6 Unsaid Rules for Brands on Twitter
Twitter, the microblogging site is not for everyone, that much is clear. But it is a great way to work on the lighter side of your brand. If people like Donald J. Trump and Elon Musk can use it as their personal diary and get some serious engagement and business leads out of it, you as a brand can fare well too. But there are some Dos and Don’ts of the social platform.
1. DON’T sound like a robot
Twitter has its fair share of bot accounts and then some. These bots accounts can do anything ranging from automatically like, comment, retweet you but more often than not, you’ll be able to tell them apart. The tweets can sound robotic and repetitive, and Twitter users, or Tweeps/Twitterati as they’re known, are well aware of bot accounts.
As a brand, this is what you just cannot resemble. It can make you unoriginal, unapproachable, and hated at times for spamming. Your tweets need to sound original and human, with a pinch of humor. Frame that and put it on a wall where you can see it all the time.
Related: How to set up your Twitter for business account
2. DO interact with followers (and non-followers)
The openness and accessibility of Twitter stands out among other platforms. You can join in a conversation when you feel it is relevant and you can contribute to it. In fact Replies and Mentions are a content stream that often falls under the radar. The most memorable moments for a normal Twitter user aren’t seeing a tweet they like and retweeting it, it’s the interactions.
A lot of the times it’s being active on Twitter that allows you to spot openings in conversations where you can join in and add value to it for example by offering a disgruntled person a discount and then soaking in the appreciation for your brand. For small businesses looking to grab more attention without having to wait to gather more followers, this is a win win.
3. DON’T be culturally outdated
This is probably the most important rule in this blog, so I'll divide it into two parts.
a) Be very wary about the social and cultural boundaries that you cannot cross in your context. On topics like religion, sex, and politics, it’s not necessary to be politically active as a brand, but it essential to be politically aware. No matter what your views are, how you express them online matters. As a brand you can consciously make that choice. Brands like Nike choose to be politically active by backing Colin Kaepernick knowing that it will make some people very unhappy. But it is important to know that it was a very calculated risk.
The moral of the story is, know your audience. If you do want to take a political stance, estimate the effect it will have your brand first.
b) Stay on the lookout for trending tweet formats! "What is a tweet format?" I see you asking. It is the twitter form of a meme. And you've got to up your meme game. Brands on Twitter come to play. It's a great way to ensure engagement with your post while promoting your brand in the process. Something like this:
4. DO engage in friendly competition
This comes back to how Twitter is about being as human, as interesting as you can. Often people follow you because they think your brand is interesting, fun to engage with. This is going a step beyond that.
Maybe you as a smaller brand don’t stand a chance of getting noticed *just* by posting content and waiting for people to see it. Your competition might be present on Twitter, and if they engage in Twitter bouts, you can take a friendly dig at them by mentioning them or replying under a thread that includes them. This helps increase the reach of your tweet beyond just your own followers, and gets you a chance to one-up them, albeit in a lighthearted way.
Word of caution: This works better in retail and B2C businesses. Do your research, look at your competition's Twitter before indulging in this activity.
5. DO find your unique voice
Your brand’s personality needs to be your own. And that needs to show through your tweets and replies. If you’re a B2C business and want to have a connection with people, that needs to translate into your tweets. If you’re a B2B business in an industry where professionalism and trust are paramount, then too, it needs to stand out in your tweets. Be polite, helpful, but professional and that too stands out.
And again in some way this hearkens back to the first thing, to not become robotic. To let people feel that there is a human being behind your account. Let your brand persona do the talking.
6. #DON’T #overuse #hashtags
Twitter and Instagram are the two platforms where hashtags are actually worth something (I don’t know why people still use hashtags on Facebook). But you have to be careful with the hashtagging on Twitter. After the second hashtag, engagement rates start dropping on this platform, so be mindful. Use one good hashtag, or two if it’s absolutely necessary.
Branded hashtags help..well..tag your own campaigns. So you can keep track find all the conversation related to in one place when you sit down to analyze it. Or come up with a creative hashtag for a campaign and the Twitter gods may just bless it with user-generated hashtagged content.
Of course, Twitter is not for everybody, and understanding these unsaid rules is for those you spend time on the platform. A lot of the times these rules may not even apply to your particular brand or you just might not have the time to tweet in a more personalized way on Twitter. But that's where we can help you; if you find it difficult to maneuver your brand through the murky waters of Twitter, you can always give us a shout and save time and money on building your brand and reaching more people.