The Twitter Wal-Mart Feed
Wal-Mart (WMT) has an entire suite of Twitter accounts, which are each focused on different aspects of its business. As with any communications or marketing strategy, the more Twitter niches a business has the better because it ensures that the right message reaches the right people who care about it.
Wal-Mart's main Twitter account is, surprisingly, dedicated to Wal-Mart's community and environmental efforts. One might expect that it would be focused on the "save money" part of the Wal-Mart mission, rather than the "live better" part, but not so. Obviously this main @Walmart account is just another mouthpiece for the Wal-Mart PR department press releases. This is not a bad thing, but it's also not a Twitter best practice.
The Wal-Mart Specials Twitter account is where the Wal-mart marketing messages are pumped out to an audience of more than 230,000 (as of March, 2012). One of the best practices that you'll see in the Wal-mart Specials Twitter account is the conversation threads that it creates by engaging with customers who tweet about certain products. This is a both a personal touch experience that tweeters love to receive and a personal touch reputation that Wal-Mart would love to cultivate.
"The Internet has turned what used to be a controlled, one-way message into a real-time dialogue with millions." - @daniellesacks
The Kroger Twitter Feed
If you were one of the 16,000+ people following the Kroger (KR) Twitter feed (or Facebook page) in March, you would have noticed quite a consumer campaign directed at Kroger protesting LFTB beef (a/k/a the Pink Slime Scandal). This is the part of social media that scares the tweetbojebus out of corporations. Online flash protest mobs can swarm together in an instant and quickly become a public relations nightmare that can irreparably trash the reputation of a brand.
So, twudos to Kroger for noticing the anti-LFTB consumer swell in social media, for trying to mitigate it while it was going on, and for taking decisive action to make a major change based on consumer feedback (or at least for promising to take decision action in the near future.) Once retailers get over the fear of the mob, they will realize that this two-way social media communication creates a paradigm of consumer co-creation that can improve business, enhance reputation, and strengthen relationships. Everybody wins when everybody wins.
"Twitter is not a technology. It's a conversation. And it's happening with or without you." - @charleneli
The Costco Twitter Feed
The third largest retail chain in the U.S. is just not that into Twitter. There's a Twitter account that's labeled as the "official" Costco (COST) account, but it is so pathetic that it's hard to believe Costco is actually really associated with it. There's an active Costco Travel Twitter feed that tweets out travel deals, but doesn't engage with its followers or Costco members in any way.
In its inattentiveness to the Twittersphere, Costco is demonstrating one social media worst practice very well. In the absence of your presence and active participation on Twitter, individual accounts related to your business will pop up and become self-appointed spokestweeters for your brand whether you want them to or not. In the case of Costco, there are a number of Twitter accounts using Costco logos as their profile photo that are probably being mistaken as "official" accounts, which is problematic in ways that are unimaginable.
The worst worst practice on Twitter is to not be present and not pay attention at all, which can be interpreted by the touch-feely-connecty social media audience as proof that you just "don't care." It's curious that a retail company like Costco that is built on "club membership" would not embrace the connective benefits of social media in every way. But, if you want to connect with Costco in social media, you'll have to do it on Facebook.
"You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free." -David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker
The Home Depot Twitter Feed
Home Depot was an early adopter on Twitter, and seemingly has established an official Twitter account for every one of its Home Depot locations throughout the world. Somebody at one time had the vision for the potential of this kind of social media infrastructure, but at this point the infrastructure is something like an empty shell of a virtual store that nobody has moved into yet.
Given that, the main Home Depot Twitter account has a nice balance of marketing messages, home improvement tips, customer service communications, and replies to tweeters who mention the Home Depot brand. By using all these different tweeting strategies, Home Depot is humanizing its brand, which has strong appeal to those who are oriented towards social media.
And if you want to know what "humanizing" a brand means, check out Home Depot's TwitPic photo gallery which is filled with warm-n-fuzzy home improvement moments. Twudos to the Home Depot social media team for that!
"Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you." -Matt Goulart
The Target Twitter Feeds
Like Wal-Mart, Target has... read more >>