Why Twitter is Word of Mouth on Steroids

Remember this cheesy commercial from the 80′s for Faberge shampoo?

Can’t see video? Visit this post on the Web.

Along with Faberge shampoo, the “Tell 2 Friends” adage has gone the way of the Dodo. In the Age of Twitter, it’s more like “Tell 2000 Friends.”

Consider this Tweet from Bazaarvoice CMO Sam Decker. Over 2000 of his followers potentially caught this tweet: “On hold too long with Zappos. I think my expectations are higher after hearing so much about their customer service.”

Zappos customer service did catch that tweet, and followed up swiftly with a coupon:

“Impressed @Zappos_Service saw my tweeted issue and emailed me a coupon as an apology. How many companies do that??”

And now I’m sharing the story with over 8000 Get Elastic readers.

Using Twitter for Customer Service

Consider watching Twitter in real time for mention of your brand name. It’s as simple as heading to http://search.twitter.com/ and typing in the terms you want to watch. You can even search like this:

“linda bustos” OR “get elastic” OR “getelastic” OR “elastic path” OR “roxyyo” OR “elasticpath”

Have your customer service reps keep a tab with the search and check every so often, or use a desktop client like Seesmic Desktop that will alert you for every instance of your tracked words.

This is also an example of how Twitter can be faster than email or phone communication – offering it as an option for Twitter users to contact your customer service reps directly rather than blasting a tweet to everyone can help avoid rants in the public forum.

Quick response is optimal, but any response is better than no response. How you handle positive/negative tweets is up to you, but the first step is to create that feedback loop so you can hear what people are saying about you.

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13 Responses to “Why Twitter is Word of Mouth on Steroids”

  1. Wow, I never thought of using Twitter in this fashion. Zappos is a real forward thinking company.

  2. Twitter has many copies in china, it is trend maybe, but not popular yet here.

  3. Sending a coupon is an easy way out of the conversation.

    I wonder how long they will hold on to this method. Everybody can send tweets about difficulties on the Zappos site, even if the site is running smoothly.

    Better would have been that the reason of the difficulties and a promise to find a solution was made.

  4. Marc B says:

    This is one of those marketing methods that sounds good at first until you think about it 2 extra seconds. They may have made up with Mr Decker, but they also just trained their customers that all you need to do is complain on twitter and you’ll get a coupon.

    Many companies do the same with a cart abandonment email. Once the masses learn to do a “test abandon” on shopping carts to see if you send out a coupon for coming back to complete the order, sites will stop offering them all together.

    Giving away a coupon didn’t teach the rep Mr Decker was on the phone with anything unless he had to pay for the coupon out of his pocket.

  5. The potential for abuse is real, yet that’s just because this is a very new medium from a customer service / reputation management perspective. This was a great example though of how forward thinking companies take advantage of new opportunities. Kudos to @Zappos_Service !

  6. gener says:

    I think, Zappos is a real forward thinking company..

  7. Good heads up from Zappos. I guess having 2000 followers on Twitter can help go along way. I may have to start looking into this type of social media. Thanks for the article and information.

  8. Genewize says:

    Thanks for this post. twitter seems to be HUGE. I cant go anywhere without hearing something about twitter. Thanks Again!


  9. Frames says:

    i’d say it’s worthing a try.

    use it to expand your business in twitter and stick more vistors to your site.

  10. James says:

    How do you convince social media cynics or those who only want to take tiny steps to consider social networking?

    I am talking from a business perspective? Is there an article/resource that has some hard to deny facts.

    My dept would like to trial a twitter account around an upcoming tradeshow.

    • @James,

      Twitter is a quick and easy entry into social media marketing, at the very minimum you need to reserve your company’s brand name/s so they don’t get “brand jacked.” If your company already has a newsletter, or any RSS feed of press releases or anything, you can easily sync that up through Twitterfeed or Hootsuite to at least give the millions of folks on Twitter the option of receiving updates about the company through the Twitter medium.

      That shouldn’t be hard to convince a company, it’s just moving what you already have to a new and important channel.

      As for getting deeper into social networking – the company’s resistance might be that they don’t want to dedicate time/resources to something that doesn’t have a clear cut payback period or clear benefits. There are many articles out there on how to pitch social media to your boss, literally a search in Google for “how to pitch social media to your boss” (or Bing, I suppose) will bring up lots of resources. Without knowing what your company politics / business type is I can’t give you much more information about that, but definitely Twitter is a low risk endeavor and can get you some exposure when you’re using hashtags for the trade show.

  11. [...] said it before, Twitter is word of mouth on steroids. At the very least you should have claimed your company name so no one else brandjacks it, and you [...]

  12. Nice post, Thanks!
    It can be a bit tricky and time consuming for companies not having the brand name Zappos or Dell to get enough followers. The attention competition is growing on Twitter everyday.

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