Tag Archives: Twitter advice

Wow, even my local hardware store loves Twitter

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:

@egebhardt Hi. Thanks for sharing us as a source for canning supplies. Appreciate it! Canning is really popular this year! Rick (Read Tweet)

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.

Site updates
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.

Promote promoters
Thank your evangelists and those who sing your praises. Use Twitter to keep the glow warm:

@nancybroden Hi Nancy! Thanks for the tweets about our recycling, and for spreading the work. Appreciate it! Rick (Read Tweet)

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.

Be personal
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.

eBay’s Richard Brewer-Hay on social media and corporate blogging

ebay_rbhLooking over past blog posts, I’ve noticed that I do have a penchant for hyperbole. However, if you have a little over six minutes of your time to spare and want tips on running social media programs for a large brand, then don your headphones and listen to this short video from Richard recorded at TWTRCON.

Main points:

  • eBay has a full time corporate blogger! How many other brands can claim the same? Richard views his role as that of an internal reporter and spends a lot of time finding out what the eBay community wants to know and then running interviews at the corporate level.
  • Consistency is important when it comes to maintaining a blog. Richard tries to get out at least four posts a week.
  • Many in the industry talk of being transparent and honest. Most people are referring to external communications, but this applies just as much internally. Brand, legal and corporate communications departments all have to understand what you are putting out there.
  • eBay have been among the first to start a social media corporate disclosure program: eg. earnings releases are published on Twitter
  • They are undertaking a social media audit to isolate all social media properties. Twitter questions: Do you use Twitter for business? What’s your handle? Blog questions: Do you blog for the business? What are your goals, messaging, objectives? How do you measure these?
  • eBay are aware there are ‘disparate places where conversations are happening’. They are looking to setup a central platform to pull all this communication together.

Check out this excellent short video on eBay’s social media strategy

The art of lifestreaming on Facebook or Twitter

Do we need to be taught how to share our personal feelings with friends and followers on Facebook/Twitter? Apparently USA Today thinks so.

On one level this seems somewhat strange: it’s like being ‘taught’ how to write a personal diary by an over-pedantic English teacher (use “you are” rather than “you’re”). On the other hand, these pointers could help drive up the signal to noise ratio of life streams that often fall foul of the TMI (too much information) trap.  that is the bane of many a life stream.

George Orwell struck a wonderful balance by clausing his five tips to help writers, with a sixth:

“Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.”

The first commenter on the USA Today article takes Orwell’s dictum to heart:

“Just took a big ol’ dump.”