner make use of it?  How do they use twitter effectively whilst trying to run their own business day-to-day?

VamoSpanish – Case Study

Having recently taken some time out to travel overseas, I tweeted asking which suburb was best to stay in Buenos Aires, “Palermo or San Telmo”.  I got a couple of responses and a twitter user called VamoSpanish started to follow me.  They were based in Buenos Aires and were a Spanish school.

As I intended to learn Spanish, I sent them a message about classes, a dialogue followed and I ended up becoming a customer of theirs.  Having now spoken to them, they confirmed that they have a standard set of location-based searches set up for “Buenos Aires” and surrounding suburbs, along with “Spanish classes” and variations.  They check this once a day or as and when they can, as they are busy and do not have a dedicated marketing person, let alone social media person, it’s just a pet project from interested staff members.

Yet, in this instance it was a very effective strategy and resulted in a new client, who spent AU$400, at a very low-cost to them.

Setting up location-based searches or keyword searches is extremely easy when using a twitter client like tweetdeck and is extremely easy to scan and see if there are any relevant results in just a few minutes each day.

Improvements

Although this interaction resulted in a new customer for VamoSpanish, they could have actually improved this interaction by sending me a short response to my original question of where to stay in Buenos Aires; “Palermo or San Telmo”.  This would have removed the need for me to act and make the first contact with them and would have gained my trust by answering my question impartially with no shameless promotion, making me more likely to become a customer when I arrived in Buenos Aires.

For many marketing professionals this post may seem “obvious”, but for many small business owners who do not have much online experience and who are trying to work out how they can make use of the social media world, it may not be.

Conclusion

Social media platforms are not for everyone and it may not be worthwhile investing too much energy into them and losing focus on ensuring you actually provide a quality service to your customers.  However, it can be used in very simple, time efficient ways by small and large businesses alike in very different ways to effectively communicate with customers.

You should follow me on twitter here

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Filed under Small Business, Social media

Using Twitter for excellent customer service

I have been busily packing up my life into boxes in preparation for placing them into storage before I head overseas for a few months sabbatical.  Inevitably, I packed something I now needed, the manual to the washing machine so I could check how to drain it properly.  I had no clue which of the 20 or so sealed boxes it was in and certainly didn’t want to open them all to find it.

I turned to Google to try to find the manual, with no success.  I then checked the website for NEC, the brand of washing machine I own and discovered that they no longer made washing machines.  The signs were not looking good.  In the footer of the site, I noticed they had prominent links to their twitter, youtube and flickr pages.  So, I decided to turn to twitter, but did not hold out much hope.

So, I tweeted them the below message at 10:27am yesterday.

Original Tweet sent to NEC Australia from Alastair Simpson

Original Tweet sent to NEC Australia from Alastair Simpson

They then replied within 2 minutes with the following message.

Initial response from NEC Australia to Alastair Simpson

Initial response from NEC Australia to Alastair Simpson

So, I sent them the model number, as per the below.

Reply from Alastair Simpson to NEC Australia

Reply from Alastair Simpson to NEC Australia

And amazingly they came back to me within 10 minutes and had even posted the manual in pdf format to their website.

NEC Australia posted the pdf brochure to their website

NEC Australia posted the pdf brochure to their website

So, I thanked them with a shout out on twitter giving them a little bit of free PR and was a very happy customer indeed.

NEC Australia got some free PR out of providing excellent customer service

NEC Australia got some free PR out of providing excellent customer service

The experience was almost instant, approximately 10 minutes from first to last tweet, and was completely seamless.  Email, a contact form on a website or phone could not have bettered this excellent customer experience.

NEC do not even manufacture washing machines anymore.  So why give such good customer service for a discontinued product?  They obviously understand how important exceptional customer service can be in engaging consumers and reinforcing their brand image within the marketplace.  Whoever is leading the marketing/customer service (Social media seems to fall into different departments at various companies) team at NEC certainly seems to be doing a great job of utilising all possible channels to engage and manage customer experience.  This is essential in todays changing digital world, where customers are turning to more and more channels of communication to engage with companies. NEC are certainly embracing this change and using it to their advantage, rather than ignoring it like many brands.

In the future, if I am faced between two equivalent products, NEC and another brand, I know where I will be spending my money based solely on this exceptional experience.

You should follow me on twitter here

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Filed under Social media