3 Great Examples of using Twitter for Customer Service

I haven’t posted for a while due to training and other commitments but have been using a few examples in my sessions worth sharing.

Southern Electric @southernelec

Southern Electric's Twitter Account

One of the biggies for me with social media is that people are more likely to connect with people on social media, rather than faceless corporations and brands. This is particularly true in customer service.

The twitter team at Southern Electric uses the platform effectively for customer service, each day “opening for business” with a tweet and then tweeting replies to customer enquiries. Each team member signs their tweet with their first name and if the answer is complex or needs privacy, then the team answers via DM.

What I really rate about this account though is the simple but effective use of the twitter background. In this picture, team members are identified by photos, there are also details of how to further connect with Southern Electric and opening times for the twitter account.

Although Southern Electric’s follow numbers and tweets aren’t huge as the moment, I get the feeling they have the foundations of an effective twitter strategy for customer service.

Royal Mail @royalmail

Royal Mail on Twitter

I’ve been using Royal Mail’s twitter account as a good practice example in training since coming across it at a conference last autumn.

I’ve always felt that my postie represents the brand values and behaviours that the Royal Mail seeks to stands for. He is totally committed to the task of getting my mail to me, delivering in all weathers and is truly concerned that I get the packages he’s had to leave with neighbours when I’m out. The challenge for Royal Mail is how do you translate those brand values and behaviours to other parts of the business, including social media?

Rather than letting young interns, who allegedly know about social media, loose on the twitter account, the Royal Mail decided that the people who know customer service the best, are its customer service experts. Gaining customer service experience and knowing how to deal with people takes time, while learning twitter less so.

While the tweets aren’t attributed to people, the style is warm and friendly and consistent whoever is handling the enquiry. Like the Southern Electric account the “counter” opens and closes each day with a tweet.

Best Buy’s Twelpforce @ twelpforce

Twelpforce on twitter

So your technology store is busy some times, but there’s a lot of downtime for your sales staff. Why not turn them into customer service champions on twitter?

That’s exactly what Best Buy did and it still has to be one of the most effective and creative example of using twitter for customer service and enquiries. Over 3000 of its employees manage the account offering support and advice on tech and electric appliances.

Check out more on twelpforce here.

Have you seen any great examples of customer service on Twitter? Let me know either via comments on @simonbadman


Pinterest and ebay a perfect match?

I’d love to say that I thought of it first, but someone’s beaten me to it. Yes my thought was original but others have got there first and are actually linking Pinterest photos to their ebay sales. The issue of how you get most exposure for you ebay sales is being tackled creatively through the rapidly growing social media platform.

Ebay Chair on Pinterest

There’s a strong likelihood that if people are following your boards because they like your style and taste, then they might like your unwanted stuff too and want to buy it.

Whether it’s clothes, cars or gadgets Pinterest seems to bring out the “I want one” in us, as we pin or repin items of desire onto our boards. Brands are already getting wise to this and are following and engaging pinners who pin their products.

Many pinners are adding items they find on ebay to their boards, but there’s also an emerging group using “word of pin marketing” for their ebay sales. Chicago artist Tom Fedro has been the best example of this I’ve found so far, for his amazing artwork:

Tom Fedro's Pinterest Gallery

While Tom’s ebay store sells his new, unique art maybe next time you’re clearing your attic or having a yard sale both ebay and Pinterest should figure in your thinking. If you find any pinners using Pinterest and ebay creatively let me know.

5 Articles on Brand and Pinterest Good Practice

Boden on Pinterest

So what are the brands to watch on Pinterest, those being creative, pinning effectively and making the most of word-of-pin marketing opportunities?

Here are 5 articles which explore brand good practice on Pinterest:

Have you seen any brands using Pinterest effectively? Let me know via the comments below.

5 articles on how brands can use Pinterest


Pinterest is gaining a lot of attention from writers working out how brands can make the most of this fast-growing social media network. Here are five articles that I’ve found useful:

Have you found an article on Pinterest and how brands can use it that should be added to the list? Let me know or provide details in the comments below.

Charities and Pinterest – making the most of “word-of-pin” marketing

Charities and not-for-profits should be seriously considering Pinterest, the rapidly growing social media platform as a channel for their communications. As with many brands, members of Pinterest are already pinning charity-related pins in their profiles.

Joe Waters has some great thoughts on causes and pinterest use in his recent post and there’s a good guide on how to set up your nonprofit account from Nonprofit Tech 2.0But what happening already on Pinterest and how do charities make the most of it?

Charities I Love

Take Oxfam for example, where Pinners have posted a mixture of products, images and campaign logos related to the charity and its work on Pinterest. The names of folders in which they’ve posted show their strong brand advocacy, including titles such as “Causes worth fighting for” and “Charities I Love”.

Oxfam Christmas 2011 Campaign

Although Oxfam isn’t on Pinterest as yet, its supporters, fans and brand advocates are, sharing graphics from new campaigns with pinners, receiving likes and repins in return. On Pinterest “word-of-mouth” marketing becomes “word-of-pin”, as members like or repin images out to their Pinterest audiences.

And it’s not just Oxfam supporters promoting their good cause through word-of pin marketing. Unicef, Save the Children and other good causes are getting great pins, and therefore promotion on Pinterest, but without having a presence on the network.

Think visual,  link and engage

Charities have amazing stories of change and transformation to tell, many of which are very visual. Imagine those visuals being pinned, linked to campaigns and fundraising asks, and then being repined and liked by their supporters out to wider Pinterest audiences. There certainly could be a huge potential to create new supporters and donors through this word-of-pin marketing.

Charities should also promote their gifts on Pinterest, ranging from the “buy a goat for Africa” through to goods made through social enterprises, such as carved items and clothing. My simple trial this week was to pin some clothing items to my newly created “Ethical Style” board. The Two Too hoodie and scarf (Two Too donate a scarf to a homeless person for every clothing item bought) I pinned got repins and a like almost immediately.

Toms Shoes on Pinterest

Speaking of ethical style, its encouraging to see that Toms Shoes has a presence on the network and is starting to engage with pinners, as members pin photos of their Toms Shoes to their boards.

BTW I’m really pleased to see that YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is already a Pinterest pioneer for causes and the first YMCA on the network. 

Pinterest – should brands pin-it to win-it?


At the end of 2011 a new social media network was grabbing headlines. In a very short space of time Pinterest  had over 11 million members and had broken into Hitwise’s top ten social media sites.

The proposition Pinterest offers is simple and addictive. Find images you like (either from the web or via upload) and post them to “boards” you create in your profile. You can also repin and/or like other images (pins) that other users have posted. Whether you are pinning inspirational interior design ideas or coveted classic cars, Pinterest has many like-minded members also pinning and repinning images to their boards. You can also choose to follow a person, or just their individual boards.

Any Pinterest for Brands? 

So it’s good fun, but does it have anything to offer for brands?

Boden on Pinterest

Well, there’s a great article from Mashable last week, showing how brands are already using the new platform. Many brands as diverse as Boden and Trinity House have started pinning. So should your brand follow these Pinterest pioneers?

Here are some fundamental questions and initial thoughts on Pinterest:

  • Why would we get involved in another social media platform, especially such a newbie?
    The tremendous speed in which Pinterest has grown, the Hitwise usage stats and the fact that some social media jobs are already asking for Pinterest skills and expertise, suggest that it’s not going to disappear overnight. Also don’t forget the adage that you don’t own your brand any more, especially in social media, this is also true with Pinterest. Pinners are no doubt posting photos of your products and commenting on Pinterest, even if you don’t yet have a presence on the network.
  • What content do we have that’s visual and worth sharing?
    Every organisation usually has visual content worth sharing, sometimes its a matter of thinking outside of the box. Mashable is a great example, with its boards ranging from their amazing infographics to photos of new technology. They also repin cool gadgets they find pinned by other users and elsewhere and from the web.
  • Will the content lead to greater awareness, brand advocacy, sales etc?
    Brand awareness and advocacy “yes” as its already happening. Increased sales, well that’s still the big question, but the signs are good with users already linking to products in their boards for wish and wedding lists and Pinterest already providing a “gift” tab with price-range search functionality.

While Pinterest is still in its early days, it’s interesting to see the potential that brands could have in having a presence on this network. Try a search for many brands and you’ll no doubt find that the pinning of its products has already started, it’s now time for the brand to start pinning themselves.