The Challenge: Real-time platforms like Twitter make it easier than ever for public conversations about customer’s brand experiences—for better and for worse. Marketers need to be part of the conversation.
In the past, marketers had a clear distinction to work with: Facebook offered great demographic targeting options and opportunities for social endorsement, and Twitter was a real-time platform. But with the growth of Facebook's News Feed (and, now, Timeline) both platforms are truly real-time. So what is the unique benefit of Twitter for marketers? Twitter is the major platform for monitoring and participating in the public conversation around your brand.
As we reported before, "Regardless whether your business is on major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, your customers are—and they're talking about you." This is especially true on Twitter: whether customers are reporting positive experiences or service outages; passing on a special offer or a negative review Twitter allows customers to alter the market perception of your brand instantly. As always with social media, what some regard as a threat, others see as an opportunity: manage an effective presence on Twitter, and you'll be broadcasting a positive brand image to 140 million users.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR MARKETERS
» Select a Branded Hashtag
Given the millions of tweets produced every day, there's only one effective way to track mentions of your brand: by selecting a memorable brand hashtag. These can range from simple branding (@Dropbox), or more creative subbrands like Audi’s #WantAnR8 campaign. In addition to simplifying Twitter management, branded hashtags are the centerpiece of branded Twitter pages.
» Track Mentions of Your Own Brand 24/7
Twitter was built for viral messaging: within minutes, someone's 140-character compliment or complaints can be retweeted hundreds or even thousands of times. Catch every mention of your brand early, and mitigate damage or amplify opportunities accordingly.
» Monitor All Conversations Relevant to Your Business
Monitoring mentions of your own brand is essential, but it's not enough. For a truly successful approach to Twitter, you should also monitor conversations around your area of expertise, and participate where you can add value. Music streaming service Songza received more than 2,000 retweets when they responded to fans discussing Dawson’s Creek on Twitter with links to their playlist of “every song featured on Dawson’s Creek.” If they monitored Twitter exclusively for mentions of their brand, it’s an opportunity they would have missed.
» Actively Manage Your Twitter Feed
Because Twitter is a real-time platform, customers expect a constant flow of updates and new content. Don't let your feed go stale: add something of value multiple times a day.
» Maintain an Authentic Voice
One of the keys to success with social media is maintaining authenticity. Robotic content will fall flat with customers; updates with personality will be appreciated. As one user tweeted in response to an interaction with the Internet Education firm Grovo, "People like to know who they're talking to. That there's a name and a face behind the brand makes your brand more trustworthy." Don't efface your employees on social media platforms; let their personalities come through.