The very first tweet was sent out on March 21, 2006, 9:50 pm. In the 11+ years since then, Twitter has become a cultural mainstay where real-time events are covered by news agencies, for-profit companies, and anyone with a smartphone. For brands it’s a prerequisite to any solid social media strategy. Twitter has become so central to social media marketing that it’s no longer a question of if your brand should be on Twitter, it’s how your brand should be on Twitter.
Over time, this how has changed.
Last month, Twitter released its latest earnings report. Their user base didn’t grow; in fact, 2 million people quit using it all together since the previous quarter. This downward trend may surprise you given Twitter’s prevalence and centrality to world news, but it also shouldn’t scare you and cause you to leave. In the same report it was shown that monthly active usage increased by 5% since last year, and daily active usage increased by 12%. Despite a lack of growth in terms of new users, the people currently on there are tweeting – which means your brand should be, too.
We can’t continue to view Twitter the way we view Facebook (in that same quarter when Twitter took in zero new followers, Facebook gained 66 million). Twitter isn’t growing, so it shouldn’t be viewed as the place to grow your user (or consumer) base. But the fans that are already there? Talk to them! Figure out who they are, what they want, and how to engage with them. Find the right type of social listening and engagement, as well as the proper tools. Twitter is still the best place for fans to directly contact their favorite brands, so take advantage.
For reference, here are some brands doing it right.
DiGiorno’s Twitter account is funny, timely, and interactive. They use Twitter’s real-time characteristics to their advantage by incorporating trending hashtags into their feed to insert themselves into the larger conversation without getting promotional. They use their quirky voice and humor to build an engaged fan following who love the product, the humor, and want to see more.
🍕+ 🍍= 😋
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) August 6, 2017
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) August 5, 2017
Arby’s is a great example of an account that not only knows their Twitter fan base, but also does a great job of putting their product at the center of their account without it coming off as salesy (noticing the trend?). They rely heavily on specific pop culture references that they know their audience will understand – and it pays off with high engagement. You may not get the reference they’re making in the following tweets, but that doesn’t matter – Arby’s fans do.
— Arby’s (@Arbys) May 19, 2017
You’ve been a good man, Twelve pic.twitter.com/0yqtQtX40G
— Arby’s (@Arbys) June 30, 2017
Notes for Next Year
Do you want success like this? Despite Twitter’s lack of growth, the platform still brings a lot to a comprehensive social media strategy when used properly. Here are the key takeaways you can start incorporating into your brand strategy today:
- Stay in real time. Even more so than other platforms, Twitter is where things are happening now. Use this to your advantage by choosing trending hashtags and events that are relevant to your brand and jumping into the conversation. This should be natural – if it isn’t your fans won’t bite. Be selective and find conversation topics where your brand can really shine. If you really want to do it right, hire Community Managers that do this professionally (and to perfection).
- Don’t be afraid to go niche. The brands that are successful on Twitter aren’t afraid to alienate the masses by talking about what their fans really care about. Find out what your fans are talking about, and become a part of the conversation. Try out a few social listening tools to find the right one. Arby’s does a great job of this. Not everyone cares about video games and niche pop culture, but their fans do, and love the references Arby’s makes with every tweet. Engage with your fans on what they care about, and they’ll stick around.
- ENGAGE! It may seem obvious, but not all brands do it. Twitter above all other platforms was built for conversation. If you aren’t replying to your fans, then you’re not using the platform to its full capabilities. Invest in community management and you will see results!
This post is by ISL Strategy Intern Rosie Vita