Personal Branding with Twitter: Success Stories
We’ve talked about the importance of Twitter for personal branding in depth. Today, I’m going to share three success stories—companies and individuals that have used Twitter to effectively build their brand.
1) Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. Zappos was a very early adapter of Twitter, and as a result has built a very strong presence. CEO Tony Hsieh, in particular, has used his twitter account (http://twitter.com/zappos) to infuse his personality into his business. Contrary to the approach that many businesspeople take with Twitter, Hsieh isn’t hesitant to tweet about personal thoughts, opinions and activities that may have nothing to do with his business. Rather than approaching Twitter as a giant billboard to advertise for Zappos, Hsieh uses it primarily to express his personality and connect with his followers. When he does tweet about his business, he doesn’t make a sales pitch. Rather, he shares interesting background details with his followers, or invites them to suggest improvements to various facets of his company. As a result, followers stay engaged because Hsieh isn’t simply trying to sell them products. In the long term, this results in customers with a strong connection to both Zappos and Tony Hsieh—and that is personal branding at its best.
2) Comcast’s Bill Gerth. Comcast was another early adapter of Twitter, but they took a very different approach than Zappos. In order to counter the perception that they were out of touch with their subscribers, Comcast created a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/comcastcares) specifically to help out frustrated customers. In order to add personality to the account, Comcast assigned employee Bill Gerth to be the face of the operation. This allowed followers to develop a personal connection—subtly countering the notion that Comcast is a large, bureaucratic, inhuman corporation. Their customer service team uses the page to assist customers that are having issues— technical, billing, or others. A glance at their page reveals a steady stream of correspondence with customers, immediately conveying that Comcast is dedicated to satisfying their customers. Their Twitter presence serves two purposes—first, it’s an efficient way to provide customer support; and second, it presents Comcast as a customer centered company that truly cares.
3)Southwest’s Christi Day. Southwest has been on Twitter since 2007 and has built a dynamic presence. Run by employee Christi Day, Southwest uses their profile (http://twitter.com/SouthwestAir) for a variety of functions, but all have brand-building as their central purpose. Common tweets include correspondence with travelers experiencing problems (a tweet earlier this week to a delayed flier read “I’m so sorry for the delay tonight. Hopefully we’ll get everyone outta there soon, hang in there!”) as well as announcements, information and contests. This month, Southwest is holding a “12 days of LUV” contest in which they are offering 12 $1,000 Southwest gift cards to contest winners. The contest asks followers to participate in various challenges, such as dressing their pet festively for the holidays. Participants send pictures, and the winner is announced via Twitter. These interactions paint a picture of Southwest as an engaged, fun-loving and customer oriented airline—branding at its finest.
You may not own a Fortune-500 company, but there is nothing stopping you from building a strong personal brand through Twitter. The companies we covered above found great approaches that work for them—what will your approach be?