In the last year, Twitter has been quite the buzz for online marketers. We use it in different ways. It could be for pimping out events, linking to different blog posts, or just random tweets about our pet peeves, or the status from the latest "your-favorite-team" game.

It's been a marketing tool, but it can be a better customer service tool (I'm a big fan of customer service), especially if you have an e-commerce site.

If you're in customer service, you can do a Twitter search for your company to see what people are saying about you. They may be great, or not so great. With a Twitter feed, it gives you a proactive opportunity to thank happy (and viral) customers, and to help unhappy customers.

It allows you to proactively help with returns or shipping issues, and let your customers know that you care.

Marketers use Twitter all the time. Think of all the consumer trust that can happen if customer service is in charge of Twitter.

Zappos is probably the best example with over 450 employees using Twitter. Many of them are in customer service and most likely retain plenty of repeat customers because of their relations with consumers. Many people also follow Tony Hsieh, the CEO, and what he's up to. He personalizes his tweets which makes myself and others feel more personally connected.

A couple of other customer service examples (albeit not e-commerce) -

Comcast Cable is not known for exceptional customer service, but I do follow @comcastcares because I truly believe that if I have a problem with their service, Frank will proactively get back to me.

JetBlue Airways does something similar in proactive customer service. Follow them and they will proactively let you know of flight delays and other news regarding JetBlue airlines.

I think that marketers have done some great things with Twitter, although I think customer service departments can really be the ones to ensure consumer trust. After all, they are the ones who directly speak to their customers.

October 26, 2008

Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.

With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.


I have been using twitter as a networking site. I recently added a friend and we promoted a chat with us live in his site. It was working well.


Indeed Twitter is very good for marketers. The thing that I like the most is the 140 chars posts. It's easy to use, easy to communicate and easy to interact with people. Of course that Twitter as any other social site it's all about "participation" and if you participate with good posts then you'll have lots of followers and then traffic.

Twitter can bust your traffic and conversion but if you are a big company and you twit then you should be very careful because providing low quality twits can make your online audience to lose faith in you and you could do more damage then good.

So, to have any good coming from Twitter you have to be involved and to post useful twits(and not all links to other articles or your own articles; provide informations and interact with people).

Thank you.

Great tips.

If you would like a tool to manage your small business activities and Projects, you can use this web aplication:

You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (for business but also in other areas of your life), Projects and Tasks. It has a Checklists section, for the routines and repetitive activities that any business has to do. Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time and activities.

Some features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

And it's available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it from anywhere.

Twitter is a very important site for companies to take a look at on a daily basis. About a year ago, we monitored Yelp on a regular basis and we saw first hand the kind of impact this site had on our customers. We began educating them through our email marketing because it was such a great tie in with what we do (we are a mystery shopping, customer relationship management company).
Now, we have stepped this up a bit more by offering our clients SafetyNet. SafetyNet is a reputation management program designed to not only pull information for our clients, but we weed it out for them as well. Some posts are not relevant to our client's needs so we offer them a dedicated account manager to help monitor the buzzl. Then, if our client receives a lot of negative feedback about a particular store location or call center, we mystery shop them to dig in deeper. This helps clients address the problem one step further.

I am excited to see how all of this plays out through next year! It will be interesting and should help all of us experience better customer service!

Kathy Doering

I posted a short gripe about Panda on Twitter and was contacted by Panda Security within a couple of hours, as I guess they have a team whose purpose is to look for complaints about their product on Twitter and try to address them. They couldn't help me fix my issue, but I thought it was an interesting customer service action.

When working with clients we cross paths with a great deal of companies who are trying to integrate social media into their marketing/online marketing mix. It is vital to consider the objective of the campaign, the industry and the culture of the company prior to deploying any social media campaign Twitter especially. Defining a clear objective is great but understanding that the objective will change is even more vital to the overall success of the campaign. I have set up, managed and advised on numerous social media campaigns and have personally experienced companies who started using Twitter as a lead generation tool and quickly turned to using it as a networking tool for both national and local bloggers, publications etc. From a strategic level, the key is to monitor and be able/willing to quickly shift your tactics and objectives once you begin to see the metrics and public response. This is social media, there is no telling how people will react to any tactic your firm deploys.

Very cool article.

Mike Rynchek

Thanks for the comments all! It's still cool to see the different ways people use Twitter. I haven't heard of Panda being on there either. Thanks for the heads up.

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Search Engine Guide > Paul Jahn > Using Twitter for Customer Service