Today, over on Twittermaven, Warren Sukernek reminded the Hilton Anaheim that there’s more to Twitter than broadcasting ads. He also presented two fantastic examples of hotels that use Twitter very well: Hotel Max in Seattle, and the Roger Smith Hotel in New York. One quick look at the Twitter pages of all three hotels and you’ll see the distinct difference: Hotel Max and the Roger Smith both interact with their followers and related businesses. You don’t even need to go past the first page to see how much fun they’re having on Twitter! They also tweet helpful information for travelers, industry related articles, and give shout-outs to great snapshots taken by fans. They’re personable and lots of fun. Even though their twitter avatars are logos, their followers know there are real people behind the tweets, and the voices/personalities are consistent. When they do sprinkle in the occasional special offers and contests in tweets, there’s already such a great level of trust that their followers are happy to spread the word for them! Meanwhile, over on Hilton Anaheim‘s Twitter page, every tweet is nothing more than a miniature billboard or small space ad.
Hotel Max has been a shining example of customer engagement through social media, and I’ve learned a lot by observing Jen’s work. When I started the @BenBridgeGirl Twitter account in January 2009, I began by searching for customers, acknowledging their visits or purchases, and providing service referrals when appropriate. I have not found lot of chatter about Ben Bridge Jeweler on Twitter (this is another topic/post about building a “talkable brand”), so I’ve spent more time focusing on connecting with the bridal industry, accessory retailers, the hospitality industry, fashion bloggers, and many jewelry industry professionals. And yes, I also reach out to competitors, because instinctively, I know it’s a positive move. We’re all in the same community, after all. During my observations, most major jewelry retailers started out by using Twitter like a shiny new blow horn, and it’s understandable. Today, I’m happy to see that both Zales @zalesdiamondgal and Blue Nile @bluenilediamond are starting to acknowledge customers for their purchases and mentions.
My goal for @BenBridgeGirl is to build brand recognition, and provide customer service when appropriate. Perhaps some time in the future, there will be a few offers or goodies thrown in, but sales is not a primary goal for @BenBridgeGirl. Jewelry purchases, after all, are high-touch experiences that are often emotional, and much of it can’t be done very well with 140 characters. With that said, I can also see a jewelry retailer maintaining a separate Twitter account for “outlet” type of sales, to cater to bargain hunters, but that’s another conversation.