How Businesses Use Twitter Today
Southwest Airlines is using it to let people know about flight changes, conditions and more. They also use it to find out what passengers are saying. If a delay or disruption occurs on a given flight, Southwest knows about it as they have dedicated people monitoring Twitter regularly.
Zappos is a great online shoe company. They monitor what customers are saying and what they want. They also use it to grab customer feedback -- good and bad -- and respond accordingly.
Even General (Government) Motors is using Twitter. They want to keep up with what people are saying about them and (at least in theory) help solve customer problems.
A big complaint from many is that there is so much information they can't keep up with it all.
This is why experienced Twitter users (called "Twitterers") use tools to process the filtering. TweetDeck (www.TweetDeck.com - free) is a commonly used tool to monitor key streams. You can set up a search for your company name or your competitors' names and receive notifications whenever something is said. This helps to manage the torrents of information coming through Twitter. With TweetDeck You can monitor not only important Twitter mentions but also update and monitor what is happening that is relevant for You on Facebook and Linkedin. This gives You a "command module" to keep up on the important things in Your world.
HootSuite (http://hootsuite.com/dashboard - free) is another tool to monitor what is happening. It is also useful to schedule messages you'll send to others (called "Tweets"). This way you can schedule a message to go out a few times a day. Hey, the cable news networks repeat the same stories because they know their audience changes every 20 minutes -- or less. Yours does too and a tool like this helps to reach more people with your message Ã¢Â€Â" when it is convenient for them!