If it seems like just about everyone’s on Twitter these days, there’s a good reason—the social media megasite has just under 650 million users. People around the world use the site to share media, share updates about their lives, and, increasingly, to interact with celebrities and corporations. Compliments, reviews, requests and complaints that used to be voiced to one’s friends or sent in a letter are now broadcast to a global audience—instantly. Ever wary of customer dissatisfaction, brands big and small have taken notice. Many companies now have Twitter accounts dedicated solely to customer service.
The sheer number of users, coupled with the potential impact of a negative tweet going viral on the Internet, companies are very cognizant of the potential customers at stake. And with more than two thirds of Twitter users expecting a response to their tweets within 24 hours, it’s no surprise that 95 percent of brands use the service to engage with their current and potential customers every single day.
Yet even in a world where tweets have become a part of every successful brand’s marketing toolkit, some individuals and companies have managed to elevate Twitter to something of an art form, leveraging customer service, marketing savvy, and good old-fashioned personability to dominate the Twittersphere. Some, such as JetBlue (@JetBlue), American Airlines (@AmericanAir), and Rackspace (@Rackspace), make customer service a priority and dedicate significant resources to addressing customer questions and concerns in record time.
Other brands are more focused on boosting the bottom line through sales and eCommerce—including online fashion retailer ASOS (@ASOS), whose #BestNightEver campaign helped push the company’s sales to £78 million ($127,413,000) in December 2012 alone.
In the non-profit sector, organizations such as the American Red Cross (@RedCross) and Movember (@Movember) used strategic partnerships and promotional hashtags to raise serious funds for their respective causes.
It’s not always easy to be sincere, informative, funny, and compelling in just 140 characters, and few modern media streams can compare to Twitter when it comes to leveraging the power of pithiness. But these champions of Twitter have managed to do just that, by developing winning strategies for interacting with their followers, addressing their customers’ needs, and making a difference.