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.

I’m not small. I’m concentrated awesome.

Small but mighty

5 reasons why small businesses can outmanoeuvre the Goliaths when it comes to marketing

Some smaller businesses feel that because of their size, they lack the marketing punch larger multinational organisations might command. You may not have the budget but your marketing can be just as effective, if not more so. I’ve worked for small companies and I’ve worked for large ones and what you might be lacking in funds, you can make up for in innovation, speed and agility.

Here are 5 reasons why size is irrelevant when it comes to marketing might:

  1. Agility:  If there’s an unexpected change in the market or new legislation throws a spanner in your business plan then small companies can turn on a sixpence and market accordingly.  It’s easier to get your house in order, prepare a statement, rework presentations and sales materials, update your website, brief staff etc in a company of, say, 20 than a company of thousands.
  2. Speed: This is related to agility and recognises that with fewer people in the mix, marketing doesn’t have to suffer the long, drawn-out process of multi-departmental sign-off and decision-making by committee.  Small businesses can be quick off the mark and get that great marketing idea developed and out the door before competitors, reaping the rewards of first-mover advantage.
  3. Consistency:  One area of marketing larger companies struggle with is maintaining a consistent message across all of their marketing channels and ensuring their many brand ambassadors (e.g. employees) stick to the script.  You may have the perfect product, the best service and the most compelling unique selling point (USP) but if you don’t talk and write about it in a coherent, consistent way then it’s a moot point.  The message is diluted and lost to your customers in the quagmire of competing voices.
  4. Innovation: Ever produced your best work under pressure? Necessity sometimes is the mother of invention and you might find that being a smaller company with limited marketing resources drives greater innovation.  This might be a controversial one, but smaller companies can, in some ways, take bigger risks.  It’s not so easy to take a risky marketing decision in a big company when you’re battling against ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ mentality and a long-standing conservative culture.  And sometimes, the bigger the marketing risk, the bigger the revenue reward.
  5. Personality.  Generally people follow people rather than faceless brands.  People like to follow the CEO or head of sales of a company rather than a logo.  If your brand has bags of personality then this might not be the case (take Nutella’s Facebook page as an example). As a start-up you’re effectively working with a blank canvas and can spend time honing a genuine corporate personality and tone of voice that you can use from the start vs. a more established business that might need to go through a costly, wider re-brand.

So don’t write-off your marketing efforts just because you feel you can’t compete with the big boys. You can. And you can do it well, outmanoeuvring the clumsier corporations and quick-stepping your way to original, credible and, most importantly, profitable marketing success.