Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Twittering on

Now that Catalogue e-business has jumped on the Twitter bandwagon (twitter.com/catalogbiz), I've been checking out how some multichannel marketers are using the channel.

A number of retailers simply use their Twitter feeds to advertise their promotions and offerings. Lingerie etailer Figleaves, for instance, touts the addition of womenswear, menswear, and children's apparel to its product line and asks readers to vote for it in the Prima Fashion Awards. It also contributed this intriguing post: "Getting in some training for our attempt at breaking the world record for most bras unclasped in one minute!"

Upscale fashion etailer Net-a-Porter.com dresses up its promos with fashion advice ("For office cool, we're giving our peg leg pants an urban edge with a tucked in tank!"). Jackson's Art goes one better and links to artists it (or at least Julie Caves, who runs the feed) likes and quirky articles.

The best feeds make the most of Twitter by encouraging a dialogue with readers. For years lots of lip service has been paid to communicating directly and personally with customers and prospects; Twitter enables it, easily and quickly, and that may be its greatest value to merchants.

Gadgets marketer Firebox, for one, understands this: Its posts in response to reader queries and comments far outweigh its self-promotional posts. (Firebox also won me over by posting a link to Cake Wrecks, a blog that posts photos of... well, see for yourself.)

In short, companies that view Twitter only as a means of pushing out their message are missing out. Doing so is like going to a Michelin-starred restaurant and ordering only a cheese toastie.--SC

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