When it comes to Twitter and businesses, usually it’s a case of: They either get it or they don’t. There are a number of best practices associated
There are a number of best practices associated with social media use, and the way that big business and SMEs apply them will depend on their objectives. When it comes to Twitter for business, there are also brand guidelines to take into account, so it is quite a subtle art.
Here we take a look at five Twitter accounts that demonstrate best practice across the business world, and analyse their Tweets to see what we can learn from them.
Insurance isn’t the most interesting subject in the world, so for this reason, the team behind the Direct Line Insurance accounts deserve a lot of praise. They are almost unmatched in the empathy they show towards Twitter users; from a Directfix team which travels the country solving problems that Brits tweet about with the hashtag #directfix, to a caring side which resulted in free gifts being sent to Twitter users who had complained they were having a bad day! Direct Line also get the personal touch which is needed with social media exactly right, often signing their tweets with the name of the team member that wrote it.
— Direct Line (@DirectLine_UK) June 30, 2016
Not all airlines have a good track record on Twitter. In fact some have been known to ‘put their foot in it’ occasionally. But American Airlines, with many customers on both sides of the Atlantic, are very rarely anything but bang on the money.
Using a balanced mix of fun and irreverent tweets with those that are informative and helpful, their account is a credit to their business. They are extremely responsive, and make no bones about dealing directly with the complaints of customers in an upfront and honest manner. This is something which we have seen is greatly appreciated by many airline users. They make good use of photos; from celebrations for inaugural flights to shots from inside the hangars themselves, and there is a great emphasis on their workforce, from publicising charity initiatives to personal achievements. You don’t have to be an airline to admire AA’s Twitter strategy.
@jdeitcher2 We don't want you to miss your connection. We've protected you on the next flight out of LGA, just in case.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) July 5, 2016
That’s how to deal with customers!
As with many of the most effective tweeters, Sainsbury’s clearly operates a policy of not taking life too seriously, possibly on the basis that most users on Twitter won’t themselves. This populist approach was exemplified by a now infamous exchange between a customer and an unnamed member of the Sainsbury’s social media team. When Marty Lawrence tweeted the supermarket chain to explain his trouble with some salmon that was missing a “bar cod”, it sparked an hour long exchange between retailer and customer that dealt almost exclusively with fish-based puns. It might be odd to think that the Sainsbury’s representative was being paid for their efforts, but as we all know, brands that don’t take themselves too seriously are favourable in the eyes of many consumers.
@TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.
— Sainsbury's (@sainsburys) January 10, 2014
Let’s take an example from across the pond, and in this case an SME that has used Twitter to sky rocket its customer base above and beyond what it may have thought possible. Creme brulee is certainly not your typical streetfood, but San Francisco based street vendor Curtis Kimball built up a 10,000 strong Twitter following in next to no time after customers in the Californian city began tweeting the whereabouts of the cart every day, resulting in a social media hype campaign.
It was the Twitter form of word of mouth, and Kimball has been able to quit his job as a carpenter and concentrate on dishing out the desserts all day long. Each day Twitter users in San Francisco eagerly await the tweet he sends out to reveal the whereabouts of the creme brulee cart.
Staying stateside, another SME which has given itself the power to compete with the big boys through its Twitter activities is the boutique Manhattan-based Roger Smith Hotel. Faced with stiff competition in the New York business district, the hotel used Twitter to engage directly with those it considered important influencers on the social media network, and offered them a free night on the house.
This extension of hospitality to Twitter’s tastemakers has certainly paid dividends, and partly as a result of the Twitter campaign’s success, has given them a thriving community of 16,000 followers. But their Twitter activities don’t stop there. There is even a special Twitter kiosk set up in the lobby of the hotel to welcome guests that found about them through Twitter. Encouraging organic, positive feedback through Twitter can be a potent marketing weapon, and Roger Smith Hotel has proven itself to be one of the best exponents.