As well as the variable distribution channels, leveraging Twitter as a selling channel has another benefit for the users / customers: anonymity. Consumers can eavesdrop and follow messages without giving away their identity, email address, or any other contact info. While a selling dept may not like this ( if the mind-set is to concentrate on harvesting email addresses ), the customers will like it better and should be more ready to take part in a well planned selling event knowing that they are not signing themselves up for a future crammed with promotional spam.
For a CPG company (Consumer Packaged Goods), you could try running a competition or some other promotional program through Twitter that leverages the short-message, group-chat nature of Twitter. Send out clues and have users answer with guesses…
Sponsor a Twitter channel for something in your demographic… Sponsor a live reporter covering something interesting… Do something clever with tweets sent to your account. It will definitely help if your products are something the tech-hipster, early adopter, social-networking-kids want. Also, bear in mind that you wish to approach with caution — the Twitter demographic isn’t keen on enrolling for spam, or having corporations attack their social scene with advertising, so you want to add value to the conversation.
Social-media tools are fostering consumer service through:
Direct sales: Dell explains it has sold millions worth of refurbished computer parts and obsolete inventory thru its @Dell Outlet account (over 750,000 followers) on Twitter since 2007.
Promotions/Marketing: An obvious temptation for consumer brands is to use their Twitter account for promotions and marketing. A word of caution here. You should be aware that overly aggressive marketing will backfire. Many avid Twitterers see this as a form of spam. They can report to you to Twitter’s spam account which could cause your account to be suspended by Twitter or that they can block your account and when many users block an account again put your might suspend your account. Unless, like @DellOutlet, you have a specific account that is used only to promote certain products, jobs or services you should be very careful to blast promotional Tweets all the time. Remember that your tweets should always add value to the reader. A useful tactic could be well-defined and executed Twitter-based coupon campaign, or a prize draw with some nice incentives.
Brands aren’t about ‘messages’ anymore – brands today are conversations — and today the most important conversations are happening through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.