Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. It’s everywhere these days. Even Oprah is on it now (@oprah). Along with this huge growth, though, come questions about what Twitter’s future will look like. No longer are people questioning what Twitter is; they now want to know how it can become self-funded and, not only that, how they plan to generate the money a successful online company should be making.
Some say the creators of Twitter are just biding their time and that they actually have the luxury of waiting for the perfect opportunity to monetize their business because of how popular it has become. Whatever the reason for the delay, other companies have been taking advantage of Twitter in the meantime to help fund their own businesses.
One such company is Dell, which has used Twitter to promote its blog, as well as to advertise special offers for its products. The company manages a ridiculous number of different accounts — 34, in fact — so you know they’re pretty into it. The full list can be found here: http://www.dell.com/twitter. The high number of accounts is mainly due to Dell needing to target a large variety of countries worldwide.
The best example of a Dell account that offers promotions is @DellHomeOffers. This account has about 1,400 followers and about 300 updates. But not only are they being active, they’re also making money through Twitter. So far, they have reportedly brought in over 1 million in revenue through the company’s use of “tweets”. Here is their most recent update to give you an idea of their general strategy:
Vizio 37″ VOJ370 1080p LCD HDTV for $699! Ltd Time Offer. Check out http://tinyurl.com/rcly9q
Now, 1 million isn’t really that significant for a company like Dell, which made 60 billion last year, but it is still a good example of the power of Twitter and how companies can potentially use it for earnings.
Twitter shouldn’t just be used as a revenue model, though. It can also be used to manage a company’s reputation. If Twitter users are bashing your company, you’re going to want to act fast before it turns into a disastrous situation like FTD (Florists’ Transworld Delivery) and 1800Flowers each experienced this past Mother’s Day.
Basically, each company received numerous online orders for flowers to be delivered to mothers on Mother’s Day, but when many of these orders failed to arrive on time, there was an online backlash on Twitter. FTD is especially taking this rough. TechCrunch reported that “According to Twendz, 63% of recent tweets about FTD are negative. And 83% of tweets that include ‘FTD’ and ‘Mom’ are negative.”
1800Flowers, though it is also receiving negative reviews, received far fewer and is also countering the damage by responding to the negative buzz through their own account on Twitter (@1800Flowers). They are responding to each angry user personally, like this example demonstrates:
@pamdodd Many apologies for the inconvenience! Can I be of help?
As a result, only 33% of tweets about 1800Flowers are negative, according to Twendz. This lower percentage can’t solely be attributed to the reputation management activity on their part, but it certainly hasn’t hurt, either. At the very least, it might encourage the angry users to give them another chance next time.
Twitter has become a multi-faceted site that many companies are taking advantage of while the opportunity is available. There are many social media sites that come and go, but Twitter is going to be around for a long time, so learning its ins and outs right now could give your business an important competitive edge.