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Simple but effective tactical use of a Twitter back channel

June 6, 2011

Along with a thousand other delegates and exhibitors, I got the chance to go up to the Gold Coast last week to check out the inaugural Australian Chambers of Business Congress.

Although most of us have been to countless millennia of such events, this was a shining beacon of how to let the content speak for itself. With a top-notch speaking lineup including Steve Wosniak (co-founder of Apple), Andrew Banks, Qld Premier Anna Bligh, author Malcolm Gladwell, and many more, the attendance at the event was superb.

But I’m not here to write an inane blog about the event. There’s plenty of those I’m sure. While following the twitter back channel, I managed somehow to strike up a conversation with General Electric Australia, a fellow sponsor of the event.

On the second day of the event the Corporate Communications Manager Joanne Woo (@joanne_woo) made a simple but brilliant tactical move, inviting anyone who was following the twitter channel to personally meet with Steve Wozniak (whose keynote speech GE was sponsoring).

This was such a simple move, but it also directly gauged the effectiveness of using such a channel. Anyone who was following had the opportunity to say hi to one of the world’s better known innovators without any barrier – you just had to be tuned in.

Naturally I was able to excitedly jump in, along with what turned out to be about another 20 to 25 people, and had the opportunity to say hello personally to the main drawcard for the event.

After hearing all the serious technology and innovation questions being thrown at the guy as he shuffled about the room saying hello to people, what did I ask him when I had the chance?

“So tell me Steve, for everything you’ve achieved, what on earth made you decide to go on Dancing with the Stars?”

Catching him off guard, the big fellow paused for a moment, looked me up and down, had a good laugh and did what he does so well – tell the story behind the idea, and bring it to life: “They badger you to go on that show, you know. They asked me three times, and finally on the third time, I decided to give it a go. I lasted 4 weeks but it was fun.”

Securing his business card (made of aluminium which was kind of cool), I shook his hand and considered myself lucky to have met such a legendary innovator.

So with that great experience out of the way, I can’t help but notice how such a simple tactical use of a social media channel can increase the experience one can have with a brand.

For the record, many thanks to Joanne Woo and the team at GE Australia, and congrats on such a great use of the channel to increase engagement around the brand!

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