An interesting story mentioned by Li and Bernoff that shows the effectiveness of twitter for companies is Fadra Nally and her “mega superhero fan” son who enjoyed collecting McDonald’s Happy Meals superhero toys. On one occasion, Evan didn’t find the superhero toy he was hoping for which left him disappointed. Fadra decided to tweet about it which eventually led to McDonald’s sending a new superhero toy to Evan, making him and his mother both happy. This clearly brought to the company unlimited benefits just for listening to customers’ concerns over twitter. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)
Although Twitter only allows 140 characters, I personally think that this helps us create a more detailed, yet quick updates. A few elements of twitter include:
- Followers: twitter allows users to follow other users. Some users, though, choose to have a private account where followers’ requests must be accepted; however, this is rare in the twitter world. It’s easy to have a lot of followers which can make a user influential.
- Hashtags and searches: hashtags are probably what made twitter so popular and successful. Hashtags are a way for users to tweet to certain topics like live news, or even certain companies.
- Mentions and retweets: using @ followed by a username allows users to tweet to others. It makes it easier to tweet to certain users or companies. Facebook doesn’t have this feature. Facebook users would have to comment on updates or post comments on a company’s timeline, which makes it harder for a company to “listen.” Retweets as I like to understand them, show how many users agreed with a user’s tweet and retweeted it.
- Links: links to photos, YouTube videos, or even articles can still be shared even though twitter limits updates to only 140 characters. Li and Bernoff explain “[they] make Twitter far richer than just text updates.” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.199)
- Lists: this is a new feature that I actually discovered a few days ago when a user added me to Accounting Tweeters. This feature allows like-minded users to share updates regarding a specific topic.
- Apps: there is a number of different applications specifically created for twitter’s unique features. for example, TweetDeck collects basically everything a user has on twitter and displays it all on one full-screen. This tool is unique especially for companies using twitter as a marketing tool because they will be able to respond quicker.
Victoria’s Secret is a great example of a company taking advantage of twitter. As one of the company’s I follow, I noticed that not only they share promotions and new items they have in store, but also different updates that consist of photos/videos to their popular annual fashion show reaching 9.4million followers.
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Publishing.