Hurricane Sandy had me restless on Sunday night and early Monday morning. Finally I turned on the TV. Moments later I got the dreaded blasts from the Emergency Broadcast System that are usually followed by the promise that "This is only a test. If this were a real emergency, the blasts would be followed by a message." Only there was no message. No declaration of an emergency. No declaration of a test. Only silence after the blasts. Even my television programming was silenced. For a long time. I shut off the TV. I was still restless. I turned the TV back on. Within a few minutes of doing so, again, the dreaded blasts. Again, silence. Again, no sound on my television program. Call me Pavlov's pooch...but I tried again. Same result. Clearly the person conducting the test had fallen asleep mid-test or been abducted. So I picked up my smartphone and started reading Twitter.
That's when I saw it. A tweet from Time Warner, my cable company, @TWCable_Neast, about the emergency preparation they were taking for Hurricane Sandy. So, I sent them a tweet about the Emergency Broadcast System problem. They responded to my tweet quickly. About 10 minutes later sound came back to my television.
So, I don't know if my tweet alerted the Emergency Broadcast System to the problem or not. What I do know is that my cable company was responsive. Very responsive. I've watched their twitter stream over the past 2 days. It is well managed. It provides real-time response. It provides updates about outages and keeps followers informed as to what they are working on to respond to problems resulting from the hurricane.
Are you using Twitter to communicate to your customers? Or are you, like Time Warner, using Twitter to develop a dialogue with your customers? If you are communicating to them without responding to them when they communicate to you, you are diminishing your brand.
Hats off to Time Warner for a job well done in terms of optimizing the brand through social media (not to mention to the ongoing response to the outages caused by Sandy.)
If you need help optimizing your brand through social media, I know someone who would be great at helping you develop a strategy. Me! Check out my LinkedIn profile or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.