Five Ways Your Company Can Benefit from Twitter

Yesterday morning, I presented my company’s experience with social media at an event sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Business. I presented three social media examples: (1) blogging, (2) twitter, and (3) user-generated product reviews.

You can click on the slide show above to see the slide deck I used. This is essentially an excerpt from my Social Media 101 half-day seminar. Please note that my slides are a complement to my talk and were not intended to be a stand-alone presentation.

In preparation for my talk, last week I asked my Twitter followers to tell me how my use of social media has changed their perception of my company, Thomas Nelson Publishers. I received more than one hundred responses, including numerous direct messages and some rather lengthy emails. All but one were positive.

As you might expect, there were recurring themes. As I sifted through the responses over the weekend, I catalogued five specific ways Twitter has positively impacted our brand image.

  1. Visibility. Our use of social media has raised the visibility of Thomas Nelson in the marketplace. I had several tweets from people who said they had never heard of our company until they started following me or one of my colleagues on Twitter.

    A Tweet About Visibility

  2. Personality. Generation X and Y have a fundamental distrust of institutions. They connect with people rather than organizations. Our use of social media has put a “face” on our company and made us more real and personable.

    A Tweet About Personality

  3. Connectivity. People don’t often connect with publishers. In fact, they rarely know who published their favorite books. However, social media have enabled us to connect with our customers in a way that makes them feel like they are a part of what we are doing—and they are.

    A Tweet About Connectivity

  4. Loyalty. Connectivity is good. Loyalty is even better. Many people responded that they actively seek out our products as a result of connecting with us on social media. This is something I never thought I would hear customers say about a publisher.

    A Tweet About Loyalty

  5. Leadership. Finally, our use of social media has positioned our company as a leader in our business segment. While many companies are sitting on the sidelines in fear, we have jumped in with both feet. We’ve certainly made our share of mistakes, but, regardless, people perceive this as leadership.

    A Tweet About Leadership

There are other benefits, but I think these are the major ones we have experienced. Perhaps these will help you sell the powers-that-be on why your company should get off the sidelines and jump into social media.

Question: If your organization is using social media to engage its constituents, what benefits have you seen?
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  • http://twitter.com/BLichtenwalner @BLichtenwalner

    Great points and nice presentation.

    Under the category of connectivity, I view Twitter as a good platform for listening and measuring the pulse of the eChannel. I run Tweetdeck and regularly update on key product and brand names allowing me to see what the sentiment is online and their reactions to any messaging and news.

    Personally, your tweets and Blog broadened my understanding of the credibility publishers lend to their products. I now look for the TN name on my books.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I use Twitter as a monitoring station, too. It is a great place to see what people are saying about your brand.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

        I also use Monitter http://www.monitter.com/ as a listening tool, plus I run searches on Seesmic daily and i track hashtags. i have clients, campaigns, projects that I need to track.

  • http://twitter.com/timdetellis @timdetellis

    Our top 3 benefits with Twitter are: 1. listening to our donors. 2. sharing real-time news. 3. breaking through the clutter Your comment about personality and connection with people vs organization is powerful. Fact: a brand is a promise (source: Stan Richards) which is made up of a personality, like a real person. Therefore, companies must be represented by a living "passionate" human to stay alive in today's marketplace. Twitter helps in that effort.

  • http://twitter.com/AndreaAresca @AndreaAresca

    Do you think there can be a benefit also to a small-medium company working in a B2B environment where no final customer will never see our brand?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, because your B2B customers are real people and will respond for all the reasons I articulated above.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

      the B2B folks often need more help to understand why it it important-sometimes they may not get it.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Very cool. A "culture of experimentation" – I love that.

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  • http://www.mcglothlinfam.blogspot.com Brooke McGlothlin

    How do you see this working for a local non-profit? It seems to me that it would differ slightly because we are looking to build mostly localized relationships.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I would not underestimate the power of Twitter for local use. My daughter is the development director of a local, non-profit. She uses Twitter extensively and with good results.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

        for me the key is building relationships in your industry and new ones from outside as well…10 years ago, I had Excel sheets with hundreds of contacts and rolodex's that I don't have anymore. In one year, I've met key folks through Twitter that have changed the game for me forever.

  • http://thelmabowlen.com Thelma Bowlen

    Thomas Nelson used to be on the fringe of my awareness. I've converted to "fandom" since connecting on Twitter.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

      not only am i a fan, i also read a lot of their authors

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    I've been looking forward to seeing this post. After the comments I made via email last week, I've been interested to see how others feel about Thomas Nelson due to your social media use.

    I would be very interested in seeing a post on why the publisher of a book should have a bearing on whether we buy the book or not.

    As I see it there are three aspects to look at: Subject Matter, Author and Publisher.

    To me, the publisher is irrelevant, it's a guy with a big printing press. Is there anything more to it? What am I missing?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Peter, your comment last week was the only negative one I received. (And by the way, I received it positively. It was actually quite helpful.)

      Two years ago, I also thought the publisher was irrelevant, except in some niche markets. I still think it is mostly true. However, this is the exciting possibility about social media for me. When people connect to real people, they connect to their causes and interests. When people trust an individual (which is what brand loyalty is all about), they transfer that trust to that person's organization or company.

      P.S. Just for the record, publishers and printers are two different entities in the supply chain. I only know of two publishers in the U.S. who own their own printing presses.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

        Thanks, Michael.

        Trust me to be the only negative one! :-)

        Interesting what you say about transference of trust. Thinking about it, I would say that is definitely true for me in other industries. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson are all people I 'trust' and thus I trust their companies but that sentiment has not yet started to apply to the publishing industry for me. I wonder why not?

        I wonder if maybe it is because the publishers name is not featured prominently enough?

        Would I feel differently if the banner text on the book cover read "THOMAS NELSON PRESENTS:" or something similar. I wonder.

        Thank you for being open about all of this stuff, Mike. I enjoy the challenging thoughts and interaction.

        P.S. Fascinating about the presses. I wonder if I'm the only one who's so out of touch with what a publisher is and does?

  • http://twitter.com/hunterbaker @hunterbaker

    That was fantastic. What a great slide show to demonstrate the value of social marketing. I'm also impressed by slideshare! Terrific.

    And a side benefit, I suspect you have convinced a number of authors, like me, to think that publishing with Thomas Nelson might represent getting an edge on the future.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

      I agree, I see Thomas Nelson's use of Social Media convincing authors that they are the company to get published through!

  • http://www.andyblanks.com andy

    This is a great post, Michael. Not just the content but the presentation. What a great, practical way to demonstrate to organizations the benefits of embracing existing social networking avenues to increase brand development.

    BTW, I noticed you didn’t include any ChristianChirp feeds. What’s up with that? (Hee-hee)

  • http://twitter.com/mikieDee1 @mikieDee1

    Michael – I'm just a new-bee in the world of Twitterdom, so thanks for all your intriguing posts and insight! Any links/blogs/people who are making a difference in a Church environment using Twitter? I did see the recent article in USA Today about internet pastors (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/hotsites/2009-11-02-… – very interesting.

    Many thanks…

  • http://twitter.com/matt_mccomas @matt_mccomas

    Love this post…especially as we turn our large ship (Campus Crusade for Christ) to see value in Social Media. Great to have a a look at a real-life scenario and it's results.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      My father-in-law, Col. Sid Bruce, used to run the Military Ministry for Campus Crusade. I have a special place in my heart for them.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    Taking up on Campus Crusade for Christ–way back in 1973, I was considering going on staff. While I finally didn't head that way, the growth that I experienced in this ministry while a student at Ohio State became part of the foundation of my relationship with God. Needless to say, I also have a special place in my heart for them.

    As far as I can see, Twitter (and other social media) can be individualized to suit many different purposes. I see it as a tremendous opportunity to share God's absolute love with the world. Who knows how many people read the words, God's absolute love–perfect, complete, and real, and then feel the tug of hope? There is so much potential in the social media.

  • Tvider

    Thank You very much.Really a very good Slideshare Presentation and a great post.

  • Dion_Govender

    Great post and fantastic presentation. I love that TN is open to a “culture of experimentation”, it points to strong leadership and desire for growth. It’s always a hard step to break away from doing things the way you’ve always done it, to trying a different approach. It’s a great way to grow people not just organizations.

  • http://gladwellmusau.wordpress.com Gladwell Musau

    Thanks to you, and all the great information on your blog, I started mine about three weeks ago. Thanks for the good work and advice…I will keep coming for more.

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  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    I have really grown to appreciate and respect Thomas Nelson more thru your blog and twitter, Michael. Well done. Question: In your experience, is it good to have a corporate company blog or just a CEO blog? My organization has both, but the former is underutilized and could be (I think) a strong piece of marketing collateral for us. What has experience taught you with this? When I read Good to Great, it seemed to me that the truly great companies were intentional about not building the integrity of their company around a single person. How do you leverage the influence you have, while still doing that at Thomas Nelson?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

      That's a great question…i'm gonna have to subscribe to the comments on this post…

  • http://theincarnate.blogspot.com Matt Stephens

    Great insights. Thanks!

    Speaking of feedback, one way to score huge points with e-book customers such as myself is to keep offering $$$deals$$$ like the major sale on the Word Commentary series for Logos a few months back. I'm still waiting for another opportunity to take advantage of it, since I missed the last one. :-)

  • http://www.siliconcloud.com Naylla Kassam

    Extremely helpful! The truth of the matter is that its easier to come up with excuses rather than actually do the work or learn the unknow. http://bit.ly/GG542

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  • http://www.nowsharethisblog.com John Nemo

    Michael, I think point #5 is the key to it all. While other competitors were sitting on the sidelines in fear, you guys jumped in with both feet and weren’t afraid to fail forward. And I’m betting whatever mistakes/missteps you might have made early on with your Twitter experience have more than been made up for by the insane amount of positives that the experiment has brought Thomas Nelson. Great list, great Blog, great Tweets – you have Social Media figured out my friend!

  • http://twitter.com/CREDITedit @CREDITedit

    Our Credit Repair Service at http://www.MyCreditEdit.com has just started using Twitter. Any suggestions?

  • Andrew Brotherton

    It does actively make me look for the Thomas Nelson logo on books knowing the faces behind Thomas Nelson and the individual stories. Also the use of Social Media by the authors at Thomas Nelson makes the purchases much more personal and much more meaningful because it shows the ethos of the authors and makes them much more genuine and when you are looking for books about faith, or serious matters ethos is everything.

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  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Have had a twitter account for years. Haven’t used it much. But going to jump in stronger. Looking forward to logging in some successes using it for our brand (soon to be). My favorite part of this post is: ” Connectivity is good. Loyalty is even better.”

    Thanks for the post!

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