Twitter may no longer be the new, bright and shiny social media platform, but for many brands it is still a daunting platform to maintain. Twitter intimidation can quickly lead to a one-way stream of information instead of taking the time to hone the delicate balance and skill of Twitter conversation—the lifeblood of success in the space.
Imagine you are at a cocktail party, stuck in the corner talking to someone who only talks about themselves. You’d be looking for every moment to escape and would warn others to do the same. This analogy may be a bit extreme but it’s one of my favorites for demonstrating the importance of conversing on Twitter in order to capture followers’ attention in mere seconds.
But I get it. Conversing with strangers throughout the day is no small task. It requires a distinct monitoring and response strategy and most importantly, time. If Twitter makes your head spin ask yourself the following questions:
- Is Twitter really the right place for my brand to be? Twitter is not a one size fits all platform that you have to be on in order to have a robust social media program. A social media audit of your target audiences’ habits online may reveal that your key users are most active on Facebook, Pinterest or Google+. If time and budget don’t allow for a social media audit there are thousands of social media demographics studies you can reference to make a more informed decision, like Social Media in 2013 by Buffer and Social Media User Demographics 2013 by MediaBistro.
- Do we tweet with a clear brand voice/personality? If not, this is something that should be discussed internally and/or in tandem with relevant agencies ASAP. Twitter “personalities” don’t have to be snarky or wildly different than your other e-communications but followers do want to feel like they are conversing with someone, not a brand robot. Is your brand happy, eager to help, slightly irreverent or peppy? One recent example we love is the San Jose Shark’s response to an ESPN tweet. The Shark’s response is spot on with how you’d imagine a hockey franchise persona to act.
- Are we trying to share the exact same information on Twitter as we do on other platforms? At GFM we stepped back from our own platforms recently to better understand what content resonates on each platform. We learned that Twitter is a better place for us to share industry and client news compared to Facebook. Your followers are on different platforms for different reasons and you need to cater content accordingly. The bottom line? Each social media platform requires specialization so we advise that you find that one focus for Twitter, and do it very well.
- Are we monitoring the right terms and following the right people in order to insert ourselves into conversations rather than trying to create all Twitter dialogue from scratch? For example, a food brand may want to test setting up a dashboard like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to monitor for people tweeting about recipes, specific day parts, local restaurants and chefs, etc. Employing a bit of intuition, this allows you to retweet and @ reply to people as a helpful and relevant resource—hopefully before a competitor does.
Finally, watch and learn from the best—both in your industry and from brands you love personally. Some of my current favorites include @Breckenridgemtn, @Chobani and for my colleague @WoodrowWilson (the biggest sports fan I know), the @LAKings. You never know what tweet will inspire a whole new way of thinking about Twitter for your own social media program.
~Alexis Anderson is an avid follower of savvy brands and communities on Twitter. One of her current Twitter crushes is on @FitFluential.