Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Holy Grail: Getting more Followers on #Twitter

Like most folks who are new to new Twitter ask the common question : How do I get more followers?

While this question seems easy, getting more followers is a daunting task for folks who are unfamiliar with Twitter and its quirks. I decided to write this quick post after helping one of my team members the other day outline some keys to success.

1) What are you goals?

This should be the first step in any social media experiment. In my previous role of leading my organization’s social media efforts, I followed a simple formula for success: P.O.S.T (People, Objective, Strategy, and Technology). Too many folks focus on the “T” and not enough on “O” or “S.” Sound familiar? This is one of the central themes in Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s book, Groundswell

If you join Twitter, what are you plans? What will you share with others? Why should other people care? By defining what you want to get out of participating in social media, you will be successful. This is not a shocking secret, however, many people fail to outline their goals. Social media is not about throwing things on the wall to see if it will stick, it is about having a plan and what you expect to get out of it. Plan and simple.

2)  Do you have a bio? No bio= no reason to follow you

One of the first things I look for when following someone is the person’s profile. Why? I want to know what can I expect from following them. S she going to send me information on education? Maybe #socialmedia? If you don’t have a profile set up with what your interest are, what you plan to share, you are making it harder for people to want to follow you.

Secondly, are your putting hashtags in your profile? The reason for the hashtag is so anyone who is interested in let’s say #PR, can perform a search and potentially find you. Hashtags are an easy way to let folks find your profile and want information you will share with them.

3)  Are you posting your handle on other social networks?

In every industry there are several groups that you can join to promote your personal brand. For example, in higher education, I follow and participate in several chats to learn about the trends in the industry. Here is one example of a directory or chat to follow:

Example of industry group

EDUtweetups is a great example of an industry group that hosts tweet chats to participate in.

Looking for your groups is fairly simple by just typing into Google. 

Additional you should be promoting your handle on LinkedIn, Google +,etc.  Don’t assume the people who are connected with you on LinkedIn are the same folks who follow you on Twitter. The whole premise behind Twitter is to share, in real time, your ideas, thoughts, and comments about current events, trends in your industry, and perhaps your opinion or position on hot topics. Sending tweets is not like status updates.

Why Custmer Service is Important to your Communications Strategy.

On Saturday, I headed to my local Barnes and Noble store to exchange a DVD set that I purchased in July and needed to exchange. I picked up the newer season of the DVD and headed to the cash register. The book associate was prompt and kind. He plug the new movie  that was released and recommended I pick up that as well. He looked at my receipt and then said the following: ” Oh, we only take exchanges after 14 days of purchase.” First thought that came to mind, “Damn.” Second thought was, “I am sure that given this box set is unopened, it shouldn’t be an issue,” I was wrong.

The book associate, parroted back the same response back to me. I retorted, ” Help me out here, I am exchanging the same priced DVD set for the newer season? I’ll save you the trouble and you should get your manager.” Manager came over after 15 minutes and regurgitated the same policy. So, the manager said that there was nothing they could do for me. Say what? Just an issue for operations? Nope. This is a communications issue.

Here are  my 3 tips for folks who are in communications and why they need to keep a close eye on customer service:

Bad word of mouth with hurt your brand reputation. Every customer interaction counts.

While Barnes and Noble has great customer service overall, I have told everyone this weekend about my experience. My immediate sphere of influence will think twice before they purchase at BN. I also posted a note on tweet and received no response. Huge social media no-no. Not responding to a complaint is like hanging up on me in front of the whole twitter audience. Bad move.

It is harder to keep customers than it is to get new ones.

Why is this a communications problem? In communications, you are looking to persuade prospective clients or other audiences on hearing what you have to say. Hard to communicate with a market where your reputation is negative.  There are many examples of this in the news: Progressive Tumbler issue, United breaks Guitars, etc.

Customer is Right Sometimes, but Make the Investment. See point #2

So, after this #failed customer service experience I did some math. I have multiple book cases in my home. So, I took a look at one bookcase there were a total of 108 books. Let’s account that since I am a member I received 10 percent off, accounting for the multiple types of business, marketing, and PR books that the average is $15.00. One book case equals $1620.00. This doesn’t account for the multiple magazine, gifts, my Harvard Business reviews, etc. $1620 a year or $0 dollars? Makes $53.99 ( the cost of the DVD set) look like an investment rather than a inconvenience for Barnes and Nobles.

As a communicator, I am often amazing with the lack of apathy from the associates. I completely understand their position, but a little sympathy would have gone a long way. Now from a their perspective this small transaction, one of many that day. From a communication and marketing perspective, this would have been an opportunity to win over another customer. Instead, this small, minor interaction will have great impact on my future purchases as in none and WOM as in telling everyone to not shop there. Will people listen, maybe. Will they pause for purchasing from the store, definitely.