Of the big three social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), Twitter is the most free-form. There isn’t a right and a wrong way to do things, but there are a lot of different things you can do. Businesses are recognizing this and are finding ways to add value to their customers’ lives on Twitter, which, in turn, builds brand loyalty. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at how a hardware store (Home Depot), a grocery store (Whole Foods), and a paint manufacturer (Benjamin Moore) are using Twitter.
These companies have very little in common, but all three are successful on Twitter. Benjamin Moore has 11k followers, Home Depot has 45k, and Whole Foods has a whopping 2 million. I realize that number of followers is a very basic metric, but it’s the easiest thing to show a measure of success. Why are these companies succeeding? Let’s look at what they have in common:
Firstly, and most importantly, all offer good, relevant content. Home Depot offers building suggestions and asks their followers what projects they’re working on. Whole Foods shares recipes and user guides, like this fantastic how-to on selecting fruit. Benjamin Moore offers very specific color selection advice and savings on their products. The key here is that none of these handles are actually selling anything. Social media marketing is a misnomer — as soon as you overtly try to sell a product, consumers tune you out. Nobody visits Twitter to see ads, they visit Twitter to converse and find cool links. Keep this in mind.
Secondly, these companies use conversation to engage with consumers. Twitter is not a megaphone, it’s an engagement platform. Think of Twitter like a cocktail party — you can’t just show up and start shouting into the room, you have to first introduce yourself and get people interested in you. If you click on any of the above profiles, you’ll notice that the majority of recent tweets are @mentions, meaning a conversation is going on. These conversations are key to building brand loyalty, and will build your positive reputation within the community.
Finally, all allow their community manager(s) to show some personality. Tweeps want to connect with your brand, and being a person rather than a faceless company is the best way to do that. What do Benjamin Moore and Elvis have in common? Nothing, but if I happen to like Elvis, you just deepened my connection with your company. For this reason, community managers are more successful when they’re allowed to show some of their character.
There are plenty of successful companies on Twitter, I’ve just picked these three to talk about. What other companies have you seen good content from?