It’s the age of social media; there’s no denying it. However, while most brands credit that to keep up with the times, marketing must include social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, not many are doing it right.
Twitter can be an especially tricky platform. It’s best qualities are also double-edged swords. The platform moves quicker. It revels in engagement. It feels more personal. But, without an edit button, and with actions gaining traction within seconds of a post (a retweet is soo easy!), mistakes are also more noticeable, easily shareable.
What must a brand do?
They say experience is the best teacher, but who says it has to be your experience? You can learn what not to do from brands who learned them the hard way.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of don’ts that, hopefully, you aren’t doing and won’t be doing in the foreseeable future.
Let’s start with something simple.
Again, Twitter’s cornerstone is authenticity, personality. Your brand’s feed should be anything but monotonous. Don’t treat Twitter as a bulletin board where you just post updates about your brand.
Use photos and gifs, instead of just typing things out. Also, follow the “Golden Ratio” as a rule of thumb: 30% for owned content, 60% curated content (Yes! Don’t be afraid to share or retweet the exciting content you see online, as long as it’s in line with your brand), and 10% for promotional updates.
Fancy yourself a writer, huh? Just want to let everything flow out?
Well, you’d think with everyone on social media nowadays, writing a tweet or sharing a post would be second nature. But many brands, even big ones, find themselves caught up in their own web of word confusion.
Take Starbucks, for example. Read those lines again. So many words, so many ideas, but do you understand what they’re saying? What’s the message?
Remember, KISS (Keep It Short And Simple). Also, avoid using unnecessary words or verbal deadwood in your messaging. Tweets should be sharable, bite-sized nuggets that carry your brand’s personality.
Many brands think that the solution to owning Twitter lies in using the proper app. Yes, there are third-party services that are essential tools for managing social media accounts, but they should never be used as a crutch.
A person should be at the center of managing and maintaining your brand’s Twitter account. You shouldn’t rely on automatic replies, retweets, follows, and unfollows.
An extreme case of auto-generating content leading to huge problems was what happened to the New England Patriots back in 2014.
The @Patriots account took auto-generation to the next level. Anyone who retweeted the account’s #1MillionPatriots tweet was treated to an auto-generated image of their username on a New England Patriots jersey. It didn’t take long before accounts with offensive names jumped on the retweet bandwagon.
While novel at first, the New England Patriots failed campaign teaches the lesson that automation can be highly dangerous and should be used with care. Don’t gamble your brand’s reputation by depending on something you can’t control. Again, people should be at the center of your brand’s Twitter.
Be more sensitive and represent your market with care. You can never go wrong with a little more awareness of what’s happening around you.
At times, brands see trends as an easy means to be relevant. (Trends are at the center of social media.) But in this effort to ride on what people are talking about, brands may forget the reasons behind why a topic is trending.
Don’t use disasters and tragedies as a way to market your brand. You may tweet about it to sympathize, but don’t ever think you can latch a “1 retweet = donation” type of campaign to something causing people pain.
Don’t make light too of issues on gender, race, or current events that are a bit heavy. You don’t want to be dismissive of other people’s issues.
The same could also be said of the opposite—repurposing light-hearted trends and connecting them to weighty topics.
Take, for example, what happened to the United States Airforce. Wanting to ride on the whole Yanny/Laurel of 2018, the Airforce tweeted out an insensitive joke referencing the deaths of Taliban soldiers. The tweet was quickly deleted soon after.
Again, sensitivity is key.
In line with being sensitive, your brand should be sensitive too of the issues surrounding yourselves or your own industry. Many brands have committed this flaw and have paid the price in bad social media publicity.
Amidst employee strikes over low wages and other complaints regarding warehouse conditions, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in April of 2018, tweeted a video of him, on vacation, dog-sledding in Norway.
Netizens easily took notice and quickly pointed out how a company’s founder seems to be enjoying luxuries too much while his employees are complaining of living close to poverty.
Not all brands may be facing issues as big as Amazon, but the lesson here is being mindful of what your tweet.
This tip is a basic of social media but still worthy of reminding.
Again, in efforts to be quick, many brands send tweets in the spur of a moment. But again, Twitter has no edit button. Make a mistake, and someone can easily pick it up and retweet it to their followers.
There are countless examples of “harmless” mistakes like this becoming viral—from misspellings that lead to humorously offensive tweets to social media managers tweeting their own feelings under brand accounts. The solution is simple, re-read, and re-read before you tweet.
The last and simplest tip for not failing on Twitter? Handing things over to a professional.
If you’re a small brand, you may think that a good way to cut costs is by doing some tasks yourself. A job many business owners believe they can easily do is social media management.
Social media management, though accessible to anybody, isn’t as easy one may think of it to be. It is a role that needs experience too.
If you feel like you haven’t cracked how to handle your brand’s Twitter account, ask for help. There are many freelancers that may do the job for you for fairly economical rates. The ROI might just be worth it.
Social media is a risky game. If you’re small and agile, you can make the most out of experimenting. But for bigger name brands, we’re not saying you can’t be adventurous, but you have to be more calculated.
Take this article as a means to contemplate on the executions that you have been doing. You may just learn how to save your brand from failing on Twitter.