Many brands are using social media channels, including Twitter, to connect with their customers. I recently read a very informative blog post by Chris Brogan about how grocery brands are “tweeting” on Twitter – mainly poorly, but some well. These days, many brand managers recognize that they must pay attention to Twitter and Facebook. The days of relying solely on advertising and couponing to drive brand share are long gone. However, it seems that many companies still don’t really “get” how to use social media well. Here’s a quick look at the do’s and don’ts of effective tweeting.
- Don’t have a “ghost town” Twitter account. The biggest mistake that many brands make is to start up a Twitter campaign and then drop it. @Entenmanns, @NECCO_wafers, and @SwansonChicken are all guilty of this. A social media campaign requires patience and time to develop relationships and engagement. If you do decide to discontinue a campaign, remove it from the Twitter site instead of leaving an inactive account visible.
- Do tweet for your audience. Make it relevant and personalized to your consumer’s interests. Inexplicably, @MrsButterworths tweets about football trivia – a definite disconnect. A common mistake: @HormelFoods mistook their Twitter account for a corporate PR tool. Anyone looking for business information about Hormel can find it on the company’s website. On the other hand, @EndustFree does a great job of finding creative ways to engage its consumer. Who would have thought that dusting could be so interesting?
- Don’t put too much focus on your brand/products. Tweets from @RealDuncanHines are all inwardly focused on the brand itself. It’s all about them. Remember, effective tweets need to be about engaging WITH your consumer not chattering AT them. Twitter is a place to have a two-way conversation.
- Do be human and use a real “voice.” Brands that have a human voice create better engagement. For example, @butterball’s tweets are personable and engaging. You could actually imagine meeting this person. Butterball also uses @replies effectively (a way of dialoging directly with someone but at the same time sharing it with all your followers). Snack cake purveyor @LittleDebbie is another example of a grocery brand using a real human voice to engage with its followers. Reading the tweets, you really feel as if you are having a personal dialogue with someone who cares at this company.
- Don’t re-tweet compliments about your brand, as @Healthy_Choice does. This is awkward and very self-serving. Overuse of the exclamation point gets rather annoying – don’t do it.
- Do vary your content and make it interesting. Both @Pepsi and @CocaCola do a great job of this. They are very focused on their audience and are clearly holding their attention. Of course, they also have large marketing budgets to support what is without a doubt a major focus at these huge beverage brands.
- Don’t spam Twitter accounts that don’t know you. Recently, @RaguSauce did this with a series of tweets about how Dads are clueless when it comes to preparing dinner. Ragu found Twitter handles (user names) with “Dad” in them and then tweeted at them with a link to a Ragu video. This backfired on the company when one particularly vocal Dad blogger, who received one of these tweets, blogged about how “Ragu hates Dads.” Ouch! Be very careful about tweeting at audiences who are not engaged with your brand.
For more information on this topic…
- Check out Chris Brogan’s blog post “Help! My groceries are tweeting and they’re terrible!”
- Joel Comm’s book, Twitter Power – How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time, is a great resource. While this book is primarily geared toward business-to-business marketers, CPG marketers can learn much from it.
- HubSpot regularly publishes eBooks on various social media topics. Here is a link to “Using Twitter for Business”