At an AllThingsD session at CES last week, Twitter CEO Dick Costelo noted in passing that roughly 40% of all Twitter posts come from mobile devices. He seemed almost apologetic that it wasn’t a higher percentage but it was up from 25% the year before.
Why is this number so significant? Well, that’s about 45 million posts per day, and rising, from personal phones, out in the wild – maybe someone standing in line at your business. Combine that with Twitter’s natural location integration with Twitter Places and you’ve got the largest location-aware conversation happening in mobile. Foursquare, the check-in “leader” is averaging somewhere around 2 million check-ins per day but it isn’t nearly as ingrained as Twitter is at this point and their user base is, well, insignificant (but growing) compared to Twitter’s – plus, it has the ability to be fed into Twitter’s stream as well.
What does this mean for you?
One word: Opportunity. Twitter is a broadcast medium at its core but by adding mobile and location to the service it amplifies your ability to connect with customers. A year ago, social media consultants were teaching you how to leverage Twitter Search to monitor your brand – it was a simple exercise of finding people talking about you or in need of your product(s) or service(s) and reaching out and offering a solution. For example, people complaining about a headache in a Twitter post might receive a response from Bayer and a free sample in the mail. Today it is all about contextualized interactions – I don’t have a headache anymore, I’m near or in your store and telling people about it through Twitter.
If someone checks in when they are standing in your place of business TAKE ACTION! Thank them immediately! This is one of those bare minimum requirements in marketing: You’ve put an incredible amount of effort and great expense to get someone to show up at your door and now that they are there, and have announced that fact, you do nothing? Mobile giveth and taketh away. The fickel nature of the consumer means they can use a mobile device to also find a better price around the corner or someone else willing to provide the same service who is more attentive to their needs.
Don’t wait until the customer is at home and, for some reason, puts up a post about their experience interacting with your brand – that’s lazy, passive marketing which is unacceptable with the tools we have today. Don’t wait until you can’t “make” an experience for them. Don’t send them a gift certificate after they’ve commented on how poor the service was while they were at your restaurant – the damage is done. Don’t send them a discount code towards their next purchase when they’ve trudged through 3 feet of snow to and from your store. Create a lasting impression and experience the moment they volunteer the fact that they are standing in your place of business.
Sure, that sounds easy but…
There really is no excuse. Set up a real-time Twitter search with something similar to “I’m at Best Buy” – this will get you everyone who has checked in to Best Buy on Foursquare and is posting it to Twitter. Now, here comes the hard part…reach out to them while they are in your store and do something – a discount, a thank you, a welcome over the PA system – something!
This is an important time to engender some sort of brand loyalty with your customers – to reinforce why they spend their hard-earned scarce money at your business – because mobile has the ability to foster those relationships for you or for your competition.