While catching up on Twitter this morning I felt the sudden urge to jump on a plane straight to New York City after reading Stephen Fry’s tweet about how it is snowing on Fifth Avenue. I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be at the moment than standing wrapped up warm on fifth avenue with snow flakes falling around me. Heavenly. So, I tweeted something along those lines. Within four minutes Dee of the New York Tours twitter account was following me.
There are many instances now of people tweeting a brand name or term and immediately receiving a follow from those companies, or other folks that have something to do with that (I had a similar experience just before my holiday to Mexico a few months back when I tweeted about going scuba diving, and suddenly the Scuba Society were following me).
These are the smart companies. They know what terms to look out for, they listen to the chatter and then they spot opportunities to respond. Dee of New York Tours is now listening in on my tweets to see if I will indeed visit NYC and therefore if they will be able to sell me a tour, or perhaps make a recommendation that will then make her company ‘useful’ to me. Other companies (Comcast being a great example of this), listen in to see if their customers are experiencing difficulties and complaining about their products/brand on Twitter so that they can quickly step in, provide customer service, and ultimately receive a big thumbs up from the tweeter for their responsiveness thus boosting the brand’s reputation and averting a crisis (Comcast are well experienced at the crisis potential of new media after the video posted on YouTube of their technician asleep on a customer’s sofa).
So, I asked the Twittersphere this morning if there is an application yet available that automatically sets your Twitter account to start following people who tweet a particular term that you specify. It seems there is (I suspected as much). I’ve been pointed in the direction of Twollow (many thanks @equaliser), a very simple service that allows you (on their free account) to specify up to five terms that, when tweeted by someone, will spark an immediate follow from your account. I’m going to give this a go and will report back on just how useful I think it is.