If someone told me two years ago that I would be following Twitter and Facebook, I would have told them they were crazy. This social media stuff is for kids, and it opens us up to criticism and takes an inordinate amount of time if you want to do it right, and its not for business, but for fun. Beside, I don’t understand how to ‘tweet’ anyway.
Boy was I ever wrong.
I have learned that social media has become a large weave in the fabric of our lives. Companies make earth shaking announcements on Facebook and Twitter, grandmothers communicate with their grandchildren on Facebook, IBM has a quarter of a million followers on Twitter, Ford has 750,000, Intel has 4.3 million, Boeing a quarter of a million, the IPI has 2000, Laz Parking’s Boston operation, nearly 800, Ace Parking 2000, and Parking Today and JVH have a total of nearly 1500 followers after only two and a half months of active tweeting.
Twitter can be frightening. With all those @,#, / and tiny urls its a whole new language to learn. You are forced to put your message across in less than 140 characters, and in the end, who will read it. You can “favorite”, “retweet”, follow, unfollow, send private messages… YIKES!
And assume you fight through the gobbledygook, so what. What good does it do a company.
I have learned that for business, Twitter is about branding. Its about reminding customers and competitors just who you are and what you are about. Using this techie communications, you are telling the world that you understand that we are moving into a new era. You are not giving up the old, but you are adding another arrow in your marketing quiver.
Plus, by becoming familiar with the media, you will find out information about customers and competitors that you might not know. The University of Nevada is closing a surface lot to start construction on the new parking structure — they will need equipment, lighting, elevators, plus ongoing commodities and services like tickets and enforcement software. Be good to know.
In the beginning I spent an hour a day or so dealing with Twitter, now its 15 minutes. I check out my twitter feed in morning and night, and have an app that allows me to “tweet” all at one time and then spread them out throughout the day. I have a couple of young, hip, staff members that love it and follow and tweet our info throughout the day, in addition to their regular duties.
We get feedback from our customers. Thanking us for mentioning them and then forwarding our tweet (retweeting) to their followers. That helps us in two ways — our customers feel like we remember them, and our message is sent to their followers. (This is called going viral — that is if maybe 100 or 1000 followers retweet and the numbers go up exponentially. It usually happens to Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians, or a video of cat playing the piano, but you get the idea.)
Consider Twitter. Its world class marketing, its intriguing, and dare I say it, its fun.
I’ll try to explain it in layman’s terms in my next blog. Don’t ask a 14 year old or a hip employee — they make assumptions about knowledge you simply don’t have.
Follow us on Twitter @jvhpt and @parkingtoday.