Brands on Twitter: Engaging With Your Target Audience
“Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting.”
When it comes to finding out more about something in the news, Twitter has become my first place to look. Whenever there is football gossip being shared around the office, I go to Twitter. Whenever I want to find the latest SEO blog posts, I go to Twitter. Whenever I see a man dancing around naked in the street, I go to Twitter. But this is a curse as well as a gift, as this online public sphere is both an informative resource and an environment that thrives on the gullible.
Regardless of this, Twitter has become a remarkable way for users to absorb & share information online and is revolutionising the way in which we communicate with our favourite brands; and more importantly, how our favourite brands communicate with us.
The “tweet” has grown into a digital marketing tool that allows businesses to actively promote themselves and push their online presence directly. Every brand has a different approach to how they use it and, in an attempt to appeal to their target audience, many of them utilise their 140 character limit in various ways.
“Over 50% of people who share business related content on social networks, do so on Twitter”
Twitter thrives on new and interesting information, with many people (like me) using it as a tool to find out the latest news in their own profession. With this in mind, becoming a reliable source of business related content can be greatly beneficial to a brand’s image. But why?
Being a trusted resource for news related to your industry not only demonstrates your brand’s knowledge, but it opens up the potential to develop relationships with similar companies as well as past, present and future customers. From industry news to local events, regularly sharing and Retweeting information that is exciting and relevant can help build up a brand’s online reputation and increase their Twitter following. And the more followers that your account has, the more exposure that your brand is receiving.
“31% of Twitter users follow brands & companies to receive discounts and promotions”
Everyone loves a good promotion and one of the most important motivators for people to follow brands on Twitter is to keep an eye out for offers such as upcoming sales, free samples and discounts. With the right type of promotion, businesses can expose their product to attract new customers whilst earning the loyalty of existing ones.
On Wednesday 14th March, Starbucks got into the good books of people across the UK when they announced that anyone could go into their local branch and pick up a FREE morning latte with their name on it. (Luckily there is a branch 1 minute away from our Adtrak office). This promotional video was posted on their UK twitter account the day before the promotion and the news spread quickly.
The #FreeStarbucks hashtag was reported to have been mentioned over 25,000 times over the course of the day and Starbucks became a top 10 UK Twitter Trend (usually dominated by Justin Bieber and One Direction fans). There was an abundance of thank you posts, recommendations to friends and declarations of love towards the company. A PR stunt that saw queues of people lining up outside Starbucks nationwide and a rise in the number of people following the @StarbucksUK Twitter account in the hope of similar deals in the future.
Responding to Enquiries
As an alternative customer service tool, Twitter allows customer problems, issues and questions to be addressed directly and transparently. It’s a fantastic platform to promote the way in which brands communicate with their customers, demonstrating their status as a credible and trustworthy business.
One company that I have been a customer of and who I admire for their dedication to replying to their followers is STA Travel. They seem to respond to the majority of tweets sent their way; whether it’s a travelling question, store complaint or just customers excited about their upcoming holiday.
Although you can’t physically force people to contact you on Twitter, brands who frequently engage with others are more likely to be engaged with. Having an active company account that regularly posts content like latest news and promotional offers will result in more people contacting them via twitter, but this comes with a strong warning:
“71% of complaints to companies on twitter go unanswered”
It is vital that a company actually answers the majority of these questions and complaints. People don’t enjoy being ignored but they do enjoy bitching about companies that they have had a bad experience with. So check your mentions frequently and provide a quick, useful and NON-AUTOMATED response for users. And if you are a company that hasn’t even got the time to respond people who want to engage with you, then you shouldn’t be using Twitter at all and I humbly request that you close this blog post immediately.
Bonus: Nothing makes me happier than when I’m thinking about my next meal and, en route to my holiday earlier this year, Best Western hotels eased my worries when I discovered that the restaurant would be closed the morning after my stay. I sent a tweet to their main account and they replied promptly telling me that breakfast was on! My stomach was very grateful for the good news and it was probably the best tweeted response that I have ever had.
“People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 40% of all people know that.”
If you want your brand to go viral on twitter, then content based around humour is the key to sky-rocketing your account into being noticed. One of the challenges that a company faces when posting humorous content is justifying it and making it relevant to their industry. But as this next example shows, you just need to keep your eyes open and then opportunities can arise from even the darkest of times.
After the devastation that was the England football team being knocked out of the European Championships, there was an influx of related tweets that dominated the UK Twitter feeds. The majority of them were negative and not at all enjoyable to read, but this satirical post by visitengland.com (the main website for the National Tourist Board for England) brought more than a few much needed smiles to Englishmen everywhere.
The account received plenty of positive feedback for this audacious tweet; with just under 10,000 Retweets and over 1400 favourites. This was just one of their most recent successful examples of their comedy tweeting strategy, which has been the main driving force behind their vast number of followers and popularity. It would have been interesting to see the number of visits that their website received that night after this tweet.
These are just some of my own examples of brands that I have seen get the best out of their twitter accounts. But there are plenty more twitter strategies out there that deserve recognition, such as competitions and keyword searches, which I hope to discuss in the near future.