These brands are killing it on Twitter and here’s why.

I spent much of this weekend watching the RBS 6 Nations and aside from some cracking rugby, I was astounded by the amount of activity on the 6 Nation’s official Twitter account (@RBS_6_Nations) during the matches.

I imagine whoever was manning their account was working almost as hard as the players posting every 5 minutes with not just text updates but running commentary accompanied with fully branded photos which were being prolifically shared, favourited and retweeted  throughout the matches.

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RBS 6 Nations account managers obviously gets how to use Twitter.  They know their audience is engaged, excited and keen to share content before, during and even after the games.  And their posts reflect the immediacy and atmosphere of the day with dynamic photos and bold, snappy headlines.

Including an image in your tweets is a good move.  According to Adweek, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than those without so it’s worth illustrating a tweet if possible.

Another brand to take a Twitter masterclass from is, surprisingly, American Airlines.  I say surprisingly because airlines generally have a bad rep when it comes to social media self-promotion and customer service responses.  The open nature of social media channels means these brands have had to up their game and up it fast to deal with very public customer service complaints.

American Airlines don’t have 1.27M followers for no reason.  They’ve taken a slightly risky approach to their account which seemed to have paid off in spades.  AA’s tweeting is very natural, conversational even and they’ve achieved this by providing their account managers with clear goals and what seems like free reign to post-at-will to meet these objectives.  There doesn’t seem to be pre-scheduled tweets or sign-off by committee, it’s natural, it’s human and, importantly, it’s interesting.

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The human element is important.  When it comes to social media, it’s key to have empathy with your customers talking to them as you would face-to-face and not in an automated, robotic manner.  This empathy point is addressed nicely by Harvard Business Review who named and shamed 50 brands that scored the least on the empathy scale when it comes to Twitter.

Argos understood the need to be empathetic, as well as humorous, responding very nicely to this complaint:

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Just be careful when crafting  a ‘cheeky chappy’ response that it doesn’t tip over into plain rude.

And last but not least, Tootsa MacGinty is another brand doing some hugely engaging things on Twitter.  This fantastic company makes unisex kids clothes and consistently posts and retweets inspiring, current, comment-worthy content ranging from why we’re colour coding our kids and segmenting toys according to gender to behind-the-scenes videos from their new season’s photoshoot and general updates on what the founder is up to (usually with her daughter who inspired the business).  Tootsa MacGinty is very generous when it comes to mentioning others too and posts regularly making sure content isn’t overwhelmed by too many hashtags.

Tootsa MacGinty Twitter screenshot

Tootsa MacGinty Twitter example

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I’ve highlighted just a small number of businesses who are getting Twitter very right.  HubSpot lists more in this great piece on ’10 outstanding Twitter feeds by B2B publishers’ if you’re interested in learning more.

So just to round-up:

  • Add an image to improve engagement
  • Be human, be empathetic
  • Judge the mood and post accordingly (as with RBS_6_Nations)
  • Be quick to respond to any customer service tweets
  • Don’t use too many hashtags
  • Make sure it’s interesting to your audience
  • Be generous with mentions
  • Be interactive,  not just a loudspeaker
  • Add some humour (carefully)
  • Be diverse, choose a broad range of topics

Good luck with your business Twittering and remember to have fun with them!  It may take some time to find and get comfortable with your social media ‘voice’ but when you’ve found it, it’ll prove to be a great asset in this ever-connected digital, social world.