Twitter, You’re Doing It Right (or wrong)

August 6, 2010

My last post outlined why social media isn’t the right tool for all businesses. I’ve thought more about Amy Mengel’s reasons corporations are failing at social media and tried to apply the “rules” to the companies I’m following on twitter. I was able to categorize the businesses into “the good”, those who are using social media well and “the bad”, those who aren’t doing so hot, but might have a chance at redemption. We’ll leave “the ugly” (the guys that don’t stand a chance in the twittersphere) alone, they’ve suffered enough.

Review: Reasons for failure

1. They can’t talk about anything broader than their own products

2. They listen to customers but don’t take any action

3. They aren’t calibrated internally with the technology

4. They’re not framing risk accurately

5. Their internal culture isn’t aligned for social media success

The Good


And not just because I’m a Buffalo girl. If you’re not lucky enough to have this amazing grocery store in your area, check out the Wegmans map and take a roadtrip. Still, we know that having a killer brick and mortar presence doesn’t always translate to the Internet (hello, Tiffany!). Wegmans has #1 covered. Sure, they tweet about store openings, but they also post product recalls, recipe ideas, and community events. They listen to their customers (#2) in the real world and online (#5). If there is one thing Wegmans excels at, it’s customer service. I tweeted about a not so great salad. Within the hour, Wegmans responded and I was sent a gift certificate for twice the value of my meal.


Being a bit of a fashionista, I was surprised to have only recently discovered kate spade on twitter. I’ve been trolling around for an iPhone4 case and fell in love with the designs from spade. Unfortunately, the cases only fit the older phones, and I tweeted my disappointment. Not five minutes later I got a response saying that iPhone4 cases would be out by the end of August (#2). Sure, the tweet benefits the company and will probably end in a sale, but it also made me feel “special” and “connected”. The kate spade team also hits #3 out of the park. Not only is the kate spade website an interactive dream, but two employees are currently twittering their way through a store opening in Palm Springs!

The Bad


I’m an editor, a writer, a scribbler, I use pens! I even ask for them in my stocking at Christmas, but I only use one kind. I am loyal, to a fault, to the BiC Ultra Round Stic (black or red, no blue).  Keep your fancy Montblac, I’ll stick with Bic, even if it means suffering through stained fingers and ink blob smeared words (no, I’m not a lefty). The BiC performance policy states that the company will gladly replace my faulty writing instrument at no cost if I am not satisfied. Well, I’m not. So I tweeted about it. BiC followed me, and then…nothing. Wake up, guys! You have a cute, flashy website but we all know that for most of the world, putting pen to paper is like rolling down a car window, something we’ve heard of but don’t actually do anymore. But there’s hope! Some of us still live in the dark ages, you can tell because we sit at meetings with a legal pad instead of an iPad. You might want to keep us happy, or at least respond!


*hides* First things first, I am addicted to Starbucks coffee and will suffer through caffeine withdrawal if I can’t find that little green mecca. So please, people of Starbucks, don’t spike my caramel macchiato. You all make wonderful coffee and yummy baked goods, but the social media aspect is lagging a bit. Yes, you have the ideastorm-esque site where customers can share their gripes, praise and suggestions, but it looks like you’ve put all your beans in one basket! The idea site gets a lot of attention and feedback from the people of Starbucks. You’ve created a wonderful community and are engaging in a conversation. Unfortunately, you also built a community over on twitter, but that platform is used as a bulletin board, not a sounding board.

Both BiC and Starbucks need a refresher course on rule #2. Weggies, kate spade: you guys rock. Let’s go shopping for local produce and carry our haul home in an adorable, versatile tote.

Note: Yes, I’m an editor and know names are usually capitalized, kate spade, however, is not.

Note two: Full disclosure, I worked at Wegmans in Willamsville, NY during high school and received a Wegmans scholarship.

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