Sharing real-time information can be powerful

Sharing real-time information can be powerful

Twitter is one of the most effective mediums for communicating real-time information, and as many brands have demonstrated over the last few years, 140 characters are more than enough to make an impact.

Below are 13 unique ways brands are using Twitter to increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and make more sales.

1) Give Followers Exclusive Deals

Bonobos is one of the largest online men’s apparel e-tailers in the United States, and to help clean out the virtual shelves for a new season, they launched a 24-hour, Twitter-exclusive sale.

They warmed up their audience with a few pre-campaign promotional tweets, and then on the day of the sale, they launched an exclusive deal only available on Twitter. There was one catch—the promo tweet had to be retweeted 49 times before the promotion went live.

They received more than 80 retweets in eight minutes, quickly unlocking the promo. Their effort gained them nearly 100 new customers.

Bonobos

View on Twitter

Dell did something similar back in 2009, and the National Football League recently made a deal with Twitter to show exclusive highlights only available on that social network.

Customers enjoy feeling like they are part of an exclusive club.

Action Steps:

– Advertise on the different social networks that Twitter is where the exclusive promotions happen.
– Warm up your audience with pre-campaign tweets, and actively tweet during the promotional campaign to keep the conversation going.
– Make sure your promotions aren’t confused for paid advertisements.
– Don’t over-hashtag your promotions. 2-3 at most.

2) Use Vine To Provide Practical Advice

Kia marketers shaped a Twitter campaign around the tagline “full of smart solutions.” The tagline was given to the new Rondo car design, a model popular among families.

Using Vine, they targeted families with a series of “smart solutions” videos that were both practical and entertaining.

Their “smart solutions” ranged from how to core an apple to organising your dresser drawers to cleaning a blender.

In total, 18 videos were produced, helping Kia Australia’s Twitter community grow more than 40%.

Kia Australia

View on Twitter

Plenty of other brands are using Vine to connect with customers too. UK-based retailer ASOS is trying to promote more online shopping by demonstrating how satisfying it can be to open the package containing your clothing purchases.

SweetShot Photography is another brand to mention. They tweet out Vines of their studio to promote headshot photoshoots.

Action Steps:

– Identify the target customer of your campaign.
– Identify common pain points for those target customers. ASOS created a survey that told them customers didn’t find online shopping as satisfying as in-store shopping.
– Create a series of 3-4 creative vines that address these pain points.
– Publish your vines consistently on the same time/day/week/month, and don’t hesitate to link back to them even after they have been posted for a while.

3) Make A Game Of It

Whether you’re five years old or fifty, scavenger hunts can be really fun, and Twitter has made it possible to have these types of events all over the world.

Hard Rock International, an empire of 139 cafes and 18 hotels/casinos located in 55 countries, wanted to increase awareness of their 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival in London.

So they created a game. The called it The Hunt for Hard Rock and used the hashtag #hunt4hardrock. The campaign spread across all their social media platforms, allowing users to participate in fun events and giving them a chance to win VIP tickets to the festival.

The results were massive. People in 54 different countries participated, and Hard Rock gained over 35,000 new followers.

HardRockView on Twitter

Here’s another great example.

To better engage with their students, one American university created a mobile scavenger hunt using both Twitter and Foursquare. They tweeted clues to the locations of branded merchandise, and the first students to check in with Foursquare at the locations received the merchandise.

They saw a huge spike in social media engagement, and although they’re an educational institution and didn’t gain revenue from the effort, I think the same lessons can be applied to businesses.

Action Steps:

– Consider developing an interactive social media campaign for your next trade show or company-sponsored event.
– Challenge followers to complete a series of simple tasks. For example, the challenge could be for visitors to tweet pictures of themselves with three different people on your staff, or it could be for them to tweet pictures of certain objects around the facility. Get creative.
– Always offer some sort of incentive.

4) Share Exceptional Content

Many Twitter campaigns—especially in B2B markets—revolve around sharing valuable content.

If you can create and share exceptional content on Twitter, your following will grow and so will your sales.

DoubleDutch is a perfect example. It’s a mobile application used as a platform for events, conferences, and tradeshows. The company targets their Twitter campaigns toward users who intend to plan and organise these types of events. They tweet resources like eBooks, whitepapers, and webinars to engage prospects.

They saw a return of 349% from Twitter in six months by posting this kind of great content.

DoubleDutch

View on Twitter

DoubleDutch is only one example. HubSpot put together a list of B2B companies that are known for developing exceptional content. Check them out to see examples that you can borrow from.

Action Steps:

– Always incorporate data to back up opinions and explanations in your content.
– Have a good balance between educating readers and talking about your own products.
– Include quotes from industry experts in your content, and then when you tweet the article, mention the expert. This is a good way to encourage retweets.
– Avoid promoting only your own articles. Share exceptional content that other people are producing as well!

5) Provide Savvy Customer Service

Unlike many companies, Jet Blue’s twitter feed is pretty much clear of self-serving promotions. Instead, it’s filled with personalised tweets responding to customer problems.

Plenty of companies have started using Twitter as a platform for customer service. Research shows that 99% of brands are on Twitter, and 30% of them have a dedicated customer service handle, but many don’t go to the extent that Jet Blue does to take care of their customers. They’re 100% committed to providing great service.

JetBlue

Nike is known for taking care of their customers via Twitter and so is Seamless, an online food ordering service that serves customers in both the United States and London. They’re both customer service success stories because they understand that when operating globally people need assistance around the clock.

Action Steps:

– Manage your presence and develop a schedule so you know which specific times during the day are the busiest.
– Have knowledgeable experts responding to messages. This isn’t a job for the intern.
– Remember: you have to be committed if you’re going to use Twitter for customer service.

6) Share Randomness, Be Funny

This Twitter strategy is unlike any other because it doesn’t involve posting promotions, pictures of new products, or even relevant industry information. Arena Flowers has developed a large community of followers by posting random facts, quotes, and sayings.

It goes to show that sometimes you don’t need to be serious to be taken seriously. It’s okay to have a good time and to show your true colors.

 

Arena Flowers

Using humor is a great way to build a community. Just ask Charmin, Old Spice, and Skittles. Their funny tweets are constantly getting retweeted, and so could yours.

Action Steps:

– Don’t conform to the idea that all corporate Twitter handles must post industry-relevant, professional information.
– Let your company’s personality show through what you are sharing.
– Post content that you know your target customers will appreciate.

7) Use Multiple Accounts

There’s always a balance between promoting products on your feed and sharing other types of content. Promote too much and some of your followers will get annoyed.

Dell doesn’t have to worry about promoting too much. They use multiple Twitter feeds to reach different audiences. Their Dell Outlet account, which is filled with promotions, is for the bargain hunters, while their main account focuses more on info updates and customer engagement.

They get the best of both worlds without having to alienate part of their audience.

Dell

At this point 63% of the world’s top brands have multiple twitter accounts, including Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop (@Alltop_Fashion, @Alltop_WebDes, and @Alltop_Celebs), and Whole Foods.

Action Steps:

– For diverse product lines, create handles that appeal to the different target markets.
– If your product or service is location based, have different handles for different geographic locations.
– Make sure each handle provides unique value to your customers

8) Experiment With Contests

NameCheap had a simple marketing strategy in mind the moment they started using Twitter.

Contests.

When they held their first contest, their followers spiked from 200 to over 4,000, and now they’re well above 100,000. By holding contests, NameCheap opens the door to active consumer engagement. They welcome retweets and mentions, and they reward their followers for engaging with them.

NameCheap

NameCheap is just one example. Here are five other great Twitter contests that you should take a look at.

Action Steps:

– First determine the rules and regulations for your contest.
– Develop a hashtag and start promoting the contest a few weeks before its launch.
– Launch your contest on a quite news day—make sure nothing will steal your thunder.
– Promote the winners online.

9) Tell A Story

Here’s a really interesting and unique example.

NPR Code Switch, a team of journalists that report on all things American culture, created the Twitter handle @Todayin1963. They then sent out “real-time” tweets reenacting Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, a prominent moment in American history. This was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the speech and to raise awareness of racial issues in America.

While the effort wasn’t for profit, the idea was too great not to share.

Customers connect with stories.

NPR Code Switch

Image Credit

Action Steps:

– Make your stories personal. The more customers can perceive you as “real” the better.
– Develop a unique way to present your story like in the example above. Use a combination of text, video, and images.
– Create timelines to make your story easier to read.

10) Ask For Advice (Crowdsourcing)

When launching a new product, 7UP Arabia really wanted to get customers involved, so they gave them the chance to name the product via different digital media channels, including Twitter.

A promoted tweet was posted saying that users could tweet their vote for one of three options, and as a result, brand awareness skyrocketed. They gained over 3,000 new followers and saw a 200% increase in mentions.

7up

View on Twitter

Crowdsourcing via social media can be a goldmine, and all the big brands like Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Nokia do it.

Here are a few other examples that may also peek your interest.

Action Steps:

– Send around a survey to get discrete opinions on a specific topic.
– Or ask a more open-ended question to let customers express their creativity.
– Either way, don’t hesitate to tweet out the request a few times.
– Have a process in place to curate the results ahead of time so you don’t become overwhelmed when the information starts pouring in.

11) Release A Sneak Peek

Marvel Entertainment, a part of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world. Leading up to the release of Iron Man 3, they wanted to raise awareness of the movie and better engage with their target audience.

Their tweets consisted of movie stills, photos of the new movie, posters, and exclusive video.

Turns out, these sneak peeks were just what their audience craved. Marvel saw their user engagement spike, and #IronMan3 trended organically three times throughout the campaign.

Marvel UKView on Twitter

Action Steps:

– When you want to hype up an event, the first step is to create a hashtag.
– About two weeks before the event, start tweeting interesting content related to that event. Keyword being interesting. Using rich media can help.
– Monitor both the hashtag and the name of the group or event, and engage with other users to keep the conversation going.

12) Ask To Receive

Part of Arby’s marketing strategy is to grow their email database to better reach customers with content. To do so, they posted tweets to entice customers to sign up.

They targeted different keywords like #free and #coupons, experimented with different messages to see which drew the best response, and always included a strong call to action asking customers to sign up.

They added 400 customers to their email list in the first six months of the campaign, and many of those customers retweeted the promotions.

Arby'sView on Twitter

Action Steps:

– Include a call to action in your bio and in your twitter background.
– Make it easy to sign up after they have clicked through. The fewer the clicks the better.
– Mention your e-newsletter or email-exclusive deals to your followers once in awhile to remind them of the value your emails provide.

13) Provide Real-Time Tech Support

The Xbox support feed has tweeted over 1.5 million times, and they hold the Guinness World Record for being the most responsive brand on Twitter.

They deserve the title, because they provide real-time solutions to tech problems. They make themselves available to quickly answer any and all questions related to the Xbox, and their customers love it.

If they can’t answer a question in 140 characters or less, they will point you to a link that can.

XboxAction Steps:

– Respond to frustrated customers as quickly as possible.
– Prepare a FAQ page on your website that you can point customers to.
– If you can’t manage to monitor the feed 24/7, make your hours of operation clear and bold in your bio.
– Understand the intricacies of using the @ sign.

Final Thoughts

When marketers first started using Twitter to connect with customers, I doubt they fully understood how versatile the social network actually was.

The 13 examples above are only a handful of ways to use Twitter to increase your reach, encourage engagement, and make more sales. Don’t be limited by what you see here. Start brainstorming how to leverage your Twitter feed to engage with customers in new, unique ways.

How have you been using Twitter to engage with customers? Should your brand be on the list?

Share your story in the comments.

Image: Flickr