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A Little Birdie Told Me

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twitter_phone.jpgDo you Twitter? Consider it broadcast instant messaging, or better yet — micro-blogging. Launched in 2006, Twitter ranks right up there with Facebook and LinkedIn as the leading social networking tools on the web right now.

And businesses, of course, are finding ways to get in on the action.

Amazon posts special sales through Twitter. At Jet Blue, a customer relationship manager monitors “tweets” for the company name, intervening in customer complaints and responding to questions. And at Mambo Sprouts Marketing, we tweet coupon deals, contests, and natural food news.

Grocers too can capitalize on Twitter. Whole Foods is doing it. So is Trader Joe’s and the Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy chain.

As of late April, Whole Foods had more than 530,000 followers. And judging by this message…

Hi everyone! @twitter has instituted a 1000/day following limit for all users; we won't be able to keep up with following you all back!

…their audience is growing by more than 1000 each day.

What are people talking about? They are praising new products, asking about availability, questioning labels, and just plain interacting with the Whole Foods brand! Whole Foods, meanwhile, is advertising special promotions and educating shoppers:

"@jrushin If it was organic, it would be labeled as such. However, all our chicken is antibiotic-free & more: http://tr.im/wfmmeat"

"@PGHTornado TBHQ is on our list of unacceptable ingredients (http://tr.im/unaccept) so all the bread in our stores should be a-okay."

You don’t have to be a mega-brand to leverage social media. You just need to understand that it takes time and commitment. You have to keep at it. Pound the virtual pavement, if you will.

Sign up for an account on Twitter. Run a search to see who is talking about your company. Thank them for their compliments. Respond to complaints. Post good deals and good news from your organization.

Follow people who mention your brand and they’ll often follow you back. Post a “Follow Us on Twitter” link on your website, so more people can join the conversation. Make a commitment to post and engage several times a day. Build social presence. Your customers will engage and new customers will take note. Give it a try and let us know how it’s going!

(Photo credit: Fredo Alvarez)

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