Brands using Twitter – My tips for them

Brands of the world, it seems that whoever you have employed to manage your social networking presence does not know what they are doing and you need to sort it out, now!

I am finding more and more that certain brands are monitoring keywords using Tweetdeck or similar applications to reply to tweets either with a sales pitch for their similar product or even to try to redeem themselves in a “pro-active customer service” move.

The first point that I must make is that if you’re going to take the latter stance, appoint somebody who knows the product and is familiar with twitter etiquette. I recently had my broadband company reply to a rant about their service, to which I replied to them with the issue and didn’t hear another thing for a week. I then commented on this lack of response, after-all, they contacted me, and they replied, quite snappily I might add, insisting that they had DM’ed me. Well, anyone who had been using Twitter for more than 24 hours would know that you cannot send a direct message to somebody who does not follow you. And why would I be following my ISPs customer service department? So of course, I didn’t get their DM.
When I did get a response to my technical question, their response didn’t make any sense. Apparently my “IP address email addresschanges daily”. The question I asked them was about the LAN IP addresses that their router gives. Duh.

Another experience was with UPS who clearly monitor the use of “UPS”. Unfortunately it seems that only their US branch use Twitter so when I complained by way of a tweet to the world and they contacted me, they clearly didn’t look at my location before offering assistance, as when I replied with my issue they said they couldn’t help and to call the UK call centre (by this time I had already).

Other companies monitor for use of words that are attributed to their product, or even their competitors company names in an attempt to poach customers. This may all be fine, as long as they are offering you a comparable service or product – not something that is 3-4x the price or isn’t in any way the same.

Twitter can be a great way to get your companies names onto the computer screens of customers or potential customers, as long as it is executed properly. The rules of the real world still apply in Twitterland. It may be a new way to be in contact, but that shouldn’t change anything.

My top tips

  • Your brand is not my friend. Do not pretend that it is. Don’t @ me after randomly finding me through keyword searches offering comment only to lead up to a sales pitch.
  • If you’re going to offer customer service by twitter, offer to take my telephone number and call me. I’m sure that most issues cannot be sorted out in 140 characters.
  • Know how Twitter works. Don’t DM me when I can’t receive it because I don’t follow you. Oh, and don’t @ when you mean to DM, that could be disastrous.

Follow me on Twitter.

Firefox & Windows 7 not playing nice.

I downloaded the Windows 7 RTM last week using my MSDN subscription. Great OS. Not going to get into a review right now – I’m sure you can find many of them.

The one thing that was annoying was that Firefox was crashing, pages were taking an age or not loading at all, especially javascript heavy websites like Gmail or Facebook and after moving to Google Chrome for a week and complaining a lot on Twitter I decided to do something about it.

First I loaded Firefox up in safe mode. This cleared up the problem. Then I found from a Windows 7 forum that apparently some add-ons (extensions) don’t sit quite right with Windows 7. This seems plausible, especially since I’m using the 64-bit edition. So I disabled all of my extensions and switched them back on – one by one.

Low and behold, luckily I went from bottom-to-top as the offending plug-in was … Skype Extension for Firefox. With this add-on enabled the browser grinds to a halt almost completely, eats all memory and stops JS from working almost entirely.

So if you get this problem, check for this extension, disable it and let me know the results in the comments. I can’t be the only one experiencing this, surely?