Twitter Spotlight on: Jim Kukral

As someone who spends a lot of time on different social networks, I’m always intrigued by how others perceive them and what motives people who exemplify what I think are the best practices in using these tools. I’m a long-time fan of Jim Kukral and to help understand how he utilizes the popular Twitter service, I sent him a few questions that he was generous enough to answer for our collective benefit…
Jim Kukral, Man About TownQ: Briefly tell us about your background in the online business world.
I’m an online marketing veteran who does lots of blogging on web video. I’ve been blogging since 2001 and have built a strong personal brand for myself online over the years, and nowadays using social media tools as well.
Q: How do you make money online?
I make money online by consulting businesses about how to be more successful online. I help them find ways to get more sales, or leads or publicity by helping them think creatively and focusing their efforts and budget on the things that make sense and can return them an ROI.
Q: On a given day, what social networks do you utilize for business purposes, and approximately in what proportion?
I mostly use Twitter and Friendfeed nowadays, but it’s always changing. I maintain a presence on Facebook and on Myspace and I’m constantly trying the latest and greatest social networks to stay connected with my audience.
Q: I’m focused on Twitter. Tell me how you first learned about Twitter and whether you find it a valuable tool for marketing and customer service?
At first I didn’t get Twitter and I wrote it off. I disliked it and found it to be a waste of my time. However, it was only 6 months later I realized the power of it and how I had to be there to keep my personal brand strong.
Today, when I want to let my fans or audience (followers) know about something I’ve done, I simply send a Tweet out to about 2300 people in 10 seconds. It’s fantastic to be able to do that and get such instant feedback.
For customer service, I use it for my Scratchback.com company. I monitor what people say about Scratchback and can actively then interject myself into the conversation. Customers love being able to communicate with the company so quickly, and how the company cares enough to seek out what they have to say.
Q: How many tweets do you send out on a typical day? What proportion of them would you say are directly business / marketing / customer service related, and what proportion are more fun and social?
I send out about 10-20 tweets a day usually. Less if I’m working on a project. Twitter can take away from my time so I try to limit it sometimes. However, again, it’s part of how I publicize myself and my brand so “tweeting” can be considered work too. 80% of my tweets are me telling something about me or my projects. My followers expect that from me, that’s why they follow me. My followers also love when I go off-topic and talk
about unrelated things.
Q: Are there some topics, business segments or offers that you think are more suited for Twitter than others, and if so, what are they?
I think anyone who runs a business can use Twitter. Service agencies especially. Monitor what people are saying about your industry, then follow those people and become friends with them. Don’t “market” to them, just befriend them.
Q: Take us through the steps of how you utilized Twitter and the other social networks with which you’re involved for a recent product release.
Every single time I post a blog entry it gets updated on Twitter, every day. For product launches, I use Twitter to build hype and anticipation about a launch as well. On the day of my launch, I talk about the launch as it happens. I’m telling a story, and it works.
Q: What’s your Twitter ID? Do you use Twitter from your cellphone, or just your computer? Are you addicted?
I can be found on twitter at Twitter.com/jimkukral. I do tweet and check tweets from my iphone and my computer. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted. I’d say I’m grateful for the ability to have so many people who want to know about who I am and what I do. That’s an opportunity you can’t pass up.
Q: What’s your best advice for someone just starting to experiment with Twitter as a marketing or customer service channel?
Just start chatting with people talking about your brand or your industry. Don’t sell. Don’t market. Look at how companies like Zappos does it. Monitor your brand by using summize.com, and when someone starts talking about you, inject yourself into the conversation and go with the flow.
Great stuff, Jim. Thanks for sharing! If you want to find me on Twitter, you can either follow DaveTaylor or, if you’re a film buff (or in the industry), also check out FilmBuzz for the latest Hollywood news.

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