We’ve come a long way since the Wild West days of the digital frontier we call social media.
Early adopters- those individuals who embrace the latest and greatest technology in the spirit of adventure and education- were quick to push the boundaries of this newly connected, high-speed world. Twitter emerged on the scene in early 2006 to lightning-paced growth and a network of highly technical adopters. Nothing like it had ever existed in the world of digital communications, and users were apt to make it their playground.
The Teen Years
In the early days, networks of like-minded individuals used Twitter to gossip about work, push their opinions about topics ranging from breakfast to international policy, and communicate with one another in genuinely innovative ways.
Like conversations with a typical teenager, snark and sass ran rampant and were often inflammatory. It was acceptable to make a negative impression as long as it brought visibility and multiple shares. Luckily for brands, passive aggression is out, and positivity and information are in.
As the community matures, Twitter has positioned itself as the voice of “what’s happening now”. For many- including the growing ranks of less tech savvy users and brands- it is their first news source. Customers, fans, and friends still enjoy humor, but want more. Businesses need to adjust their marketing strategy accordingly.
What is Expected
Be present – It isn’t enough for brands to jump into the conversation with one or two tweets a week. You risk drowning in the static noise of competition and distracting communication. Instead, your audience wants you to interact, to seek them out, and to provide a safe forum for discussion. Make your mark by keeping the conversation constant and original.
Monitor what people are saying about you and gauge sentiment regularly. You might even find customers you can serve without them seeking you out; don’t let helpfulness fall by the wayside.
Be human – Brand managers in the modern era of social media communication have gotten into the bad habit of setting and forgetting. Instead of promoting and engaging in useful and original conversations, many branded accounts rely heavily on automated content curation for their interactivity.
Don’t fall into this trap. You’re not a newsreel or a ticker tape. You’re a real place where real people work and have real conversations. Leverage the human element to build a loyal and engaged customer base.
Set a Strategy – As with any profit centered aspect of your business, your Twitter activity needs a strategy plan. This means including social media training for employees at all levels of your organization. They will serve as ambassadors for your brand and build customer relationships by being positive and invested in your products.
Strategy planning for social also means defining your Twitter voice. You can be spicy, adventurous, authoritative, technical, or even goofy. You cannot, however, be anything but positive and professional when dealing with your customers.
This is the age of digital maturity for Twitter and your voice deserves to be there. Great brands recognize that we’re long past the snark and gossip stage. Use your daily interactions to gauge your audience and use the voice most effective with them.
To be heard through the noise, make sure your brand is relevant, engaging, original, and above all, nice.
Want to hear more on this topic? Lorraine and I shared our thoughts on Twitter Voice on MTFW recently. Listen now: