I just had one of those little Twitter moments which, when multiplied by tens of thousands each day, demonstrates the power of social media in general and Twitter in particular.
It started around 8:00 this morning here in Central Oregon. We’d been keeping our fingers crossed that the (ab)used refrigerator we bought when we moved to town would survive just a few weeks more, at which point the stars would align to allow us to delay the purchase indefinitely.
Alas, this morning when the bacon in the freezer was more limp than frozen it was painfully obvious our plan of inaction wasn’t going to work.
Springing to action, I did what any self-respecting social media aficionado would do: I complained on Twitter (this seemed preferable to telling my wife she needed to start looking for a refrigerator – mornings aren’t her best time).
In the next hour two things happened
The first occurred a couple miles down the road when someone placed this ad on the Bend Oregon Craigslist:
The second occurred moments later but 2,000 miles away in Illinois when my daughter-in-law checked her Twitter feed. She is, unlike me, a person of action and seeing my plight began searching Bend Craigslist for refrigerators, found the ad and Tweeted me back the link.
I checked the ad, passed the phone number along to my wife (I figured she’d consider a $50 fridge good news even before coffee) and less than an hour after my Twitter mini-rant and just 15 minutes after the seller posted the ad we had a new(er) refrigerator.
The sale of a used refrigerator is hardly earth shattering but, when you consider that Twitter enable tens of thousands of similar transactions daily, it’s a powerful argument for businesses to invest in social media and get over the excuse that they “just don’t get Twitter.”
So what can you learn from my experience? Consider this:
- You’re using Twitter whether you know it or not: Our seller may not have a Twitter account but it’s the reason she now has $50 instead of an old refrigerator.
- Local is about connections not geography: In a world where a woman in Illinois can facilitate the sale of a used refrigerator in Oregon, even truly local businesses can benefit from Twitter’s global presence.
- People are Tweeting about your product: Whatever you sell, there’s probably a conversation about it happening right now on Twitter (to my surprise “refrigerator” turns out to be a pretty popular topic). So it follows that:
- If they’re not Tweeting about you, they’re Tweeting about your competitor: Which means you’re about to lose a sale because you didn’t think someone halfway across the country (or halfway around the world) could possibly be important to your business.