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The 5 Commandments of Twitter Branding Success

How perceptive is your Twitter business strategy? As your reach grows and your brand becomes more engaged, it’s naturally more difficult to keep up with a prolific output that keeps your followers interested, shares valuable content, and creates buzz that brings you more followers.

There are five commandments to achieving and maintaining branding success on Twitter:

  1. Quality over quantity
  2. Be HUMAN!
  3. Be the messenger
  4. Slice the pie right
  5. Remain flexible

1. Quality Over Quantity

Without value, a number (followers, tweets, etc.) is meaningless

While this #1 rule applies to nearly every aspect of Twitter, you want to focus on building up a reputable, socially connected, relevant user base for your brand. Rather than find as many followers as possible, your primary goal is to align with the people, companies and brands that reflect your brand and add value to your social presence.

Trusted brands on Twitter have optimized follower lists, making it easier for them to weed out the spam and cultivate relationships with both customers and other industry notables. Keeping consistent, relevant, and updated following and followers lists will present your brand as an active, trusted resource in many verticals.

2. Be HUMAN!

No one wants to interact with a perpetually regurgitating self-promotion machine

If you were at a large social gathering, would you choose to spend a lot of time with people who mentioned only their latest opportunities, awards, job postings, seminars, and sales pitches? Especially when the rest of the group is fascinating, hilarious, informative, crazy, and/or brilliant, with interactive media to back it up?

twitterThe importance of being human on Twitter cannot be overstated. A completely impersonal account tweeting nothing but self-promotional links is not bringing anything to the conversation and will most likely fail. These accounts are instantly recognizable to engaged users who come to expect every tweet to be a 140-character sales pitch or self-congratulation/self-promotion. These accounts are the Internet equivalent of a television station playing commercials 24 hours a day, and the result is essentially anti-advertising. In addition to facing a marketing platform failure, these companies risk their images: Users find it offensive when a company doesn’t take the time to understand a communication channel before using it to essentially spam their audience. (I call these accounts ‘Plaxidents’. Don’t bring your marketing gun to the Twitter party if you’re only going to shoot yourself in the foot.)

Using Twitter the right way creates and maintains advantageous relationships, and everyone can play. Whatever your industry or location, there are some human constants everyone will discuss (the weather, Black Friday, holidays, etc.).

Humans talk about the weird, the funny, the everyday minutia. So should you.

3. Be the messenger

Act as a consistent conductor for stimulating, useful, and sometimes just plain entertaining information

twitterNo time to create content to share? You get to be the messenger – remembered for bringing something great to your followers (and the followers of those who retweet, and so on) without the cost and time of being the creator. In the real world, this sounds like a slippery slope to plagiarism, or at least alarming laziness. In the Twitter world, it assembles itself into a neat little everybody-wins scenario.

Take a hypothetical company, CRM Co. It shares a link to a piece about a start-up whose sales force software beta test was recently completed, with terrific results. The start-up is still small and has little to no Twitter following. When CRM Co., with their industry-strong following, tweets the link, they set in motion a domino effect of positive results:

  1. The small publication sees a dramatic increase in web traffic, leading to a broader audience and opening up additional revenue streams. WIN
  2. The followers of CRM Co. find themselves reading a great piece of content that’s tailored to their interests: trending, timely, relevant and useful. WIN
  3. CRM Co. builds on an association in their followers’ minds between the CRM Co. brand and, essentially, something awesome. WIN

4. Slice the Pie Right

This magical trifecta is the reason business accounts should occasionally share things that are not industry- or business-related – things individuals would tweet personally. A YouTube video that cracked up your entire office, for instance. Or an infographic on Bond. Maybe your excitement about the outcome of a big game.

Peppering professional branding and industry tweets with an occasional bit of light-heartedness will strengthen the positive associations of your brand and add that we’re-not-a-bot touch. So, while one can’t draw a direct line from a tweet linking to an adorable laughing baby straight to business profit, I posit that the line, though incredibly indirect, is there and effective.

You should generally aim for the following balance of tweet types:

  • 70% – Trends, news, stories of interest
  • 20% – Direct interaction with other accounts
  • 10% – Non-industry interesting or funny ‘Human’ posts


5. Remain Flexible

This is the digital age. Moore’s Law doesn’t seem to effectively measure growth in the social media/social networking industry. Everything I’ve written here could be outdated, inaccurate or detrimental by the time Zuckerberg turns 30.

Bend in the wind, or you’ll break in the storm!


Look for coming posts from Heather on Twitter Do’s (and one big Don’t), as well as a look at some of her favorite Twitter tools.

About Heather

Short. Loud. Literary. Enthusiastic. Mostly in that order.

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