On Friday morning, (iPhone 4S ‘available for pre-order’ day) before 9am, I was already looking on the O2 website in an attempt to find out what they were offering in terms of tariffs for the forthcoming iPhone.

I was incredibly disappointed to find that, while Orange and Vodafone had their prices out and online ordering ready, O2 still had no info. The logical thing to do, of course (for someone who is as much a compulsive hashtagger as I am, that is), is to take to Twitter to whinge about it:

Before long, I was engaged in conversation with others on Twitter talking about various tariffs and someone suggested I might want to go to 3 mobile for their upgrade. This resulted in mentions of me and these providers together in a number of Tweets.

What was impressive is how quickly both O2 and 3 (despite iPhone 4S day surely being a busy one) responded directly.

O2 reassured me the tariffs were coming (though wouldn’t give me any specific indication as when I could expect them).

Three Mobile, by now seeing that I am just out of a 2 year contract with O2 and eager to get my hands on an iPhone 4S, in the first instance told me to let them know if there was anything they could help me with and then Tweeted me directly to let me know as soon as they launched their tariffs!

As a consumer, this was great social media on both parts. I was able to get answers through a platform I engage with every single day (rather than having to go off and hunt down customer service numbers). I was alerted the moment the tariffs went live. I did seriously consider a move to Three Mobile off the back of their tariffs – tariffs I wouldn’t have seen had their social media team not been in touch with me via Twitter.

Great social media on both parts (O2’s use of my first name in their opening Tweet to me is a particularly good call).

Fast response, personal approach and direct engagement. All essential for big brands on Twitter.