I don’t need to be the man who cried “obvious.” Twitter marketing is already well established as a way for online and offline businesses to promote themselves, their products, and drive website traffic. I’m not here to convince you of that. What I am here to talk to you about is how badly some brands miss the mark.
Are you using Twitter to push your brand message, but getting nowhere? It may come down to a poor choice of voice, or not having one at all. To inspire you I’ve gathered examples from my three favorite brands on Twitter. I’ll explain what they’re doing well so that you know how to imitate them, and I’ll try to steer you clear of common mistakes.
Beyond a basic how to use Twitter guide, what is there for the serious marketer that wants to excel at the 140 character game. Well, to be a bit cheeky, it’s having character in those 140 characters. You’re going to see that all three of these accounts have a voice all to themselves, and their fans respond to it.
By the end of this article I want you to think about what your brand voice can be on Twitter, and I want you to comment below on a possible idea you’d like to work on.
Taco Bell keeps it crunchy
The Taco Bell Twitter account has over 1.5 million followers. That’s quite the audience. The way they have built it is by, seemingly, not caring. Their brand voice is one of pure silliness, the kind of account that someone would post to only during the beginnings of a munchy-phase on 4/20.
Why does this irreverence for the supposedly serious nature of marketing work so well? Because the vast majority of people who LOVE Taco Bell, not the casual eaters, are looking for munchies and quick snack food at the end of a munched-out day! Their audience isn’t full of the type of people looking for sophistication, and even if there are some they aren’t going to Taco Bell expecting to find it.
This tweet here should be one of those motion posters on some college dorm room wall:
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) April 15, 2015
385 retweets for that, but it’s nothing next to this tweet:
Taco Bell on a Tuesday. — Taco Bell (@tacobell) April 15, 2015
A tweet which, I assume, references I Love Makonnen’s song “On a Tuesday.” This shows Taco Bell’s mastery of not only their audience’s language, but of pop culture for driving retweets. That was 1,400 retweets for a 5 word tweet.
I’m also quite amused by their ongoing quest to have a taco emoji developed:
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) April 8, 2015
They’re been tweeting this out for months; a perfect nerd reaction to wanting something is to never give up. Taco Bell has firmly established its brand voice on Twitter, and it continues to help them reach their audience. The mistake that you can’t make here is thinking you can be the next Taco Bell when your audience isn’t ready for this type of content. Read the next example to see what can be done with a serious, yet playful, tone.
Delta tries to put some fun in flying
Everyone, the world over, has a story about hating on an airline. Even if you haven’t flown yourself you still know someone who was late/had bags lost/sat next to a person who gave them no shoulder room. Delta’s Twitter account takes this into account and tries to make people laugh – even when they’re ready to strangle someone. Where Delta really shine is in the personal tweets which don’t get retweets or rapidly expand their audience. It’s in one-on-one interactions with their followers, and those who have flown with them, that build their account up one at a time. Just look at their replies section on Twitter and see how they really care: Every single thank you is another opportunity to build a positive experience. The airline industry needs those stories badly, and Delta is actually working on making them happen. This is the best kind of proactive work you can do on Twitter. When it comes to the tweets they send out they keep it professional, but not “pat down by the TSA” professional:
They have fun facts like this all over their Twitter account. Their hashtag, #nerdifly, features more in depth nerd content:
— Delta (@Delta) November 10, 2014
Delta has combined a knowledgeable public face with intimate customer care. This is exactly what you want from an airline when you’re in the sky, why should their Twitter account be any different? If you’re trying to imitate this voice on your Twitter account, don’t make the mistake of forgetting the fun. The trip from “informative but fun,” to “informative but more boring than grandpa’s stories” can be a short and perilous one.
Oh Captain, my Captain Crunch
Full disclosure: I was always more partial to Honey Nut Cheerios than Captain Crunch. The problem is that Buzz the Bee’s Twitter account is weak, while Captain Crunch is killing it. What the good folks at General Mills have done is they have taken their mascot from the box, and their commercials, and given him a Twitter account. The Devumi Twitter account has taken a similar approach. All tweets are by the Devumi Gorilla that you see in the profile image. He has his penchant for climbing buildings and eating bananas, with weekend spent sipping banana daiquiris firmly established. Over on Captain Crunch’s account, having him doing the tweeting makes from some really, really silly content:
They also have a hashtag that they join in on regularly, #TasteTestTuesday, which is pretty fun:
— Cap’n Crunch (@RealCapnCrunch) April 7, 2015
What’s the key to their success? They have taken the company mascot to a whole new level. No longer do mascots have to be images confined to boxes, they can now be an online entity that you can communicate with and follow. They have combined this with a touch of Taco Bell’s silliness and come out a true winner. The mistake you don’t want to make here is having too many cooks in the kitchen, as my mom would say. Having too many people post as the Captain can make for an uneven voice and presentation. It also breaks the fourth wall for me when ‘The Captain” posts something that he’s doing and you see the arm of the person doing it…
…and they’re not wearing his signature coat. How much would a prop coat cost, really?? Just a sleeve?!? Come on!
Do you remember my challenge from above? What sort of ideas have you come up with for your Twitter marketing voice? Let’s talk about them below!
Matthew Yeoman is the Devumi.com social media blog writer, and a social media analyst. You’ll find him on the Devumi blog Wednesday and Friday with the latest developments on getting Twitter followers, YouTube and Vimeo views, SoundCloud plays, Instagram fans, and Pinterest followers.