Twitter has given major corporations an opportunity to make themselves seem more human. And while there are more than a few horror stories of disgruntled employees getting hold of the login details and causing havoc, in general social media is an effective marketing tool.
Here are some of the most imaginative uses of Twitter that big businesses have concocted recently, from the subtle to the in-your-face.
#1. Hidden Hilarity
Last year a slow-burning Twitter concept finally paid off for fast food giant KFC, when an eagle-eyed customer noticed that the brand’s official account was only following 11 others.
As well as the five original members of pop group The Spice Girls, six apparently random men called Herb were on the list. For fans of the brand, the reference was obvious; it’s the 11 herbs and spices that are used to create KFC’s signature fried chicken flavour.
The company then capitalised on the attention it had earned with this stunt by painting the person who had uncovered this secret being given a piggy-back by founder and mascot Colonel Sanders.
This is the kind of playful fun that audiences eat up and really plays to the strengths of Twitter as a platform. No doubt other brands are scrambling to be similarly inventive with their follows.
#2. Multiplayer Domination
Microsoft got creative with Twitter in 2017 when building hype around strategy video game Halo Wars 2.
The account @ISA1307_2 was set up to represent the game’s artificial assistant Isabel. Users could harness the #TwitterHaloWars hashtag to create a direct message group with this AI personality and participate in an interactive game within the app itself.
While it was possible to play solo against the AI, the main aim was to get people to tag their friends’ usernames and go head to head in a multiplayer battle of wits via Twitter.
This technically challenging achievement is definitely impressive and also managed to drive plenty of engagement ahead of the full game’s release. It’s the kind of thing that smaller accounts like Casumo get right, combining intriguing content with offers and gaming links that mesh with their loyal target audience.
#3. Simple Yet Effective
Perhaps the biggest Twitter story of 2017 involving a corporate account came about from a brand’s response to a customer’s tweet, not through unique content creation in its own right.
The #NuggsForCarter campaign was impossible to ignore when it gained momentum last spring, earning plenty of attention for American restaurant chain Wendy’s.
Unassuming chicken nugget fan Carter Wilkinson used Twitter to ask Wendy’s how many retweets it would take for him to be rewarded with a year’s supply of his favourite fried treat. The short, sweet reply of ‘18 Million’ from the brand’s account was enough to make social media history when the screenshot went viral.
At the moment this tweet has a little over 3.6 million RTs, and spawned a whole host of copycat attempts aimed at other corporate accounts.
What Wendy’s got right here is the sheer size of the task they set in the first place. 18 million was the goldilocks amount; high enough to be funny, but not so high that it was obviously unattainable. It helped the campaign build momentum and shows the power of the perfectly formed reply on Twitter.
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#4. Creative Coherence
If you’ve ever picked up a smoothie made by beverage brand Innocent, you will no doubt have noticed that the copy on the label is quirky, compelling and generally positive. It’s what helped get it noticed in the first place, and is an ethos that it has maintained in the social space.
On Twitter it may not have as big of an audience as some of the other companies covered so far, but the way it uses its account is definitely worthy of mention.
It’s all about gentle humour and consistency of tone. From puns to product giveaways, it harnesses this platform methodically and doesn’t flood people’s timelines with unnecessary posts that might be annoying.
Tying in its Twitter content to things like the changes of the season, events such as Pancake Day and other relevant topics helps Innocent make headway in a crowded marketplace. It sets an example that others should follow.