Skip to main content

Twitter Works for Local Businesses

I've never been a Twitter booster. For all the hype, I could never really figure out the amazing value that people claim it offers. I guess my heart will always be in blogging; but I've recently concluded that local businesses can realize outstanding value through Twitter, if they play their cards right.

(from Flickr user NevilleHobson)

Now, all kinds of businesses have dabbled in the social media world, from start-ups to decades-old small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. But from my experience, it's the local businesses that are best positioned to take advantage of Twitter.

Why? Because when a customer interacts with someone from a local business on Twitter, they can go into that store or cafe or restaurant and a digital interaction instantly turns into an interpersonal interaction. This type of thing simply doesn't happen when huge corporations engage in social media - it can't. It's a matter of practically. If the person running the Twitter account is at the corporate headquarters, they won't be able to interact with customers in any other city. If the company is big enough, they might simply have too many customers in the headquarters city to ever interact meaningfully with them.

Nevertheless, I say that local businesses can capture value on Twitter if they play their cards right, because I've seen many that are simply missing opportunities.

My biggest pet peeve arises when I'm chatting with a local business on Twitter, and I have literally no idea who the person is typing on the other end. It's like I'm talking to the Great Wizard of Oz - the mysterious man behind the curtain. That's why I suggest that all businesses, large or small, should disclose, in their bio, the personal handle(s) of whoever is running the company Twitter account.

I think @SouthwestAir offers a perfect example of what I mean:
Bio: The LUV Airline! Airplanes can't type so @ChristiDay and @Brandy_King are piloting the Twitterverse!
And here is another example, from the interactive agency @Razorfish:
Bio: Global agency; this account managed mostly by @davidjdeal, @heathergately @crys4pr & @eunmac
The reason this is so critical for local businesses is because, when I go into a store or a cafe or a restaurant, I want to know whether the person I've been chatting with online is there. I don't really want to awkwardly ask which of the several employees may be the mysterious man behind the curtain. And if I end up buying something from the very person who I've been chatting with before I walked into the business, that's a huge missed opportunity from them to take that customer relationship to the next level.


Stacy Bohrer said…
Such a great post. I'm going to send this to all of Savvy Avenue to make sure we continue to do things right in our various markets! Thanks so much. - Stacy

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Commuting Meets Technology

I'm finally out of the dark ages. I got an Android smartphone over the weekend and have since been in the process of exploring the Android apps market.  One thing I've immediately noticed is the really wide range of usefulness in the apps. For example, the WeatherBug app is fantastic. It automatically determines your location and gives you exact conditions for that location. On the other end of the spectrum, Google's Goggles app is supposed to be a type of 'visual search' where you snap of photo of something and Google searches for it. In each of my attempts to use it, the app hasn't returned any search results. I even took a photo of a bottle of Pepsi (figuring it as a common houseful item) and got nothing.

Somewhere in the middle is this app called Waze. Have a look at their 'guided tour':

Some people might look at it and comment on the amazing evolution of technology or on the incredible value of social networks. To me, Waze says something important ab…