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Treading the Twitter Tightrope!


Another day, another Twitter beef! The newspapers and magazines rarely print an issue without reference to an argument or issue that’s been taking place on good old Twitter, but although most of them seem to involve Taylor Swift or a member of One Direction, brands are often in the spotlight for their conduct on social media.

Just this week, dating app Tinder has come a cropper in the eyes of the media as they unleashed a 31-Tweet tirade in response to a Vanity Fair article, which heralded the app as being the harbinger of the “dating apocalypse”. The Twitter onslaught was apparently thought out and planned as opposed to the work of one disgruntled Tinder employee, and aimed to highlight and challenge some of the points in the feature that they disagreed with, but it came across in the eyes of many like a rather cringe-worthy rant.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to a brand’s conduct on Twitter, but the social media channel has been around long enough now for good practice to be engrained into an organisation’s social media strategy.

Here are some top tips for treading the Twitter tightrope…

•Complaints and negative tweets need to be acknowledged as soon as possible. If a customer Tweets a brand directly about poor service or products, reply immediately, take them offline and deal with the points made in a professional way.

•Be human! Social media is just that – social. Twitter and Facebook aren’t just places to share company news in a corporate, one-way communication street. Getting the right voice is important, and portraying your brand’s personality is crucial. Both O2 and Three hit the nail on the head recently with a rather funny Twitter “war” concerning free pizza  for a disappointed competition winner, and Legoland Windsor did well to respond to a recent Facebook complaint letter that went viral and was shared over 7,300 times.

•Have a clear social media strategy. Get a plan in place for regular, planned and insightful content, but be prepared to take what comes every day, roll with the news agenda and share useful tips, articles, quotes and jokes – as long as it is engaging and relevant to your audience. Do sense-check shared content carefully though, unlike this recent example by Bic South Africa (eeeek!).

•Don’t rant a’la Tinder – Twitter isn’t the place. A well-toned, calm and engaging blog piece to communicate their points may have been a better idea in the Vanity Fair case.

•If you are a social media strategist for a large organisation that has a high volume of customer feedback Tweets, set up a separate Twitter account for customer service. Nike does this very well, as does Asda.

•If you do have a great stunt idea that could go viral (we LOVE Snickers’ response to Jeremy Clarkson’s recent punch up and subsequent sacking), think it through including how it will be portrayed by the media, run it past the team and (to borrow a phrase from Nike) – just do it. Great ideas can gather momentum and gain traction for your brand in the blink of an eye.

•Don’t just respond to direct Tweets, search for other brand references and engage with people who mention your brand or services – create a new audience, chat and keep it informal.

Treading the Twitter tightrope can be tricky indeed, some may say it’s an art form rather than a science. What are your favourite social media wins and fails? Tweet us @JAM_Manchester


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