When Jack Dorsey launched Twitter way back in 2006, the sole purpose was to introduce microblogging to netizens with a social touch. Little did Dorsey know that brands will come to him to create extensive impressions and make ‘trending’ a regular activity.
According to Meghana Bhatt, Executive Creative Director, Webchutney, typically a brand’s Twitter campaign brief includes at least one or more of the following:
• A hashtag that the brand thinks will ‘trend’
• A strategy to invite followers and others to share their tweets on the topic
• Picking the best tweets and rewarding them
“Many a times, brands have mainstream or at least an overall digital campaign, and use Twitter to give that campaign a certain additional visibility and push. Hence, usually in such cases, the brand would talk about its main campaign and pick a line from it, perhaps, to generate buzz via Twitter. On rare occasions, brands also look to do Twitter-exclusive campaigns, in which case, they would like the entire idea to start and grow and thrive over the Twitter platform itself,” shared Sanjay Mehta, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Social Wavelength.
Hashtags gone wrong
No matter how lofty a brand’s goals are when it uses hashtags, there are always individuals ready to use them to drag it into a completely different conversation.
Dinesh Swamy, Digital Creative Leader, BBDO Proximity recalls few such hashtags “#MyShaadiDotComPartner – this was recently done by Shaadi.com. My dig at this would be, ‘Use the hashtag and lucky ones could win a free partner’; that would have been really funny. Some more funny brand hashtags that I can remember would be #BreakUpDiaries by MTV, #BechDeQuiz by OLX, etc. Some of the comments on these were hilarious.”
exchange4media speaks to digital experts to understand if Indian brands are giving enough thought to their hashtags and how they can maintain a healthy Twitter communication.
It is essential for brands to push messages that are worth talking about. Random conversations will be not taken seriously by users. “The trick is to keep conversations meaningful and relevant,” emphasised Yashraj Vakil, Chief Executive Officer, Red Digital.
“Create content which matters to both, your followers and other Twitter users. Twitter is the best medium to redirect users to your content, use it. Engage publishers who will help spread your message and lead authenticity to what you say. Finally I want to add that getting a handle or hash tag to trend is not a solution. Yes, it’s a high for the agency and the brand, then what? I am an ardent Twitter user and its hurts to see five out of 10 trending topics floated by brands every day,” added Vakil.
Consumers respect brands that are responsive and serious about their social communication. “First rule of Twitter – never say what you want to say. Wait and see what people have to say. Then pile on or associate with the hashtag that’s trending. This will definitely ensure you have a healthy conversation with your followers. However, stay away from sentiments. Don’t attempt to piggyback on news when it conveys extremely negative information,” said Swamy.
According to Mehta, Twitter gives a brand an opportunity to have multiple, direct and genuine conversations with their customers or prospects. What would a brand do if someone walked into their store or their showroom and asked questions? Would they plaster them with advertising material, or try to honestly answer the questions? That's the exact same strategy that brands should try and adopt on Twitter as well.
Be ‘obviously’ creative
Twitter is all about being witty, slapstick and voicing opinions on a current affair. Conversations on Twitter collect around hashtags. If a brand wants to start a conversation, it is very essential for brands to introduce a hashtag which is obvious, yet creative. Tweeting with the right hashtag is a great way to send a brand’s message not just to your followers, but to everyone who is tuned into that conversation. Hashtags are most powerful when brands use them judiciously. It’s also important for brands to centralise usage around one hashtag; that way the brand’s message won't be spread too thin.