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When Christopher Hoff tweeted that he was unhappy with the service he was getting from Southwest Airlines, a representative from the company responded back to him within a day, explaining why his flight was delayed and asking him to give the airline a second chance. That’s the power of social media and increasingly, businesses are paying attention. Top companies such as Southwest, Comcast, Dell, Starbucks, General Motors, Kodak and Whole Foods are just a few of those using social media like Twitter to monitor their brand’s reputation or provide customer service on the spot. Industry research backs up this strategy. According to a recent survey by Marketing Sherpa, 92% of marketers believe social media is somewhat or very effective in influencing a brand’s reputation and 91% believe it is very or somewhat effective in increasing brand awareness. Soon, Christopher Hoff and others like him may find more companies will be watching what they say on Twitter.

Potential to Improve Your Internal Communications.

Nearly half of the marketers surveyed think social media doesn’t improve internal communications. Tony Hsieh, one of the more enthusiastic CEOs when it comes to Twitter, would disagree. Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos (an online shoe, clothing, and accessories retailer, that has about 8 million customers), follows nearly 400,000 people and double that amount follow him. Hsieh tweets multiple times per day, talking about everything from pop culture, to flight delays, to going on a fishing trip. He encourages his employees to use Twitter and says it helps employees get to know one another. “Initially it took a bit of commitment because nobody had used it,” he says. “Twitter has helped with our company culture.”








SOURCES: Marketing Sherpa Social Media Marketing and PR Benchmark Survey 2008 Methodology: Fielded December 4-10, 2008, N=1886 content sep2008/tc2008095_320491_page_2.htm




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