Nothing like a little mid-week digital affirmation from the folks at National Public Radio. A story on their All Tech Considered program this morning underscores an ethos Beehive has long held: social media is at the intersection of public relations and customer service. “Twitter Lets Customers Skip Recordings, And Make Choices” shares Texas’ Laura Hargrove search for a moving-truck company for her family’s relocation to California. She wanted a truck with a CD player, and in lieu of dialing customer service, sent her question out to Penske and Budget over Twitter. @PenskeMoving was the first to engage, and got the business. @BudgetTruckNews? Not so much. In fact, their VP of communications told NPR, “it isn’t a brand that’s relevant to Twitter users’ everyday lives.” Really? Hargrove would seem to disagree. “It means a lot,” she said. “And I don’t know why they wouldn’t.” NPR notes, “the world’s 100 largest companies get nearly 6 million combined mentions on Twitter every month.” Budget – and any smart brand – would do well by listening to what the marketplace is telling them. Two other valuable lessons from NPR’s story: First, Understand Your Audience’s Behavior, Then Train Your Team Around It. “Penske took an entire year to observe how its customers were using [Twitter] before diving in,” NPR notes, “then extensively trained call-center employees on the platform.“ It’s Not the Quantity of Followers, It’s the Quality of Engagement. Hargrove wasn’t a follower of either brand’s Twitter feed (and likely still isn’t). A brand’s number of social media followers isn’t as relevant its depth, speed and commitment to engagement. Congrats on your move, Laura Hargrove. Enjoy your tunes in your Penske truck’s CD player. Here’s a list of my seven favorite road trip CDs I made just for you. Safe travels.

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