Pleased to tweet you: the people behind the Twitter machines
Businesses and organisations are using social media to build brands and improve customer service. But who are people behind the accounts?
Anthony Remedy, @BITEdublin
When Anthony Remedy and business partner Brian Spollen opened Bite Restaurant in Dublin six months ago, Remedy – whose background was in promoting gigs, clubs and bands – knew Twitter was going to be part of their marketing plan.
He tries to keep the tweets light-hearted by, yes, pushing the restaurant’s menu, but also taking bookings and having a chatty conversation about Dublin life.
“Restaurants just talking about menus and food – it’s pretty boring,” says Remedy.
So he seasons his food tweets with his opinions, and muses on pop culture.
Nor does he see it as the alternative to the complaints department.
Disgruntled customers can still talk to the manager or waiter. “I can’t fix all of your issues. I could be in the cinema or at home on the couch.”
But Remedy finds that responding to Twitter comments and concerns has created a loyal community of followers: “Once you’re being sound, that goes a long way. Twitter is an updated version of word of mouth.”
Joanne Bissett, @IrishRail
Irish Rail started a Twitter account in 2009, on a trial basis, and now has 21,000 followers. Its corporate communications executive, Joanne Bissett, is behind the account, and she finds it an effective way to reach “people on the move”.
From her office in Connolly Station, Bissett gets up-to-the-minute information from rail central control, which she translates to a “customer-friendly format” and disseminates through Twitter. In late 2010, when the country faced unprecedented snowfall over the Christmas period, Bissett said Irish Rail became convinced of Twitter as a vital communication tool.
It allows Irish Rail to inform passengers about service updates or delays, and sometimes to show how staff are working to get services back on track.
Irish Rail counts increases in followers during disruptions, but has recently gained publicity for helping to reunite lost pets with their owners, Bissett says. A few weeks ago, the Irish Rail Twitter family was able to reunite a lost pup, Hatch – who accidentally travelled to the city centre by train – with his owner in under 30 minutes.
“I like to respond to people individually,” says Bissett, although she draws the line at responding to “very colourful language” because she “wouldn’t converse with somebody in that way.
“I apologise a lot,” she says, but if Irish Rail’s Twitter account is getting a barrage of the same type of question, Bissett and her communications team “sit back and look at the message”, often issuing a blanket tweet to address repeat questions.
Colm McNamara and Tania Zorrilla, @PabloPicanteIRL
It’s not every day you hear about a Twitter account that’s written on behalf of a fictional and masked Mexican cartoon character, but that’s exactly what Colm McNamara has created for his three Pablo Picante burrito joints.
When it became clear to McNamara that burritos would be a success in Dublin, he quickly created the character Pablo Picante, a traditional Mexican luchador – or fighter – with a complex personality and a love of “spicy senoritas”.
McNamara and DIT advertising student Tania Zorrilla tweet on behalf of the strong, silent Mexican cartoon character.
Zorrilla says that when she’s tweeting on Pablo’s behalf, she “literally puts on the mask”.