Using Twitter for Business: Listen, Engage and Educate

I have been the head of communications at Trulia since July of 2008 and I have always been impressed with the way social media is part of our DNA.  Social media brings us closer to our customers and consumers.  Rudy is our “social media guru” but online his user name is “Trulia” on Twitter. If your company is ready to make a commitment to social media, that means you better be ready to have a dedicated evangelist(s).  This evangelist(s) should represent the company and not their own personal brand.  Rudy has turned this role into an art form and I wanted to share with you the secrets to our success.  It comes down to three key areas: listening, engaging and educating.

Listen
image By listening to our audience, we have been able to provide better customer service and roll out new features that we know folks want.    It is important to digest what customers and consumers are saying.  Twitter is like an online focus group and you will be amazed at what you can learn by listening to your customers and consumers.  I know this isn’t rocket science but how many companies out there are compiling reports and feedback from Twitter that can be presented to executive management and key product folks within your organization?

Engage
Engaging in conversation will allow you to fix problems and thank people for good feedback and comments.  It is also an opportunity to correct misinformation.  Once interactions begin, you are setting the bar high that you will always be available and that is why this needs a dedicated resource.  We live in a world that expects instant gratification and if you can provide that, you will build a dedicated group of followers. Ideally this dedicated group of followers will turn into your biggest online and offline evangelists.

Educate
image Education comes in many shapes and forms.  We use Twitter to share educational blog posts on how to refinance or how to get your listing noticed.  We use Twitter to share stories about cutting edge agents and the success they are having for the clients  and we use twitter as platform to market our upcoming webinars.  We also use twitter to share the latest product functionality and to share good product reviews like the one from Mosseberg’s column back in February. I could go on and on in this area but I think you get the picture!

My advice, embrace Twitter if you haven’t already.  If you have, ask yourself if it has become part of your DNA? Lastly, ask yourself if your organization is realizing the full power of the service?  If you are interested, you can follow our social media guru, Rudy (Trulia), our CEO (peteflint), our VP of Marketing (heathermirj) and myself (sanphrancisco).