Comcast Goes Twittering

It may be risky for billion dollar companies to use social marketing tools like Twitter and blogs because it can backfire when customers are angry. For instance, it just takes one customer to put up a YouTube video of a Comcast technician who fell asleep on the customer’s couch to blacken Comcast’s reputation. However, a employee at Comcast found a clever way to use Twitter to have a conversation with customers and evangelize the Comcast brand.

Comcastcares on Twitter is managed by Frank Eliason, a Comcast employee who experimented with Twitter and discovered a very passionate response from Comcast customers. Anyone can send a direct message to Frank by beginning their twitter update with “d Comcastcares” followed by their message. Frank currently has 1,752 people who are following his Twitter feed, which is pretty remarkable. Almost 2,000 people care enough about Comcast that they are willing to receive updates whenever Frank has something to say.

A majority of Comcastcare’s 3,800 Twitter updates thus far consist of Frank simply responding to people who have issues with their service. Frank often goes above and beyond to solve customer issues such as giving out his email or tracking down the someone in the company who can help. You can read some of Frank’s twitter conversations over at Frank has won over many fans with his empathy and warmness, even when he takes heat from angry customers. Using Twitter has put a human face to a huge telecom company, which has demonstrated that maybe Comcast really does care.

Top 10 Marketing Applications of Twitter

Twitter is not just for telling people you just ate a sandwich. There are limitless applications for Twitter. Here are the top 10 marketing applications of Twitter.

1. Instant Focus Group
Jason Calacanis uses his 23,000 plus followers to find out what they think. He will shoot out a question about what people think about a Mahalo’s site design or who should be the next host of Mahalo daily and lets the community share their ideas and thoughts.

2. Giveaways
You can ask or pay a top twitterer to giveaway some of your products for free. Jason Calicanis often gives away the GPS Dash, which made me wonder what it was.

3. Advertising on the Homepage
You can set an image as your avatar or in the background of your Twitter homepage. If you can get your brand on a top Twitterer’s homepage it can build brand awareness.

4. Spread a Message
Twitter is the ultimate catalyst for word of mouth. If something remarkable came out like the recent rumor that AT&T will offer a subsidized iPhone for $200 with a 2 year plan, it will spread through Twitter like wildfire. With a lot of people having mobile access to Twitter via SMS, they can quickly and easily spread interesting news.

5. Market Research
By texting Track, followed by a keyword (e.g. track Obama), you can get immediate updates whenever someone in the Twittersphere says the keyword. For instance if you are Nike, you can monitor what people are saying about your brand.

6. Endorsements
If Britney Spears or Paris Hilton started using Twitter, their followers would be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions globally. If you could get a high profile individual with many devout followers, they might influence people in favor of your brand.

7. Provide Valuable Content
If you provide valuable and useful content people will give you their attention. A company Twitter could provide useful information and updates, it will build good will for the brand. A brand that has passionate followers like Apple, would have many followers.

8. Direct Leads to Your Website
You can direct people to products on your website where they can convert to customers. Linking to your site can even possibly give you some added SEO value.

9. Communicate with Customers
Company leadership can speak to customers at a intimate level by Twittering. This could also build good will for consumers who often view corporations as soulless entities.

10. Have a Conversation
Twitter allows you to reply to what someone says, so you can have a conversation about virtually anything from the lives of consumers to issues in society or just whatever you think is cool.

Can you add any marketing applications to this list?

How to Use Twitter for Marketing Research

Here’s a cool tip to monitor chatter on Twitter. You can text track Marketing to 40404 and you will receive an update every time someone mentions marketing in a twit.

If you want to know what people are saying about your brand, you can text track Apple or track Tesla, to listen to what people are saying. To disable text untrack Apple, or track off to stop all updates.

How To Create a Social Epidemic

The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell is an incredible book about social epidemics. The goal in marketing is to create a social epidemic surrounding your brand and The Tipping Point explains how.

Influence the Influencers
To spark a epidemic you should focus your resources on getting the connectors and enthusiasts on your side. Airwalk did this by getting rock bands to wear their shoes and building commercials around what trend setters thought was cool.

Use Insight to Make Key Subtle Changes
Small changes can have profound effects, therefore making a key tweak can put you over the top. Sesame Street producers discovered that putting muppets and people together instead of segregating them made a drastic difference in capturing the attention of little ones.

You would be crazy not to read this book if you want to build a brand that sweeps the nation.