New Year, New Twitter Strategy: Breaking Through Without Sacrificing Voice

Breaking out on Twitter

If you’ve yet to follow New Jersey’s Twitter account, all I can say is you’re missing out. As a consumer of Twitter (and proud Jersey native, might I add), it’s highly amusing. As a marketer, it reminds me that striking the right balance of authentic voice and entertaining content is no piece of cake – particularly on a platform optimized for spontaneity, quick wit and dialogue, all under 280 characters, of course.

Social media has established itself as a must-have component of any brand marketing strategy over the last decade. And are we surprised? Consumers flock to brand social channels not only to devour content, but for the opportunity to engage: to exchange information, air grievances, praise experiences, and interact with other followers.

This requires brands to put their best foot forward. Most finding success on social media have undergone in-depth exercises in self-identity to hone their voice and tone online, all in the pursuit of successfully engaging their target audience. But applying that voice and tone effectively looks different on each platform; in short, all social channels are not created equal – and Twitter is arguably one of the hardest for brands to master.

So how do you take a page out of @NJGov’s book and revive a safe – and dare we say, boring – Twitter presence without sacrificing brand voice?  Below we share some tips on how to revisit your Twitter strategy to make 2020 the year that your brand breaks through in the Twitter-verse.

First and Foremost, Optimize Your Twitter

Before addressing content, the first step is to optimize your brand’s Twitter account so it can easily be found. Start here:

  1. Streamline the bio. This includes using a straight-forward and simple handle and sharing a succinct and memorable description, including relevant hashtags and links. And besides the company Twitter handle, these things do not have to remain static. They can be adjusted over time to spotlight priority initiatives and drive traffic to specific web pages. While Netflix is already a household name, not to mention owner of an endless library of entertainment content, it still does an excellent job of consistently tweaking its Twitter bio to work to its advantage.
  2. Follow freely. Spend time researching and adding relevant followers – namely leaders in your brand’s field or industry. At minimum, doing this brings relevant conversations and topics into your feed so you’re always in the know, but also gives you the opportunity to be followed back and, in turn, grow your audience.
  3. Listen carefully. Monitoring Twitter daily will often uncover excellent fodder for tweets, from spurring original content ideas, to retweeting relevant third-party content and replying to brand mentions. Tweetdeck is a super effective tool to monitor multiple streams.

Be Human, AKA Relatable

The nature of Twitter in itself is challenging for brands, which for the most part, are programmed to only put out into the world the most polished and meticulously curated content that is careful not to offend or provoke. It only takes a few minutes on Twitter to know that the platform is the antithesis of that philosophy. Its short form and stream-of-consciousness style makes it difficult to uphold a specific voice and tone, while still generating the engagement desired.

So what’s the key? It sounds so simple, but creating some separation from the traditional corporate identity, and embracing the personality of your brand goes a long way. In other words, be human.

Perfection is not what Twitter users are looking for. Rather than exclusively promoting a company’s product or service, tweets should engage the target audience in a relevant way. Utilizing humor, tapping into relevant trends and taking advantage of timely news can all help to make a brand more relatable – both to followers and potential followers.

A great example is Casper’s award-winning Twitter account. It’s speedy with replies 24/7, consistently prioritizes customer service and provides clever, relevant content. Casper also regularly uses humorous sleep-related lyrics pulled from the Billboard Top 100, and an endless supply of overnight content for the millions of people who suffer from Insomnia.

Capitalize on Opportunities

As many social media managers will tell you, the best social content is current, not planned out months in advance. Certainly, brands should use Twitter to promote company milestones or new product launches, and those can be planned for ahead of time.

However, where brands can shine on social, and in particular on Twitter, is when they take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. Being able to act swiftly in order to weigh in on a trending Twitter topic, jump on a breaking news item or even just reply quickly to another user’s direct tweet, is priceless. To do so, content teams usually have a quick approval process in place – or on smaller teams, agree not to have one at all. There’s certainly some level of risk this brings, but it also brings great reward. Standout examples include Merriam-Webster’s brilliant political newsjacking and, more recently, the state of New Jersey’s simple and snarky, yet somehow on-brand Twitter response that landed the account 100,000 new followers in just a month.

Consistency is Key

Consistent posting on any social media channel is best practice. Twitter requires the most frequent posting of content in order to yield good results. It’s a fine line between posting so much that it makes a brand obnoxious, and posting so little that it makes a brand forgettable. And, it’s a lot of work, especially to consistently share content that adds value for followers (hint: get some inspiration here).

The good news is that a brand doesn’t always have to share original content. Retweeting followers, who are often customers, or other industry leaders is a great way to engage on Twitter. Responding to brand mentions and hashtags is also a worthwhile practice. It shows that the brand cares about what the Twitter community is saying, and that it prioritizes a two-way dialogue with its customers. After all, that’s what the social in social media is all about.

And when all else fails, you can resort to “your mom.”


-Kelly Fallon