Initially designed for individuals to share news bites and succinct versions of their thoughts and ideas, Twitter has transformed the way we access real-time information. It’s the platform people use to discover something new and see what’s happening in the world, and has become an integral part of how brands communicate with their audiences. With more than 145 million active daily users, Twitter is rich with customer insights and opportunities to build your brand or charity, but there’s a fine line between striking a conversation with your audience and knowing when to hold back. Below we’ve put together some dos and don’ts on how to communicate on Twitter as well as Twitter best practices for brands and nonprofits.
OUR TOP 3 TWITTER CONTENT BEST PRACTICES
So who is doing it right? In this section, we’ll go over our top 3 Twitter content best practices to improve your brand communications and grow your business.
1. BE REACTIVE TO CURRENT AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL ‘MOMENTS’
Twitter is a platform where people connect and contribute their opinion to current affairs and global events – 56% of users use the platform to get their news – a significantly higher proportion than any other social media platform. Involvement in current conversations, topicality, and timing are some of the most substantial contributors to increasing brand positivity, so being reactive to current affairs and cultural ‘moments’ is key for brands and charities. Twitter is much more about “look at this” rather than “look at me” – it’s about sharing your point of view, turning the attention outward, and connecting on a more natural level.
It’s important that you know how to start a conversation on Twitter and when it’s best to get involved – monitoring a mix of broad and local hashtags and staying on top of trending topics will ensure you are up to date on conversations and avenues to enter the discussion.
You don’t want to feel like you’re stretching to make the connection between your brand and the trend/moment. A successful example was Oreo’s timely trendjacking tweet during the 2013 SuperBowl power cut, using the tag line ‘You Can Still Dunk in the Dark’, going viral with over 15,000 retweets and resulting in awards for their ad agency.
2. ENGAGE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS DIRECTLY AND IN REAL-TIME, USING A CONVERSATIONAL TONE
The immediacy of Twitter means brands are able to launch products, share updates and chat to their customers directly and in real-time. It also makes the platform particularly suited for customer service.
According to a Twitter study, 60% of users expect a response from the brand they’re interacting with within the hour. When interacting with customers directly, being approachable and adopting a conversational tone helps to encourage community engagement. It is this unique engagement which cannot be found on other social networking platforms.
3. STAND FOR SOMETHING IF IT ALIGNS WITH YOUR PURPOSE
Twitter has provided a platform for a new wave of social and environmental activism, which provides an opportunity for brands to stand for something and support causes. When a discussion on Twitter feels relevant to the core values of your brand, tap into these conversations to help people understand what you stand for and support. Research carried out by Twitter UK and @Starcom_UK suggests that 8 in 10 people feel that brands are in a position to affect positive change, and brands that are seen to have an activist persona are more strongly associated with positive brand attributes.
Craft beer brand Toast Ale often supports the fight for climate change action on Twitter; during #ZeroWasteWeek the beer brand, which uses surplus bread in their ale, offered suggestions on various ways individuals can help reduce food waste. They also recently called on their Twitter following to add their names to a petition calling on the government to get businesses to come clean on food waste. This engagement with their consumers via Twitter feels natural, as it aligns strongly with their purpose and core values.
Amnesty International is a particularly good example of how charities can stand for something on Twitter – they often share breaking news and engage in current conversations, but ensure they re reactive to moments that reflect their values. Amnesty recently started a conversation around the Disney remake of Mulan and potential human rights breaches, tagging Disney directly to increase reach and engage directly question why they had given a ‘special thanks’ to an area of China in which there are Uyghur internment camps. The tweet prompted the start of an important cultural conversation, producing 3.3K retweets and 283 quote tweets.
THE 3 WORST TWITTER PRACTICES
Making a mistake on Twitter could get your business trending for all the wrong reasons. Here, we’ll go over 3 ways to avoid hurting your brand reputation and tips on what not to do on Twitter.
1. DON’T TRY TOO HARD TO PIGGY-BACK OFF NEWS TRENDS OR CULTURAL MOMENTS
Engaging in conversations and trending topics on Twitter is encouraged, but don’t try to insert yourself into discussions for the sake of it. Think about how you can add value to the topic rather than jumping on timely hashtags and responding to every trending topic. By having a more focussed approach and crafting messages in a genuine way that resonates with your audience, you will start to see increased engagement, plus it avoids backlash for ill-used hashtags. DiGiorno Pizza wrongly used the #WhyIStayed hashtag, which was created as an avenue for domestic abuse victims to share their stories to the online world. Though an accident, DiGiorno’s mistake demonstrates how important it is to be selective with the trends you join in on and making sure it’s relevant to your brand or charity.
2. DON’T ISOLATE YOUR AUDIENCE BY BEING TOO ACCUSATORY OR NEGATIVE
Having a voice is important, but it’s imperative to know where to draw the line and recognise when your Tweets are too accusatory or negative. Take Ben & Jerry’s for example, they have long been an advocate for supporting issues such as human rights and social justice, however, a series of targeted Tweets at the Home Secretary felt a little off-key. The official Ben and Jerry’s UK Twitter account posted several tweets tagging the home secretary, which began: “Hey @PritiPatel, we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.”.
The tweets received backlash from the Twitter community and from the Foreign Office minister James Cleverly who tweeted: “Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream, please?”. Whilst Ben & Jerry’s is no stranger to supporting injustices, the tweets seemed more like an accusatory Twitter rant, rather than an attempt at supporting migrants.
3. DON’T BE TOO INFORMAL. YOU STILL NEED TO MAINTAIN A BRAND TONE OF VOICE
Twitter is the place for brands to show their personality, but it’s important to maintain your brand tone of voice along the way and keep it consistent. For some, tone of voice may already be established, but for newer users, it’s important to test a new tone and find one that suits you. Be sure to establish where you draw the line between friendly and informal, and think about the kind of personality you want your business to have. Experimenting is key – the engagement will tell you what resonates. Whilst everyone’s tone of voice will differ, it’s always important to develop a “human” side for your brand – this will encourage conversations between people and humanize your brand.
The full post by Don’t Panic can be viewed here.
Don’t Panic is a London based creative agency that specializes in multi-channeled, content-led campaigns that disrupt convention and common attention. Below is a blog post by Don’t Panic that we wanted to share with the Crowdster community.