Be Twitter Wise

Twitter is the 140 character social media phenomenon that is considered one of the three most influential digital marketing platforms on earth, which also includes Facebook and LinkedIn.  Twitter is an SMS text messaging platform that allows its users to follow individuals and send text messages (Tweets) to their followers.  Twitter now has more than 646 million members generating more than 58 million Tweets per day or 1 billion Tweets every 4 days.

As a marketing tool, Twitter can be very effective if done correctly as the Follower groups can be quite large. The Top 3 People world-wide with the most Twitter followers are: Katy Perry (@katyperry) sporting 52,675,009, Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) singing out to 51,293,130, and Barack Obama (@BarackObama) presiding over 42,782,502 followers.  This list might also represent a social commentary on our perceived hero priorities.

NYPD_CollageRecently the New York Police Department (NYPD) launched what was to be a disastrous Twitter campaign in an effort to create an uncensored dialogue and communicate more effectively with their community.  With best intentions in mind, they created “My NYPD  “ and initiated the hashtag #myNYPD (a hash tag “#” is a way to simply track Tweets), in the hopes of getting people to Tweet and attach images of the NYPD doing nice things for and with the citizens of New York.  The effort proved otherwise when citizens of NY began posting image after image of police brutality.  As a result, similar hashtags sprang up around the U.S. with #MyLAPD, #MyCPD and #MyAPD.

While I am a strong proponent of “user generated content”, creating such an open ended, uncontrollable Twitter campaign was irresponsible.  At least on a blog or a forum the conversation can be moderated.  On LinkedIn and Facebook, there are some controls on what users can post and on Pinterest and Instagram, removing photos and comments are a snap.  Once a Tweet has been sent, it can be reTweeted an infinite number of time and be sent to peoples cellphones worldwide in an instant.

Great Examples Of Great Brands Using Twitter

Oreo Cookies (Kraft Foods)

During this year’s Super bowl they experienced blackout, which lead to touchdown for Oreo Cookies. The Oreo is only one of 180 brands that Kraft Foods own, but by far their most recognizable and creative.  Kraft’s offensive team were quick on their feet with their “Dunk In The Dark”, series of Tweets and reTweets such as “Power out? No problem you can dunk in the dark” Tweets. The fans rallied with 10’s of thousands of reTweets and original tweets playing off Kraft’s initial message.  These Tweets became more important than who actually won the game.


Starbuck’s @tweetacoffee campaign was very strategic by taking advantage of the spirit of giving during the holiday season this year by encouraging Twitter users to give the gift of a free Starbuck’s coffer to friends, relatives, and even strangers.  The Twitter Follower only needed to link their Twitter and Starbuck’s accounts and the user could Tweet a $5 gift card to their Followers, which could be redeemed on their phone.


This year’s WestJet’s holiday campaign “Christmas Miracle” brought a tear to my eye with their holiday video and Twitter campaign.  This Calgary, Canada based airline set up a virtual Santa Clause in a small kiosk in their Toronto airport terminal were 250+ people were getting ready to fly back to Calgary for the holidays.  The passengers got to interact with the video Santa and tell Santa what they would like for Christmas.  Once the flight was airborne, volunteers gathered gifts from CrossIron Mills and Best Buy.  The plane landed in the Calgary International Airport and the passengers went to collect their bags at the baggage carousel. Instead of suitcases coming off the conveyor belt, all of the gifts the passengers told Santa they wanted for Christmas each marked with their names on them.  WestJet used Twitter to share the link to this heartwarming video that drove nearly 36 million viewers to the YouTube. View video… 

McDonald’s Canada

McDonald’s Canada’s goal was to leverage their existing Twitter Followers to increase the number of new followers to their @McD_Canada’s address using specified keywords and hashtags.   They found that by using diverse set of keywords and hashtags the company began to reach viewers in many different demographics and with many different interests.  With only a budget of $15k USD, McDonald’s Canada saw an increase of more than 9,500 new Followers, resulted in more than 14,000 profile views throughout that campaign.  Twitter paid advertising included Promoted Tweets, Trends & Accounts.  McDonald’s Canada tested different keywords and bids to identify the greatest number of new followers.

Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza in the United Kingdom launched a Twitter campaign targeting the  lunch crowd called “Knock Down the Price of Pizza” campaign. Domino’s used the hashtag #letsdolunch asking their Followers to to Tweet using that hashtag. Every time someone Tweeted that hashtag, Domino’s reduced the price of their most popular pizza, the large Pepperoni by £0.01 driving the cost for that pizza from £15.99 down to £7.74.  This clever campaign increased sales during lunch, increased brand awareness, and brand engagement.

Top 25 Tips to Using Twitter The Right Way

Here are the Top25 Tips on how to use Twitter effectively.

  • Avoid using too many #Hashtags, which make Tweets confusing.
  • Avoid making your Tweets too long so people have to delete characters to reTweet.
  • Don’t post to the wrong account if you own multiple accounts.
  • Use different posting tools for different accounts.
  • Never ever sell from a Tweet.  You’ll get “flamed”.
  • Set up free Twitter Analytics such as Twitter, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial.
  • Use your analytics such as geographic area, peak hours, and influencers.
  • Size doesn’t matter, good content does. Good content gets reTweeted.
  • It’s more about your networks, networks, network.
  • Use current events & holidays to your advantage.
  • Create and Tweet creative, fun, and playful content.
  • Create a conversation with your Followers at all live events using #Hastags.
  • Interact with your Followers in real time.  People expect fast responses.
  • Be authentic, sincere, and transparency else, your customers will see right through you.
  • Listen! Be there to encourage good conversations and diffuse negative ones.
  • Use all of your other social media networks to drive Followers to your Twitter Account.
  • Use Twitter to drive “Likes” and “Links” on all of your other social networks.
  • If you are geo-targeted (do business within a small geographic area), discover a local need. 
  • Encourage customers interact with other customers.
  • Bring a human side to your brand. People buy from people, not brands.
  • Encourage people to talk.  Start provocative conversations.
  • Identify and cater to each specific target demographic.
  • Determine the exact right time to target your specific audience.
  • Offer incentives to purchase.
  • Used a celebrity endorsements when possible.

Lon Safko

Author of The Social Media Bible, The Fusion Marketing Bible, International Speaker & Trainer

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