Why Top Brands are Using Twitter to Interact

Second only to Facebook, Twitter has become one of the most-used social media platforms in the world, boasting real-time news updates, ways to communicate with friends publicly and privately, and plenty of entertaining posts. This app has become so popular, in fact, that as of 2019 there were 330 million monthly users with 145 million of those logging on daily. On top of that, there are around 500 million people accessing Twitter monthly without actually having an account, proving the sheer reach of the site. 

Of the hundreds of millions of users that app has attracted, 50 percent of them follow at least one brand and Twitter has twice the brand favorability as the same ads that are running on television. So how are B2C businesses taking advantage of this? They’re revolutionizing customer relations in a number of ways including interacting with their followers, direct messaging consumers who have questions, comments, or concerns, and bantering with other brands in order to gain “clout.” 

Continue reading to learn more about how Twitter has changed the way businesses and consumers interact. 

Customer Relations vs. Customer Service

First, it’s important to note that most brands are not just utilizing twitter for customer service, although that is a component of it. The real way they’re improving their images is through the practice of customer relations, which is similar to, but not the same as, customer service. 

The main difference between the two is that customer service is considered reactive, meaning the business and consumer only really interact when there’s a problem. Conversely, custom relations is all about being proactive, engaging with followers to build connections and loyalty before an issue gives them a reason to connect. By focusing on relations over service, businesses have been able to establish favorability among consumers and increase brand recognition. 

Interacting with the Consumer

Social media has sparked a million new ways to engage with customers — it’s not just about TV and print ads anymore. However, with a 280-character limit, and an average tweet length of just 33 characters, these interactions have to be short and sweet. By posting humorous memes related to their business, many brands have raised their profile because this is the type of content that is most likely to be shared, or “retweeted”. When you think about it, this makes sense — would you scroll through a company’s social media feed if it was all boring or spammy type posts? No! To stay interested, you want to see genuine, entertaining interactions. 

A great example of this is the 2017 conversation between a high school junior named Carter Wilkerson and the national fast-food chain Wendy’s. The teenager tweeted the restaurant asking how many retweets it would take for him to get free chicken nuggets for a year. The company’s official account responded with “18 million” and thus, #NuggsForCarter was born. Users all over the site began advocating for him, and while his tweet did not reach the agreed-upon numbers, it did, however, garner an astounding 3.4 million retweets. It remains the third most retweeted tweet of all time, sitting in the top 5 with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Barack Obama. 

The #NuggsForCarter campaign, which started as a joke online, catapulted Carter Wilkinson to internet fame in April of 2017, even landing him a slot on The Ellen Show and a cameo in a Katy Perry music video. Sure, this may seem like it only benefited the teen, but what did he mention every time he cited the reason for his sudden notoriety? Wendy’s! The fast-food chain gained what seemed like an endless amount of great PR, and all they had to do was respond to a kid on Twitter (and give him free nuggets for a year  — which they did!) 

We never would have seen this type of interaction before Twitter, but now we see it all the time. Other companies have tried to emulate the success of Wendy’s and have actually done a pretty good job of it — to see brands interacting with followers just like the fast food did with Carter Wilkinson has become a norm. 

Addressing the Issues

Long gone are the days of calling corporate helplines or filing complaints through a company’s website when you have an issue. Because Twitter provides a quick, streamlined way to communicate with brands, many people have taken to the platform to address their questions, comments, and concerns, often publicly. Brands have been able to see their customers’ problems and respond to them directly, offering a more personalized route to solving them. 

For example, say you had a less-than-pleasant experience at an airport — airlines have been known to respond to flyers with information about their flights, lost luggage, and possible upcoming delays. Never before have consumers had this kind of access to the companies themselves, improving the quality of customer service and delivering answers in real-time. 

Gaining Clout

To have clout means to have power or influence, and in the world of social media, it usually refers to the impact of someone’s content. Many companies have taken to Twitter to gain clout through viral posts that show the fun sides of their business’ personalities and grab the attention of their audiences. 

A popular trend that many companies have participated in lately is to make digs at their competitors on Twitter and engage in witty banter. These back and forth clever retorts often come with no actual consequences — everyone knows it’s all in good fun — but work in the brands’ favor because they entertain the general public while keeping their names in the forefront of peoples’ minds. 

An example of a brand that excels at this is Denny’s, the breakfast diner. Despite being founded nearly 70 years ago, the restaurant is popular online with millennials and Gen Zers because of it’s relatable memes and current jokes that regularly garner thousands of retweets and likes. 

And Most Importantly… Marketing! 

The culmination of all of these uses of Twitter adds up to the perfect marketing storm: real-time updates, personalized customer interactions, and creative content that entertains consumers. In today’s world, people don’t want to wait for anything — social media has turned us into a society that demands more and more and more, all the time. Waiting for print and television ads to reach people isn’t going to cut it anymore, you also have to actively engage with your audience on a regular basis. 

Because the world of marketing is ever-changing, and the use of Twitter to establish brand identity and raise your professional profile is just getting started, it may be hard for you to keep up! If you’re looking for some extra help to develop your brand and increase interactions with consumers, contact Pinckney Marketing. We’d love to help create a stronger marketing strategy for your business. 

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