using twitter the right wayAccording to the University of Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 77 percent of Fortune 500 companies used Twitter accounts in 2013. Despite the rising trend of companies jumping on board to connect with customers via social media, not all networks created equal. Take Twitter for example: Some use it as an advertisement for their services, not understanding the importance of engaging with their followers, while others harness it as a marketing, branding and customer service tool for connecting with current and potential customers. Only five of the Fortune 500 companies researched showed no Twitter activity whatsoever.

Southwest Airlines

Instead of trying to go through old-fashioned channels like phone or email, hop on Twitter to scour airline deals, get customer service help or ask questions. Southwest’s reputation for engaging and responding to customers has created a ripple effect. It currently connects with nearly 2 million followers. To keep customers engaged, their Twitter manager releases special promotions, contests, videos, photos and news from the company.

Beyond just keeping passengers informed, Southwest leverages Twitter as a strategic marketing tool. They carefully infuse personality and colorful moments from the airport and flights through multimedia. Their tweets, blog posts and even their reality show “Airline” all reflect a consistent branding and corporate personality. Follow them at


Zappos quickly gained notoriety for providing free shipping both ways, and offering potential employees $2,000 if they still wanted to quit after training. Zappos extends their hands-on customer service and branding to Twitter to boost customer service.

Zappos typically responds to every single question asked on Twitter. They also Tweet vibrant photos of products and retweet fashion oriented news and sweepstakes. Unlike most retailers, Zappos doesn’t advertise or Tweet coupons of any kind, instead relying on quality customer service and no-hassle shipping options to keep customers coming back. Follow them at


The credit monitoring service LifeLock does more than just tweet about services and promotions. Lifelock also retweets articles and alerts involving complex and sophisticated identity theft, info on the latest retail security breaches, ID theft rings and breaking security-related news. Browsing their Twitter feed can also help you identify emerging identity cons and breaches. It’s all useful information that doesn’t clutter your Twitter feed or annoy you. Follow them at

Red Cross

In 2012, the Red Cross launched an American Red Cross Digital Operations Center using social media to monitor disaster area activity and relief needs. During Hurricane Sandy, the organization used Twitter, and other social media channels, to look at conversations and needs as they happened. This helped identify who needed information and support and also where to set up shelters and rally for additional supplies. Today, the Red Cross uses Twitter beyond relief efforts to spread the word about how people are getting involved, photos of volunteers and safety tips among others. Follow them at