Great 'Twitter for Business' stream
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One of the seminal books on social media and business I have on my "recommended reading" list for clients is Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. It's all about how business blogging should be approached.
That's why I'm following closely Shel's latest project, Twitterville. It is hitting the same ground trod in Naked Conversations, namely how business should think about tapping into and gaining benefit from the peer interaction and influence that takes place on the social web. Shel asserts that Twitter is a tool that "almost no company should overlook," and promises to give plenty of examples to illustrate why.
He is sharing those examples as he is writing the book through is blog and his "Twitterville Notebook," which I've been following very closely. A recent entry in his notebook was particularly compelling because it was about how a small business -- a hardware store in Indianapolis -- uses Twitter along with other social media tools to drive traffic to its online store, Ron's Hardware. It was particularly interesting not just because it's a nice small business example, but more importantly because of how John Thieling, the individual driving the company's use of social media, describes how Twitter has changed their business:
There's a coffee counter in our Indianapolis store where customers congregate and shoot the breeze. We have some amazing conversations there. Sometimes, it's pithy stuff like the economy. Often, it's just banter about the Colts or Pacers. Twitter has become our Internet "coffee counter." It extends our reach beyond your grasp.
Every day, we talk to wonderful people on Twitter -- a "groovy farm chick" in Nebraska, the CEO of a huge online company, some of technology's great minds and respected journalists. These are people we would never meet outside of Twitter.
When we know a customer is on Twitter, we give them a "shoutout: "Hey, Larry in Omaha! We'll get that Weber Grill to you ASAP." Little things like that touch people, and help them remember your name. They become your evangelists.
Twitter gives us a way to show our humanity. While we sometimes talk business, we also talk about life, the economy, last night's big game and even lunch. Twitter allows us to show who we really are. It is very much "in the moment."
I liked the part about "extending the reach beyond our grasp." That combined with how they keep it personal and real is what makes such a difference for them in terms of brand identity, customer loyalty and tapping into the peer influence taking place on networks like Twitter.
Thanks for sharing, Shel. I'm looking forward to the book.