For years, Twitter has been transforming the ways in which we share and curate information. It has replaced the water cooler when it comes to TV chatter – creating a platform for real-time conversations about shows as they air – and it has emerged as the go-to source of information during live events and breaking news stories.
In fact, with 1 billion tweets published globally every two days, it’s no wonder that back in 2011 news of the DC earthquake traveled faster on Twitter than the natural disaster itself. This very combination of speed and relevancy that has made Twitter a useful tool for everyday citizens has also made it a powerful mechanism for marketers to reach highly engaged audiences when they’re most apt to interact.
Recent updates from the platform are empowering brands with even more opportunities to connect with the right people at the right times. Last week, Jackie Lamping, Head of Global Brand Advocacy at Twitter, stopped by our offices to share some of the platform’s best practices for brands.
During the presentation, Lamping noted that positive brand experiences often outshine negative ones on the platform. For example, when the UK-based mobile firm O2 experienced a 48-hour power outage earlier this year, the brand was faced with a wave of (understandably) frustrated customers. Yet O2’s community team kept its calm, retaining the brand voice while swiftly engaging with people in a helpful way. The result: A potential PR blunder was turned into a net positive for the brand.
The following are some of Twitter’s #BestPractices for brands – tips directly from the horse’s mouth that will help brands create more positive experiences like the example referenced above.
While Twitter is a real-time conversation platform – which of course requires spontaneous engagement – having a structured seasonal calendar in place will help marketers establish a consistent content series over time which aligns with their brand’s mission or audience.
For example, clothing retailers might want to focus extended campaign efforts during the holidays and Back to School time given the 48 percent YoY growth of social mentions of clothing during those seasons (source: Twitter). Moreover, if you’re a brand like ZzzzQuil and trying to capitalize on sleeplessness, you might opt to backload tweets to the evening hours to better align with your target’s mindset. Beyond consumer behavior, brands should make sure that the content buckets fall in line with their tone of voice. Focus on what your consumers are saying and when they are talking to create a tailored campaign.
Lamping also recommends using Twitter for connecting cross-platform conversations. Target, for example, recently pulled this off with a commercial during the 2013 GRAMMYs that promoted Justin Timberlake’s new album release. By extending their :30 second spot to Twitter, Target gave fans the chance to access the album early and directly connected with fans as the commercial aired.
KFC had a similar approach for its #IAteTheBones campaign. The brand ran the hashtag whenever someone uttered the phrase in the on-air commercial and supported it across Twitter with paid media – and the effort didn’t end there. When KFC noticed the hashtag was taking off and that consumers were creating their own versions of the commercials on Vine and other video platforms, they leveraged the UGC with a contest celebrating the consumers’ content, thereby extending the life of the activation.
Organic conversations are important to any brand on Twitter, but a paid media strategy is integral to amplifying those conversations to attain broader reach. For marketers that are just diving into social advertising opportunities on Twitter, Lamping suggests Search Term or Hashtag Targeting, which will allow them to own brand terms on the platform and focus specifically on extending the reach of conversations that people might already be having about a brand. If you work for a QSR, focus on your key search terms, e.g. soda, menu items, key commercial content, frequently used hashtags and previously used brand marketing terms. Have a spokesperson or celebrity endorser? Buy against them, too. Leverage common phrases associated with your brand.
Twitter also recommends supporting campaigns, events and on-air commercials with TV Ad Targeting and Interest Targeting. Extending the message from on-air to mobile platforms allows fans to further connect with the commercial experience. This also allows brands to extend their messaging beyond the :30 clip and drive engagement.
Challenge What’s Possible
Where can you brand go next on the platform? Twitter challenges agencies and marketers to help them explore new and untapped territories. For example, brands are constantly looking for ways to help their customers earn and spend social currency, so it’s only fitting that one South African-based beverage company created a vending machine that allowed consumers to pay via a tweet.
To help your brand think beyond 140 characters, Lamping urges marketers to think of a Twitter campaign as more than just a hashtag. After all, programs built around Twitter can directly connect your brand’s story and voice with your consumers, as well as engage with those outside of your social circle to increase awareness among a new audience.
Cover photo via MudBug