I was just at a Third Tuesday Meetup Group on Social Media. The guest speaker was Michelle Kostya on RIM’s approach to social media. The talk was fascinating on how RIM is using social media platforms to keep in touch with their user base and to promote their products. In effect the customer service and marketing groups have merged since they both perform similar functions in an integrated social environment.
What I found of particular interest is that Blackberry sends over 800 private or direct tweets per day to respond to various queries and customer issues. They use their broadcast tweeting primarily for tips and hints, which they control to a very limited number otherwise if they broadcast every response it would overwhelm and potentially alienate their followers. They also have over 50 Facebook pages ( language and product pages) as well as 8 twitter handles. They feel that their Social Media efforts have payed off hugely in keeping their Blackberry users happy.
This made me think about how a small service type business could use twitter to respond to their customers. Instead of using it to send regular tweets, although the odd message can’t hurt, it can be used to direct message between a client and an adviser or other professionals when advice or input is required but a phone call is not essential or desired. Texting can also be used in a similar fashion but Twitter may actually be easier and more intuitive for some users.
So the answer is that in certain circumstances having a twitter account can be very useful for a small service oriented business in particular when a social media savvy clientele is involved.