CVS Twitter Program Perplexing

Written by Evan Schuman
February 11th, 2010

Social media sites are driving retail marketers crazy. They clearly know that powerful things are happening on these sites, but they’re clueless about how to get involved. CVS on Wednesday (Feb. 10) launched a series of programs on Twitter, indicating that the chain simultaneously gets Twitter and doesn’t get it. An E-mail blast from a PR firm representing CVS promised anyone following CVS on Twitter “special discounts, coupons, money-saving tips and ‘inside scoop’ updates” as well as “a secret discount code for 25 percent off nearly everything on”

Where to start? Given that a Twitter feed is offered to anyone and everyone, using the words “secret” and “inside scoop” demonstrates either a lack of understanding of what Twitter is or an impressive lack of concern for truth. Neither is a great trait for a pharmacy chain trying to gain the trust of Twitter users. But much more meaningfully, the whole concept of Twitter for retailers is to use it to open a dialogue and solve customer problems. Using Twitter as a coupon feed misses the point of the service. If you want to read a really powerful book on the topic, check out Twitterville, Shel Israel’s take on the service. The book makes a surprisingly strong case for retail Twitter use if and only if the chain is willing to make it two-way.


2 Comments | Read CVS Twitter Program Perplexing

  1. Kiril Alexiev Says:

    Just as it can be very helpful to keep devoted clients follow their favorite firm, Twitter and other social networks can be as equally confusing if mismanaged by corporations. The case described by the article clearly show the lack of understanding that users are not following to get “secret” pass codes to get deals, but to get info on what else is coming from their favorite company. If a firm cannot create this buzz and expectation to improve sales, well, its managers may have a bigger problem than managing Twitter messages…

  2. Fabien Tiburce / Compliantia Says:

    I agree that “secret” is a poor choice of words for something that just isn’t. However engaging your users and promising quick, if not secret, access to coupons and the like is a great first step for any retailer. CVS is on the right track with its social strategy, simply because they have one; they’ll just need to ramp up on the medium and adjust the message a bit. Twitter being a real-time user-distribution medium, where the attention span measured in minutes, this will soon be forgotten anyways…


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