March 17, 2009

Twitter... Are You Missing The Boat?

If you tuned into The Apprentice Sunday, March 8, you would have watched the "boys and girls" come up with a new slogan for Zappos. The CEO of was the judge and selected the "gals" proposal. 
What stunned me, while watching the show, I happened to Tweet @zappos, and got a reply within 3 minutes. What I didn't realize at the time, that it was the CEO Tony Hsieh, sending me a message. 
Whats remarkable, here is a CEO of a $1B company, watching with the rest of us, probably his biggest marketing exposure (and expense) on national TV and he is on Twitter, tweeting to anyone that sends a message. 
How many CEO's of $1B companies do you know, that even know what a Tweet is, actually use it and are using it to their corporate advantage?
So are you missing the boat?
I became a fan of The Apprentice early on in the series. As a marketer I found it interesting to see so many promising young professional spread their marketing wings at the many tasks surrounding such high-end brands.

I saw the Celebrity Apprentice episode. I am struggling as a fan of the show with the Celebrity episodes as these individuals are not marketers and it is so painful to watch them fumble through fundamental marketing challenges.
I’ve seen Tony Hsieh, CEO of, featured many times before and find his business plan completely refreshing. It is no doubt that his emphasis on customer service and corporate culture is responsible for his huge success as a brand and, ultimately, their sales growth of 1.6M in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008. I did find, however, that the show was either edited poorly or the part he played in the “RFP” process was below par. He did not discuss the target consumer at all, rather, broad stroking it; and, although he did mention customer service, I do not feel he placed appropriate emphasis on this core competency given its direct relationship to their success. (Note: I am a loyal Zappos consumer because of their customer service.)
Many companies are looking for guidance with branding on Twitter. To begin with, they need to know how to use Twitter, what it’s all about, who should handle Twitter (marketing sales, PR,) who to follow, etc.
Then to the question: Should the CEO or business owner also have a Twitter profile? This is a great question and one that takes some time and thought. Good social media consultants will tell you that social media marketing requires a strategy – and it’s not necessarily the type of “boiler plate” marketing strategy companies may be used to.
This key question – should the CEO (and other key management) have a Twitter profile to be part of the social media strategy?
Tony Hsieh is a highly visible CEO on Twitter right now (his profile is CEO.) This strategy blends the brand. This is definitely a trend we’ll be seeing more of. Tony even posted a Beginner’s Guide that can be helpful to business owners and entrepreneurs:
It is important to know that while good personal branding involves self-promotion, there’s more to it. The social media world is all about “Give to Get” and engaging in two-way conversations. The value comes from not what you are doing; rather it comes from what you are thinking and sharing. It is about conversations and building relationships; not hard sell marketing, broadcasting or ego-driven tweets.

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