Last week I paid a trip to my local hardware store in the Mission area of San Francisco. It’s crammed tight full of all the trinkets you need to aid you on the path to home improvement. Lo and behold, an amiable young Latino assistant guided me straight to the pump adapter I needed. Purchase made, I headed out.
Later, whilst checking my receipt, I noticed some interesting text tacked on to the bottom: ‘Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/colehardware‘. Intrigued, I explored further, and discovered some interesting applications of Twitter from this local hardware chain:
Hot or not?
Report on what’s big this year:
Why do this? Show you are an expert in your area by sharing sales information – we all love to think we’re part of the latest trends.
Promote latest offers
Let shoppers know of deals and other goodies that could entice them:
Get a great Cole Hdwe canvas shopping tote free with a $25 purchase. Show this tweet at checkout or use coupon in Hardware Hotline. Rick (Read Tweet)
My personal feeling is if you do this too often, you’ll come across looking all salesy. Cole seem to get the balance right by just dropping these offers in occasionally.
If you have new features/web content you want to draw attention to, why not publicize through Twitter:
Check out our new Profile page! Photos of our staff, stores and more! Had it created for just 100 bucks. Interested in who? Let me know. (Read Tweet)
Again, not the most riveting content to completely fill a Twitter channel, but useful information on occasion.
Thank your evangelists and those who sing your praises. Use Twitter to keep the glow warm:
Twitter is a great tool for knowing who your supporters are, and engaging them in conversation. Use tools like Twitter to build up relations with your strongest advocates. You can also use these groups for testing new products or obtaining market intelligence.
As you can see, all the above posts are signed off ‘Rick’. This imbues the channel with a personal feel. It’s Rick from Cole Hardware who is speaking, not a faceless monolith.
Promote your social networking
Cole has done a great job of promoting Twitter (and Facebook too) through its offline shopping experience. In this case an ad on the bottom of the receipt alerted me to its Twitter channel. If you are putting effort into Tweeting, don’t hide under a bushel. Look at the points where you talk to customers (and other constituents) and let them know they can converse with you through Twitter and other channels.
Even though Cole Hardware have only recently ventured onto Twitter, they already seem to have a strong grasp of how they can use the medium to add value to their customers’ experience. I look forward to watching this channel evolve and to see how Twitter becomes more pervasive in our lives.