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Tweeting Without Fear

13 Aralık 2011 , Salı 17:46
Tweeting Without Fear

Whole Foods
The upscale grocer has put its Twitter account, @WholeFoods, in the hands of a single employee, Michael Bepko, its global online community manager. Mr. Bepko says he spends about a third of his day on Twitter, monitoring mentions of Whole Foods, tackling shoppers' questions and posting recipes.
"They're easy, they're delicious...serve a roast with the most!" he tweeted recently along with a link to a recipe for Italian pot roast.
Whole Foods launched its Twitter account in June 2008 and now has more than 2.1 million followers. Mr. Bepko, who took the reins about a year ago, says his goal is broader engagement with customers. Many of the chain's stores now have separate accounts to answer local questions. In November, Whole Foods began a weekly Twitter chat, for an hour every Thursday, to discuss topics such as holiday menu planning, with its followers.
Mr. Bepko says he spends about 90% of his time talking to individual shoppers. Most of their inquiries are basic, such as when a Whole Foods will come to their neighborhood. Others, he says, require more research. Occasionally a customer will make an unusual complaint, about a dog outside a store, for example, or a bug in a bag of salad.

"Sorry to hear about this. Did you mention it to the store where the salad was purchased?" he replied to the bug complaint.
Mr. Bepko checks the company's Twitter feed many times a day. "The online community doesn't recognize office hours—nor should they," he says. If a questioner has a request on Friday evening, "waiting until Monday is just not good enough."

Best Buy
The electronics retailer has employed an army of associates to handle its various Twitter feeds. The main account, @BestBuy, sends its own tweets but also incorporates some from its more-specialized handles, such as @BestBuy_Deals, @GeekSquad and @BBYNews.
The Twitter arm of Best Buy's help desk, which publishes under the handle @Twelpforce, exemplifies the company's more-is-more approach to the medium. Tweets to the desk are answered by one of the roughly 3,000 Best Buy employees who have signed up for the task since the handle was launched two years ago, according to Gina Debogovich, who oversees U.S. social-media activity for Best Buy.

Having a range of workers participate lets the company tap many areas of expertise, Ms. Debogovich says. Questions tend to be about items a customer is interested in purchasing. "There is no right answer often," she says.
To be part of @Twelpforce and other social-media outlets, Best Buy requires employees to enroll via a website that verifies their employment status and lays out terms and conditions. The company uses an internal video and its publicly available social-media policy, which prohibits such things as sharing nonpublic financial data and customers' personal information, to explain what it calls its healthy usage guidelines to the @Twelpforce participants.
"Remember, your responsibility to Best Buy doesn't end when you are off the clock," the policy says.
Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, tweets from his own handle, @BBYCEO. His musings range from sports topics to support for veterans. Sometimes customers use his account for complaints.

A customer recently tweeted Mr. Dunn to complain about the customer service at Store #310. He replied the same day with his personal email address and a request that the tweeter send him contact information. "We will be in touch. I want us to make it better," he tweeted.




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