To follow or not to follow

24May09

In my escapades as chief tweeter for The Pet Wiki, I’ve had a pretty conservative view of who should be followed. I still think that it’s correct for small individuals not to follow everyone, but for larger companies, it’s important to have a wider view of whom to follow.

This past Thursday, Nutro cat food was recalled. Tweets were flying everywhere to let people know about the recall. As soon as I saw the first tweet about it, I immediately retweeted with a link to the story. Nutro found me. I was impressed. They tweeted the following message to me

@ThePetWiki Hi, I’m an Ambassador for Nutro. Pls let me know if you have ?s about our cat products. See http://www.nutroproducts.com/

A recall is a big thing that can break a company like this, and that was exactly what a company like them should have done. They should be looking on the web and through Twitter for customer so that they can dissuade their fears. So far, so good. The problem is that when I tried to DM (direct message) their ambassador, I was unable to do it. Although she wanted my feedback, she was not following me, so there was no way for me to contact her personally without letting everyone know about it. That’s bad business.

If all you do is give your customers a link to a page after something of this magnitude, that’s not good enough. You need to calm their fears, and the best way to do that is to listen to them. That’s the power of Twitter, connecting with your customers and putting a face to the company.

As an individual, it’s OK not to follow everyone, but a company doesn’t have that luxury. No one does that better than Scott Monty of Ford Motors. He gets it. He knows how to connect and make customers and potential customers feel good about themselves. That’s a gift.

Twitter is a gift for companies that want to listen to their customers. Use it well.

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