Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 31, 2009 9:08 PM

How Big Business Is On Twitter Without Being "On Twitter"

In the past couple of weeks there has been multiple instances where well-known brands have confided in me that they are on Twitter, but not participating.

What, exactly, are they doing if they're on Twitter but don't have an account, are not following anybody and are not tweeting out any sort of content?

They're listening and doing a lot more than just listening.

In fact, a lot of these brands are acting on the customer service-related issues, they're understanding where their competitors are dropping the ball, and they're able to uncover areas of improvement and/or innovation for product development. All without tweeting a character.

Imagine this scenario:

Someone on Twitter tweets out about a bad customer experience. It turns out that the company being accused is not on Twitter. From that, other stories from other individuals surface. Along with that series of tweets comes people's thoughts, perspectives and ideas on how the company can/should remedy the situation. Without responding or even engaging directly with these individuals, the company is watching/listening to the Twitterverse and acts to rectify the situation going forward. Essentially, they're willing to sacrifice the several disgruntled consumers but resolve the issue so no new customers moving forward have a similar experience.

Think about that for a few seconds. 

As more potential consumers become actual clients, their experiences are not similar to those of their peers on Twitter. "It must have just been them," suddenly becomes a very plausible answer. Those new consumers might also be thinking, "I guess they improved, changed or fixed their business." Why would a business/brand not engage on Twitter or try to change the outcome? Usually it has to do with resources, legal, governance or corporate affaires. While we can sit and judge the company structure or their inability to be open to engage in these real interactions, it's pretty amazing to think that there are many brands that are actively listening, resolving issues or looking for ways to be innovative by simply following the Twitter stream.

It's a smart move and it makes perfect sense.

Twitter is an open market of conversations. All conversations are happening in a natural language and happening between real people who are not being paid for their time or opinion. It's also a place where people ask their peers for opinions, advice and ideas. If companies are not taking the time to learn from this open dialogue, they should be.

What's your take on businesses being highly active on Twitter without tweeting a tweet?

By Mitch Joel