Why your company needs a Tweep

Tweep: a person who uses twitter

The other day I posted a blog post about Why I love Twitter.  It was very popular and got a lot of people talking about how useful it was to me in that scenario.  I’d also argue that the post points out how useful it was to those on the other side of the conversation — and how everyone should be doing what they were doing.  Let me elaborate.

In my first post, I mentioned how Jason Buffington (Senior Technical Product Manager for MS DPM) came to my immediate aid and cleared up some serious misinformation about how VSS works.  What I neglected to mention was that Val Bercovici (@valb00) also helped directly and put me in touch with Chaffie McKenna (@virtualizethis) who helped as well.  Also very helpful were all the folks at @Veeam. Both NetApp and Veeam appear to be the only vendors offering full VSS support on VMware, and I know this because they were following the conversation via Twitter, and then adding in their $0.02.  That prevented me from posting something like “there appears to be no one that does this right” on my blog.

The folks at VMware, however, were a little harder to get in touch with.  I did end up talking to John Troyer, who is in charge of Social Media over there.  However, since John wasn’t following me and wasn’t running an active search on the vmware phrase, he did not know I was looking for help, even though I posted the same kind of message about VMware as I did about Hyper-V.  John ended up being immensely helpful, but I only ended up talking to him because I knew a guy who knew a guy.  John and I talked about this, and his response was that VMware was such a popular phrase on Twitter that a search on it yields too many results to follow up on.  (I did run a search on VMware and it is quite amazing how many VMware tweets there are.)  So I can see that there might be too many for one person who is doing many social media things (blogging, facebook, videos, etc) to keep up with.  All that says to me is that VMware (who is a $10B company, for goodness sake) needs a dedicated person to do nothing but Twitter. Customers, potential customers, unhappy customers, and yahoos like me are constantly using Twitter to communicate with the world at large, and it should be someone’s job to do that.

If your company doesn’t have someone whose job it is to run searches on all your company and product names, and then ensure that any tweets are followed up on — well, I think you need to go find that person.  Depending on the popularity of your company, it’s anywhere from a collateral duty to a full-time position for many people.  (Imagine doing that job for Microsoft?)

Imagine the damage to your brand as one unhappy customer (who might be having a very small, easily fixed problem) posts tweet after tweet about how much you suck — and you have no idea this is happening.  Move forward a few months when Google starts indexing tweets and it’ll be even worse.

I recently used Twitter to get a company (MacSpeech) to do The Right Thing and refund my money.  I had been repeatedly ignored by their returns department for weeks.  One tweet and I had my RMA.  Why?  Because they were on twitter and running searches on their company name.  They saw what was up, fixed my problem, and volia!  No more brand damage.  Imagine that same scenario if they weren’t watching.

Now imagine how easily both those situations are fixed by simply having someone whose job it is to follow Twitter.  Think about it.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.