How Jonathan Ross helped me see the business value of Twitter

By Linda Cheung

Twitter fan, Jonathan RossIf you’re hesitant about using social media for business, don’t worry: I was too.

When I left Morgan Stanley to start my own business I knew it was important to embrace “Net Generation” tools, but social media felt like something I needed, rather than wanted to do.

Now I’m a huge fan and leading a start-up that provides software for professionals to win business through social media.

When I recently explained my journey from cynic to convert to Michael Tinmouth of Entrepreneur Country, he was surprised that I mentioned Jonathan Ross as a reason, and suggested that I repeat my story here…

Customer Engagement

When I first joined Twitter I thought to lurk and learn. Jonathan Ross (@Wossy) was one of the first people I followed because he frequently mentioned Twitter on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and it was widely accepted that he, not a PR company, was tweeting. Reading @Wossy’s tweets I realised how brilliantly he was engaging with his clients (audience) and how great Twitter would be for business.

It was an open secret that Friday Night with… was filmed on Thursdays. Before each show @Wossy would tweet about the celebrities he was about to meet and share informal photos taken on the set. In other words: @Wossy was reminding his clients about his product (his show), keeping them updated on the latest features (this week’s guests), influencing them to buy (watch) and increasing his sales (audience ratings). Clever!

Customer Research

Once I’d noticed this, it was difficult not to notice @Wossy was also using Twitter for focus groups and research – ahead of his Radio 2 shows @Wossy would tweet playlist themes and ask for suggestions, e.g. first single, desert island disc, favourite song from the 80s, etc. Followers would promptly send in their suggestions hoping for a mention on the next show. What might have taken hours could be created in minutes – with @Wossy knowing that his clients would approve of the service he would provide.

Customer Care

As with all great business, clients felt special – they were getting services they wanted and special insights, with loyalty rewards in the form of Radio 2 mentions, or in the case of the British Comedy Awards, private jokes that only they, as followers, would be privy too (@Wossy would tweet asking for sound bites that he’d have to mention during the Awards, later announcing on Twitter his choice and who suggested it). So not only clever, but great customer service, with high client retention and advocacy potential.

Quoting Michael, “once you put it like that, it’s obvious”! Smile

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