Sean O'Byrne

How to identify your influential customers on Twitter

I believe 2012 will be the year that Twitter is finally recognised as a viable customer service tool for many Australian businesses. You only have to look at the increasing numbers of large and small businesses directing their customers not only to a customer service phone number or email address but also to their twitter handle e.g. @commbank, @VirginAustralia, @auspost and many more.

Customer service over Twitter is a big win for consumers who like me I’m sure, hate having to call their local bank, insurance company or internet provider during business hours, only to waste time listening to repetitive announcements about new services and products or worse… coma inducing waiting music. And being super transparent and very public, tweets about service issues tends to elicit a faster response and resolution from the brand.

Of course, it’s not as easy as just announcing that you are now servicing your customers through social channels. If it’s not planned and resourced correctly it can be a disaster.

There’s a whole bunch of things I could talk about on getting this right but one of the most important tips I have for businesses that are embarking on this form of customer service is to identify and track your most influential customers. This can help to avoid costly PR disasters when things don’t go as planned and suddenly your failings in customer service are plastered all over the web. 

(NB: I would maintain that all customers should be treated equally except in cases where they are part of a members club or loyalty program in which their on-going patronage is rewarded by a higher standard of service). 

Ok – so how to identify your influencers?

They are, of course, many ways to identify your influential customers on Twitter from search tools such as Tweetreach, Tweetbig, or Tweetlevel and many more. But I think one of the easiest ways is through Klout

Klout is essentially a ranking system which looks at your social media presence on numerous networks and by analysing your followers, your retweets, number of posts etc it determines your influence and gives you a ranking out of 100. The higher the number the more influential you are.

Sounds pretty easy right, but one of the best features of Klout is that you can link it with your Twitter account so when you’re looking at your stream on twitter.com you can see the Klout score for every person in your stream (see image above). Therefore making it very easy to identify those customers who are highly influential on social media and maybe therefore need that little bit more attention if you’re to avoid a PR disaster.

The last thing you want is someone with a Klout score of say 90 having an issue left unresolved, and tweeting or posting their frustration to their followers likely to be in the 10’s of thousands!

Use Klout to identify the big players in social and prioritise their requests or at least make sure they don’t slip through the cracks. 


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Sean O'Byrne Sean O'Byrne
I have over 10 years experience working in digital marketing and social media both here and in the UK. Currently I am a director at Agent Sydney, a new strategic marketing consultancy specialising in digital, social media, PR, events, experiential and brand development Read Sean's full bio

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