5 Twitter tools for your brand

You search for Twitter management tools and you get millions if not zillions of suggestions to try this or that. Though have been using few actively for my personal account for quite some time now but recently tried to look for some new ones for a project related to my company. Last when I had used these tools for brand tracking was for my earlier company but must say that with the phenomenal growth of twitter, this twitter tool and app market has also exploded quite vehemently. I mean you search for anything and there are hundreds of free utilities which can offer you any kind of solution in just one click. And when there are lots of good things around, it’s difficult to decide on the best :).

Based on my recent usage and experience, here’s a list of 5 tools which I think can be very helpful for keeping an eye on the following 5 aspects which you need to track about your brand.

  1. Tracking the brand mention: Social Mention – Though there are many alert and tracking options available but so far I liked Social Mention as the best one.  It’s been used by many and in one single dashboard it actually tells you the mention of your brand not only in Twitter but in almost all other social media channels. To add to that, statistics like sentiment, strength, reach and passion help you analyze some qualitative aspects of your mentions as well. You can further filter your search for different types of social media channels.
  2. Measure your influence & reach: Twitalyzer – Twitalyzer is a combination of free and paid services. Free offerings include basic understanding of your scores for influence, reach, impact, engagement and velocity. To have further more detailed insights, you can always subscribe to their paid services and get detailed customized reports as per your needs.
  3. Know other influencers in your industry: Klout – Apart from measuring your influence, Klout also allows you to measure other interesting aspects like who are you influenced by, who are the top influencers in your industry, how is your influence score vis-a-vis other influencers similar to you. You can use Klout not only for your Twitter score but also for other channels like Facebook & Linkedin.
  4. Mapping against competitors: Twitter Counter – By far the best tool which I could get my hands on for comparison of your brand against your competitors. Not that more do not exist, but quite many are buggy or not with updated statistics. This one gives you a quick snapshot on weekly, monthly, 3 monthly and 6 monthly basis.
  5. Managing your followers count: Friend or Follow – Well, don’t think anyone can zero on one such service, there are hundreds and thousands of follower management tools, right from some which alert you over email (Qwitter) when somebody stops following you, to some which tell you which tweet made people unfollow you at what point (Tweet Effect). But for basic follower management, I find Friend or Follow to serve my purpose both for the brand handle and my personal one. It gives a dashboard view for fans, following and friends at one place and can help you in managing the list quickly.

This is a list of tools which I have found useful and have performed consistently, otherwise there are instances where many such free services close down without even sending any notification email (e.g., Qwitter – this service is really inconsistent when it comes to performance). Many of you must have been using different other tools for your brands, so in case you have suggestion for  any better tool, please drop in a comment to this post.

Aided social media engagement

Actually more than aided, I felt like writing “forced” social media engagement as a title for this post :). Below anecdote is a real life example of two Indian e-commerce brands utilizing social media in different ways. For the sake of anonymity let’s call these brands as X & Y.

Brand X: An old and established e-commerce player in India which has got reasonable service level and till date as a consumer I have never faced much issues with it.

Brand Y: A new e-commerce player in the same industry but which has changed rules of the game completely in India and based on its service levels has managed to completely floor its customers. Lots of loyal customers (including me) of other similar sites have shifted their loyalty to this new brand Y mainly because of the consumer experience and customer service offered by this brand.

Brand Y being a new brand was already present on social media platforms but Brand X didn’t have any such strong online social presence. Now with all this hubbub of social media, fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter, X also decided to strengthen its fan base but instead of taking the straight route decided to take a shortcut and launched a promotion campaign which said – become our fan on Facebook and get Rs. 500/- worth of our voucher absolutely free. Mailers, messages and those standard blah blah blahs to promote this campaign went live. And as expected, their fan base started to multiply on an hourly basis…tens, hundreds and thousands…so much so that finally X decided to put a cap of first 5000 fans for their free vouchers. The brand was trusted and the promise made by the brand was loud & clear, to add to that this incentivization to consumers helped the campaign to achieve what it aimed at. Within few days only the fan base swelled to thousands. Now it was the time for customers to get their incentives but lo’ when the vouchers came it was not as fair as the campaign claimed it to be. Constraints applied were – the voucher was not valid for the entire e-store, there was a special section created to redeem that voucher and none of the products available there were less than 4 times of the voucher amount; the voucher was valid for hardly few hours; due to traffic on the server, website was going down often whenever one tried to redeem the coupon code and from such a limited catalogue,  lots of products of lowest price were marked as “sold”.

Well, didn’t take much time for customers to realize that this was just another marketing gimmick from this trusted brand and the voucher was just another trick to garner some fans and build up the metrics. And the decrement in fan base started to happen at a pace faster than what it had taken to build it up. Realizing the con, consumers started to quickly click “unlike X” and write negative comments about the brand openly on platforms like Facebook & Twitter. Not only X lost the chance to impress the new customers, it also lost the trust of loyal customers who had clicked on “like” because they had genuinely liked the brand. Fiasco, negative publicity and bad word of mouth far sooner than imagined by the brand!

X understood the harm done and decided to take some quick steps – they launched a better redemption store, better discounts and quick responses to all online grievances. But the fact remained that X’s customers were annoyed and the damage to the brand was already done.

And the status of fan count for both these brands as on today (almost 2 weeks after this promotion): While X is at a count of some 6k+ fans, Y is at a count of 1.06 lacs+ fans.

So, what would be quick takeaways w.r.to social media engagement from this case study?

  • Don’t jump into social media unnecessarily and that too without a proper thought through plan. A promotion which can work in other mediums may not work in this medium.
  • While social media is excellent for customer engagement but if things go wrong, it is an equally powerful medium for customer “disengagement”
  • You know that negative word of mouth on this medium spreads like fire! And why not, after all it’s in human nature to crib more than praise 🙂 ?
  • Don’t incentivize your customers as tool for engagement, empower them and give reasons in terms of products and services for them to be engaged in your brand.
  • Number of fans or followers is not just yet another marketing metrics which can be increased through some formulaic route; let it grow organically as much as possible. The more natural positive progression it will be, chances of your fan base following a stable track will be higher.

Note: Why am I not revealing the names of brand X & Y? Well, first of all if you have been following Indian e-commerce industry on social media then I’m sure it’s not difficult for you to guess the brands I’m talking about. Secondly, earlier I used to like this brand X and since X tried to correct its mistake very quickly in this case, so I thought not to openly mention their name and generate another negative page about them 🙂