I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge Twitter user. I rarely “tweet” (post updates), and I don’t find much time to read the tweets of people that I follow on Twitter. That being said, Twitter is stirring up a lot of interest in the marketing world, a great deal of it based on the potential of the service, and the rest because of the success stories of some Twitter users.
Take a look at these three companies that are using Twitter effectively to build their brands and connect with their customers in new and interesting ways.
Amazon MP3 is a case in which an existing company has made strong headway into a new (to them) market. After only two years in the MP3 download business, they’re second only to the mighty iTunes music store – an impressive feat when you consider that Apple has been at it since 2003.
Aside from an entire catalog of DRM-free content, Amazon also regularly offers sales on new and popular music. Every day, one album will be available at a discounted price (usually $1.99) rather than it’s usual price of $7.99 – $9.99.
So, Amazon has the products and great deals, but how do they push customers to the deals? Twitter.
Sure, people could hit their daily deal page but how often would customers remember? With Twitter, Amazon is able to easily push their daily deals to the masses without worrying about getting lost in people’s inboxes. By embracing the 140 characters or less ethos of Twitter, Amazon is able to broadcast their message quickly and cheaply to anyone who’s willing to follow.
Consider this – it probably takes less than 2 minutes to prepare a tweet announcing the deal of the day. Even if that single tweet only generated 10 sales, Amazon still gets a stunning ROI.
Major Nelson (XBOX live)
For those of you out there unfamiliar, Xbox Live is the online gaming community of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console. In this case, Major Nelson is the online name of Larry Hyrb, Director of Programming for Xbox Live. Instead of trying to push sales like Amazon MP3, Major Nelson’s primary purpose is to communicate with members of the Live community and build brand loyalty.
Major Nelson does this in a few ways. Most gamers who have started following Major Nelson on Twitter probably started doing so for one reason – free Xbox Live codes. Major Nelson will regularly send out tweets with codes to get free games and add-ons. This alone has led to a large following that watch closely for the next code to be posted.
In addition to giving away free products, Major Nelson does a few other important things. He builds interest in upcoming games and releases on Xbox Live by tweeting about them. This is a great, low-cost way to build hype for inexpensive products as well as the major releases. On top of that, Major Nelson tweets about Live service outages (both planned and accidental) and will often answer customer service requests via his Twitter account. It’s no secret that Microsoft had a PR nightmare when its consoles began dropping dead left and right. Major Nelson’s Twitter account is a step toward building a personal relationship with members of the Xbox community and easing customers’ fears by knowing that someone at Microsoft is hearing their complaints and actively responding.
If nothing else, Major Nelson’s Twitter account keeps the Xbox 360, Live, and its games in people’s minds. Oftentimes, I’ll get so wrapped up in life and work that games fall by the wayside. All it takes is a tweet from Major Nelson to remind me that I have a few games I’ve been wanting to play on my 360 at home.
Stones Throw is an independent record label based in Oxnard, California. With the current state of the music industry, labels and artists need any advantage they can get, and Stones Throw’s Twitter account gives them just that.
In Stones Throw’s case, they use their Twitter account to do three things: announce new and upcoming releases, connect users with content about Stones Throw artists, and announce and promote limited edition toys, shirts, and vinyl pressings. Stones Throw will regularly tweet about artist performances, interviews, or music videos. While this is a great way for fans to follow their favorite artists, it also allows Stones Throw to advertise their limited edition releases. Instead of relying on third party sources to relay this information to fans, they use Twitter to cheaply and quickly connect directly with interested customers.
These are just a few examples of companies connecting with their customers in new and interesting ways. As the Twitter platform continues to grow and mature, we’ll surely see several more companies taking innovative approaches to growing their brand and customer base.