A combination of Twitterville and a C-Net News article titled "Netflix soars as Blockbuster plans bankruptcy" inspired me to take a glance at both of their Twitter accounts. After reading Twitterville, I have become very curious about the correlation between the current success of a company and the content/quality of their tweets and overall presence on Twitter. I am beginning to understand that it's no coincidence that Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are the current superstars of air travel and they have the best Twitter accounts in the industry. In most industries, the companies with the best Twitter accounts are the ones who are successful right now because it means they are understanding the modern landscape of technology and social media while engaging with their customers on a more personal level than ever before.
These corporate giants that used to seem so far removed from individual customers can now personally interact through Twitter and it's changing the way people see these large companies. The question is- is this personal interaction changing the way customers see companies for the better? For Netflix, it's a yes. For Blockbuster, it's a serious no. Let's look at @Netflix and @Blockbuster and see if the interaction they have with their customers is indicative of their current situations:
Tweets from @Netflix cover a wide variety of topics that cover all things entertainment that engage followers and prompt a response. Almost every tweet ends in a question that asks followers to tell them their favorite movie, show, performance, song, thoughts, etc. Tweets are about box office results, current events (Fashion Week, VMAs, Emmys, film festivals), movie castings, and announcements. @Netflix rarely tweets about the actual company business of Netflix and instead chooses to focus on asserting itself as an authority for entertainment and movie industry news.
It is also clear that @Netflix has a true understanding of the Twitter community: they respond to personal tweets and add an engaging question to make it applicable to all their followers, they retweet, use hashtags and brilliantly incorporate current events and celebrity tweets. Examples:
- Toronto Int’l Film Festival buzz: The Town, Black Swan, 127 Hours & Never Let Me Go. Which are you most excited to see? #TIFF
- #dontarguejustacceptit: __________ is the greatest movie ever made.
- Sept. 1st - the first day of school at Hogwarts for Harry Potter & Friends! What house would you be sorted into?
- What film makes you want to pack your bags @TravelChannel? For us, it’s The Motorcycle Diaries.
Tweets from @Blockbuster are much simpler to explain- 99% of tweets are customer service responses to problems or complaints about service/availability. Although it is good to see Blockbuster trying to individually assist customers over Twitter, it makes it seem as if Blockbuster only has problems. Examples:
- @LivingontheBlock: Sorry for the delay. I talked with a buyer who said we're working with the studio to get Dexter and other titles in ASAP.
- @Pharrel1: Please make sure you're reporting them in your Queue so we can pull them for inspection.
- @indiestace: Yeah, it's very long wait due to the high demand. I don't have a date yet, sorry.
I think the Twitter accounts are indicative of the two companies as a whole- Netflix is modern and has a true understanding of what their customers are looking for in a movie rental service as well as the experience they are looking for from a company. Blockbuster has shown that they are unable to adapt to the current industry and aren't doing a great job impressing the few customers they have left. Because of this, Netflix is on its way up while Blockbuster is headed for bankruptcy.
The way a company interacts with customers and the overall tone and message of their Twitter account can really impact the way people view the company. Netflix is positive, informative, and entertaining, while Blockbuster only further highlights the misfortunes and difficulties their company is currently facing. The bottom line is that while Twitter can be used to enhance customer service, it is not a platform for addressing problems and apologizing; it is a tool to engage positively and personally with customers while keeping them informed and entertained. Netflix understands that, Blockbuster does not. Nice knowin' ya Blockbuster.