The econsultancy blog has a great guest post, Confessions of a corporate tweeter, from Guy Stephens, Knowledge and Online Help Manager at Carphone Warehouse, and one of that company’s corporate tweeters.
If you liked my Should every business Twitter? or Why I didn’t follow you on Twitter posts, this echoes many of my suggestions but also adds some useful guidance on the tools Guy uses to manage his Twitter activity, including my favourite: Tweetdeck.
I liked Guy’s stress on Twitter being only one part of wider set of communications tools at your disposal (“Twitter is great for kicking a conversation off with someone, and then moving the conversation to more traditional channels to actually be dealt with, typically email or phone”). This is a theme he returns to when he talks about metrics:
“… what I am increasingly understanding from a customer service perspective is that twitter is just one component of an overall experience. Twitter plays a part in bringing a complaint to my attention right now, but for the most part it certainly is not a resolution mechanism.
The complaint will still be resolved via email or in a call. So in that instance, I’m not entirely sure how to measure the contribution made by twitter. Perhaps I should be looking more at measures of reputation and reach: potential damage to reputation from negative comment vs uplift to reputation from positive feedback by happy customer.”
Guy’s experience that Twitter contributes to the communication and management of an organisation’s online reputationwill probably apply to many working at delivering products and services in business-to-business (B2B) sectors such as construction. While firms like Dell can point directly to $0.5m B2C sales of PCs through Twitter-only special deals, establishing a clear link between sales and Twitter in B2B is more difficult, though this may be because Twitter has yet to become widely accepted/used as a B2B tool.
In the construction marketing sector, for example, we are still looking to identify “real business benefits (preferably profit) derived from online social media activity” – a question posed last week by my friend Ross Sturley in a CIMCIG LinkedIn discussion (by the way, Construction News latest Marketing newsletter has a short piece on social media: the future of construction marketing, written by CIMCIG committee member Elizabeth Bartlett).