Does Twitter deliver real business benefits?

Sometimes the benefits of social media are crystal clear

In the autumn my host disappeared off the planet for a week and all my sites went down. The host phone number was dead and they weren’t answering emails. I’d been with them eight years but their communication was so crap throughout the crisis that my loyalty flew right out of the window. I jumped ship as soon as I could transfer my url.

This week my new hosts’s server went down for a couple of hours. In contrast they kept their customers up to date with what was happening – and why – via Twitter.

  • they sidestepped a load of irate telephone calls and emails, giving themselves time and space to get on with solving the problem
  • they managed the situation effectively and avoided a potential PR disaster
  • customers knew exactly what was happening in real time

By using Twitter intelligently they’ve probably:

  • reinforced existing customer loyalty by resolving the issue quickly
  • boosted their brand by being brave enough to acknowledge and solve a difficult issue in a very public arena
  • attracted valuable positive attention from potential new prospects

In this context spending a few moments breaking crucial news via Twitter is worth its weight in marketing gold. In other contexts the business benefits of social media marketing are less clear cut.