Posts Tagged ‘Twellow’

Your members are talking. Are you listening?

July 1, 2008

I’ve had the pleasure of delivering World 2.0 workshops to both the New York State Credit Union League, and the Georgia Marketing Council. In both of these workshops, one of the things we covered is the new communication service called Twitter. I’m sure that attendees never dreamed when coming to the workshop that they would sign up and learn about something called “Twitter”. Right now, there are between 350,000 and 700,000 people using it (accurate figures are difficult to get). Many of these people are artists, solopreneurs, bloggers, social media gurus, and Gen Yers, but more and more people are discovering this service every day. If you’re not yet familiar with twitter, it’s like an open instant messaging service. It’s a quick and convenient way to connect with old and new friends online. It’s easy to make new friends, and now, using Twellow, to find other people all over the world who share a common interest with you.

What does this have to do with credit unions and marketing, you may ask? Twitter is akin to an always-on, free focus group. If you follow your members on Twitter, you can get an open look at the issues that are relevant to them. This morning, I read my twitter stream as someone I followed, “Pistachio,” expressed her extreme dissatisfaction with Bank of America. Here are her tweets:

Pistachio 6/30 11:18 pm Bank of America’s check-clearing policies are predatory and should be investigated by congress. They get your money right away and sit on it

A friend replied 7/1 8:32 am: How long do they hold the check?

Pistachio 7/1 10:25 am BOA routinely holds checks 5-10 days w/very shaky “reasons,” often not telling you @deposit. they collect hundreds in “overdraft”

a different friend replied 7/1 10:49 am: i think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bank that doesn’t. try calling your mgr to get the hold removed; they usually will.

Pistachio 7/1 11:22 am Citizens’ holds are a fraction of BOAs. Thanks for tip, will call. Think I’m SOL once hold is on, from past exp. I should’ve asked

Pistachio 7/1 11:39 am You know, I’m actually not kidding that Bank of America should be investigated. They’ve crossed a line from crap customer service to abusive

Pistachio 7/1 11:39 And YES, I’m well on my way to moving all my accounts away from them.

These “tweets” elicited at least a couple of responses from her friends. More importantly, Pistachio is highly connected, and has 4,375 followers. Yes, you read that correctly, she has four thousand, three hundred seventy-five people who are reading what she types.

Now I’m guessing that there are currently no credit union marketing professionals “following” Pistachio. Fortunately I am, and am also friends with several credit union marketing professionals in the Greater Boston area. I tweeted a response to her, with the name of a credit union where a friend of mine works, and I also tweeted that that credit union offers EverythingCU.com’s Online Switch Kit, a product which makes it easy for new members to switch their account from their previous financial institution to the credit union.

Impact: If this frustrated Bank of America customer has a good experience joining a credit union, and “twitters” her relief from the outrageous fees and outlandish check hold policies, the marketing/new business impact is LARGE. Four thousand of her friends and colleagues will know about it. This is more valuable than sending postcards to 4000 people for three main reasons: She is a trusted friend to her followers, and anything she tweets on the subject is not coming from someone who is trying to sell something. Also, the pass-along value is much greater since it’s easier to “re-tweet” a message to others than it is to share a postcard with your neighbor. Also, the cost to tweet with your members is only your time, whereas the cost to supervise, design, print and mail 4000 postcards would be around $5000 or more.

Take Action: Monitor your credit union’s name using Google Alerts, and search in Summize, but also monitor your competition’s name (and the word ‘bank’), watching for those disgruntled bank customers who are just begging for the fresh alternative that your credit union provides.

Rev up your Twitter bio; Twellow is here

June 30, 2008

Twello.comI learned today, from a Facebook group about Twitter, of a site launched on June 24, 2008, called Twellow. Twellow is named for “Twitter Yellow Pages.” It’s a searchable directory of Twitterers, aka Twits, aka people who use Twitter.

I was interested in this new web site because just recently someone said that a twitterer version of Alltop.com ought to be created. Lo and behold, a few days later, here it is in the form of Twellow. I scanned the main categories and they looked like a typical yellow pages. There was no category on the home page for ‘finance’, and none for ‘social media.’ So I really didn’t give it a second thought. However, some of my twitter friends (CUWarrior and Christopher Stevenson) were more thoughtful, and plugged ‘credit union’ into the search field to see the results. The results showed 15 credit union twitterers. By default, people are shown in descending order by the number of followers. At the time of this writing, the Top 10 results were: @CUWarrior, @TonyMannor, @weatherchaos, @RobWright, @CreativeBrand, @Clint_Williams, @mfagala, @markiev33, @Kent_CULifer, and @BenJoeM.

I took at look at who was being listed, and have deduced some of the ways in which the site works to list people.

Up until now, the only real purpose of your Twitter bio (limited to 160 characters), was to be interesting. If someone was interested in being your Twitter friend, their decision might be influenced by your bio. But if Twellow takes off in popularity (Mashable calls Twellow the people directory that Twitter itself ought to have built. Review hat tip: Ginny Brady), then your Twitter bio becomes much more important.

Twellow uses your twitter bio to categorize you.

Suddenly a creative bio is much less attractive than a straightforward bio if you are interested in being listed “well” in this directory. Each of the 15 people on the search results for ‘credit union’ had (surprise, surprise) the word “credit union” in their bio. This prompted Tim McAlpine to question why he wasn’t on the list. The answer is that right now Twellow is DUMB when it comes to singular vs. plural. Searching for “credit unions” yields a different list of five people than “credit union”, and includes Tim. We’ll see how long Twellow remains “dumb” in this way.

One last point about how Twellow categorizes people: Twellow has an algorithm that puts you into certain categories based on the keywords in your twitter bio. This is different than the simple and straightforward search (i.e. searching “credit union” yields the results of those who have “credit union” in their bio.) Keywords have been sorted, so that the word “CEO” in your bio puts you into three categories: Management, Management -> Executives, and Management -> Executives -> CEOs. Check out the categories that other people have been put in, and examine their bios to deduce what keywords have put them there.

I have updated my twitter bio armed with this new information. I am wondering how long it will take for Twellow to re-index me. I’m guessing I’ll be waiting for a re-index longer than it takes the Twellow programmers to get “smart” about singulars vs. plurals.

***Update 11:50 pm***
@William Azaroff cracked the code after reading this post, of how to get Twellow to re-index you after you change your Twitter bio. Once you’ve changed your Twitter bio, go to the Twellow page Get Listed, and submit your twitter username. Twellow will give you an error message, saying that the name is already indexed. However, within a couple of minutes, Twellow will re-index your profile and get the latest information available from twitter, including latest tweet and bio. Within five minutes, your changed bio will be reflected in Twellow’s search results. Feel free to mix, experiment and optimize how you want to be found on Twellow.