I’ve blogged in the past about the good new web marketing, i.e. how many startups follow mentions of their companies on blogs, respond in those blogs and engage the bloggers. I really like the personal touch, even if I don’t care much for the application or don’t even use it.
Twitter has added a new dimension to this approach. Many Twitter junkies, like yours truly, run Adobe AIR Twitter clients to stay in touch with the Twitterverse. Not surprisingly, the makers of these clients and other Twitter-related services use Twitter as a support and feedback channel. For example, if you use Twhirl, make sure to follow @twhirl and tweet your compliments, complaints and feedback directly to them.
If you forget, don’t worry, they’ll find you if you tweet about twhirl. For example, after upgrading to the 0.7 release, I found all my settings were erased, a minor annoyance that I tweeted.
Twhirl responded soon after my tweet pointing to a point release (0.7.1) that fixed the issues.
Very cool. From following tweets of other people, I have seen that the producers of other AIR clients also use Twitter for support. Other ancillary services, like Tweet Scan, which allows you to search tweets in real-time, or Tweetpeek, a Twitter aggregator, also do Twitter-support. Natch, right?
So, earlier this week, I’m trying out my brand-spanking-new socialthing invite; it’s another social app aggregator, a la FriendFeed. Anyway, I tweeted about it:
Imagine my surprise when I got a reply from @socialthing in my tweet stream. I wasn’t following @socialthing, but they’re using Twitter as a proactive support tool, an excellent way to build up good will for your application.
So now, I use Twitter for support, both directly with the producers of applications I use and to gather information from my network. It’s morphing into a very useful support and advice resource. It’s time to update my steps on the path of least resistance. The updated steps are:
- Ask the people nearby: over the cube wall, in the hallway, kitchen, rest room, break room, wherever.
- Ask Twitter.
- Ask the Interwebs, probably using Google.
- Ask the “official” support people, maybe IT, maybe Oracle support.
- Read the documentation.
I ask Twitter before Google because my network of tweeters are people I trust and whose opinion I respect. So maybe Twitter is the new social search tool?
Anyway, kudos to companies who use Twitter to provide support, and kudos to companies that comb the Interwebs looking for blogs about their product.
The lesson here for me is, people are listening, so be nice and be fair.
Update: Dan Norris blogged an example of step 2 above between tweeters back in January. Twitter has a very geeky population, so ad hoc support and how to questions are pretty quickly answered by its user population.