“Erm so how do we do customer service on Twitter? I hear Dell do it and so do Comcast and BT so now I want in!”
“OK but we have looked into it and very few of your customers actually use twitter, they are mostly found on Facebook and in fact they are already actively complaining on your fan page, maybe you should talk to them there?”
“But we want our fan page to be about our campaigns and competitions and stuff, not a customer service channel, we want twitter to do that, can’t we signpost them to twitter?”
“What if they don’t use twitter?”
“Well can’t they sign up?”
“doesn’t this seem mildly absurd? Why not engage with the community where it exists already?”
“because in our social media strategy it says twitter is for customer service!”
The above is fictional but I have had real conversations with real people like this in the past. Really there are 2 key points: 1) Your customers don’t care about your social strategy, they go where they want and use the channels and tools how they want to! 2) Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Foursquare, YouTube etc. Are all just tools. They are things that help us to connect with others around us more easily. The tools will change with time and by brand, twitter won’t work for some brands like Facebook won’t work for others.
So don’t focus on the tools focus on your customers, go where they go and engage them on their terms not yours, and wherever you go and talk make sure you make it a great customer experience, or they won’t bother talking to you or listening to you again, but you can bet they will tell all their friends how much you suck.