What Can You Learn from These 6 Companies That Thrive On Twitter?

You may be able to argue about what is the best way to approach Twitter; but you can’t question the benefits of being on Twitter. It’s not just reserved for small, niche companies. I’ll feature some big companies who are succeeding on Twitter by engaging with their followers and giving them valuable information.

If you need a refresher on why a brand should be on Twitter, here are six quick stats:

Why should you actively be on Twitter?

  • 50% of users say that they are more likely to buy from a brand after they follow them on Twitter.1
  • Having a social media button next to your product can (in some cases) positively affect buying decisions.2
  • Twitter has been shown to increase sales by bringing in more traffic to your site.3
  • Customers who are engaged in social media are more likely to buy and recommend.4
  • Twitter shoppers spent more money than Google shoppers this past holiday season.5
  • 60% of people say they are more likely to recommend the company after following them on Twitter.6

Despite a recent study that says Facebook is better with engagement than Twitter, it’s still vital for most companies to have a presence on Twitter. The problem is that there are many brands who view Twitter as simply an advertising platform. They don’t aim to engage, but rather to sell.

The brands that get the most out of Twitter are the ones who use it correctly. Below are 6 brands that are taking full advantage of Twitter.

JetBlue

Jet Blue twitter profile 2012

JetBlue’s brand page on Twitter shows that they use Twitter as a customer service platform. Almost every tweet is an @ reply.

On a few occasions they use Twitter to promote:

jet blue awards tweet

JetBlue often does an occasional contest for their Twitter followers.

What you can learn from JetBlue:

JetBlue responds quickly to customer service questions on Twitter. They don’t take any days off (just like their airlines) and are there to help at any time. If your brand is going to go on Twitter for customer service, it’s important to be committed. According to JetBlue,

“Our goal would be to make ourselves available, help whenever possible, and to show that our brand is built by real people who care about our customers.”

They are going where their customers are and being there to help them, not to help themselves by constantly pushing press releases. JetBlue is promoting their brand by having great customer service. It’s a win-win: customers get service on Twitter, while JetBlue publicly displays their quick and responsive service.

Whole Foods

whole food twitter account 2012

It wouldn’t be much of a list if Whole Foods wasn’t on it. With nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers, it might be tempting for Whole Foods to push product. But they didn’t get that many followers by spamming. Check out their Twitter feed and you’ll see them sharing recipes, @ replying and retweeting.

What you can learn from Whole Foods:

Whole Foods is there to provide value in any way possible. It appears that their goal is not to increase sales by using Twitter, but to serve customers. Be there to give your audience value in the niche that you serve.

If you sell nutritional supplements, offer health advice and put useful content on your site that you can link to. If you sell clothes, offer some of the latest fashion trends. Any business can provide value without having to sell something.

Staples

staples twitter account 2012

Much like the other brands on this list, Staples doesn’t leave any engagement on the table. Their banner isn’t used as an advertisement; instead they use it to get customer feedback. They only promote a couple times a day, often times asking questions to engage:

how do you beat that 2:30 feeling?

staples case of the mondays tweet

What you can learn from Staples:

Staples uses Twitter to gather customer feedback and support. Many brands like Staples get the information they hear from customers on Twitter and report it to others in the company. This helps them better understand their customer, which when used effectively can improve a product. See if it’s possible to implement strategy this in your company.

Dell

Dell Twitter Account 2012

Dell combines it all – engagement, promotions, photo sharing and retweets (shows that they’re paying attention). They are able to keep followers informed of what Dell is up to without spamming.

What you can learn from Dell:

Dell has multiple Twitter accounts. Their Dell Outlet account has reportedly brought in over $2 million in sales within the first 2 years of operation. They had a 34% conversion rate for turning ‘ranters’ into ‘ravers’ by having the Dell Cares and the Dell Cares PRO Twitter accounts.

It’s important that if you want to constantly promote and offer sales on Twitter, you should consider making a separate Twitter handle for it. They don’t force customer service, advertising and general Dell news all on one account. Be organized so you can give customers a choice on what to follow or who to tweet if it’s right for your brand.

Red Cross

red cross twitter account 2012

Some would say that the Red Cross twitter stream is a disaster news service. They provide video, photos and retweets to help get people information. If you view some of their tweets, the Red Cross is a lot like a close friend:

a red cross tweet

They provide tips and how to get help when you need it. They are there to be of value and service to their followers. They know what their role is and they stay true to it on Twitter.

What you can learn from the Red Cross:

Find your voice and remain authentic to that on Twitter. Don’t forget why you started your company in the first place. Stay true to it on Twitter by providing value for the follower. Give them information that they can use. By giving them this useful information, you could become the thought leader and the first place people go when they are in the market for what you’re selling.

Namecheap

namecheap twitter account 2012

It might seem odd for a domain registar to have a Twitter presence. But Namecheap has done it and managed to get over 90 thousand followers! One of the first things Namecheap did when they started their Twitter account was run a contest. This contest helped increase their followers from 200 to over 4,000 in one month. All of this also lead to a 20% increase in domain registrations!

What you can learn from Namecheap:

Namehceap proves that you don’t have to be the most exciting company to be effective on Twitter. Be there for your customers or anyone who wants to tweet you. Run contests and experiments to see what works.

There are many other brands that are doing an excellent job on Twitter–far more than just 6 companies. What’s important to keep in mind is that someone is voluntarily following you and they are reading your tweets. Value their time by giving them great information & engaging with them. It’s also important to keep in mind that many people join Twitter so they can get deals.

Every company is different. Some find it fitting to give customer support on Twitter, others opt not to. But what’s important is that company’s respond to tweets and engage with people.

“..these are the people that put the cash in your wallet and we are leaving these engagements on the table. It blows my mind.”

-Gary Vaynerchuk

Final Takeaways:

  • It doesn’t matter what industry your company is in, you can join Twitter and have an impact.
  • Be there to engage with users. Reply to tweets, be kind and helpful.
  • If you’re going to constantly advertise on your stream, it may be helpful to note this in the about section of your Twitter page.
  • Limit Twitter specific syntax. #’s, @’s or abbreviations can make the tweet more difficult to read and research has shown these are the most disliked tweets.
  • Even though Twitter limits your tweets to 140 characters, it’s still important to keep your tweets as short as possible.
  • Many people follow brands because their customers of the brand or because they want to be “in the know” about the company. Perhaps make company announcements on Twitter, share behind the scenes pictures and show the faces of the company. Exclusivity is a powerful thing.
  • Be of value, whether it’s saving them money by intermittently offering deals or providing them with content that only your brand can provide.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo is a guest blogger for KISSmetrics, you can find him on Twitter here. You can also follow him on Google+.

  1. It seems so obvious to create a separate Twitter account for sending out regular promotions, but I’ve never really thought about it. This is a great tip. Also, looking at Twitter as the platform for breaking news about your company makes a lot of sense. It’s what a lot of celebrities do. Why not your company? If possible I’d love to see more info on smaller companies getting results from Twitter.

  2. great article.
    i use http://itweetlive.com to connect with more people , searching for tweets and measuring the engagement level.

  3. Nice, really like the start of the article with the points on why to be active on Twitter. What I have seen Hubspot and others do with a list like that is have a “tweet this” button after each. That makes it easy for readers to quickly make use of the facts/data and gets the post spread more.

  4. Great analysis, Zach. What those who don’t really “get” Twitter yet usually forget is that the important part of Social Media is the word “SOCIAL” – in other words, interacting with live people instead of one-way broadcasting is what separates strong use of Twitter from letting it become just another channel to push your message.

    The reason NameCheap became my domain registrar of choice and I’m adding them to my AAA recommended pages and to my heavily promoted Brand Advocacy and Brand Evangelist pages is because they hired the very best (@Tamar) to manage their Twitter account.

    That on top of their having the most usable site sealed the deal, and as I renew domains and mentor bloggers they’re the registrar I recommend because I know when an issue or question comes up Tamar is there to get us an answer.

    Their presence on Twitter paid off for NameCheap when GoDaddy supported SOPA, Reddit users called for a boycott and to move domains, and influencers jumped on the bandwagon. The easiest way to recommend any business in shorthand is by using their Twitter username.

    That allows us to direct others to their Website even on blogs and in content where we are not permitted to link to their sites – and makes it easy to spread the word about them far and wide in seconds – directly to other influencers and to any of our 10s of 1000s of followers who are “eavesdropping” on what we do and say.

    I have no doubt that NameCheap more than any other registrar got the bulk of that new business that GoDaddy deserved to lose – all because they understand customer service, Web site usability, and social media interaction.

  5. Jitesh Navlani Mar 26, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Its very obvious to have a brand on twitter but using in an appropriate way is a bit challenge.Here all the 6 brands are doing well in providing the customer service and will be good for long run.Quite good article!!!!!!

  6. It doesn’t matter what industry your company is in, you can join Twitter and have an impact.

    Yes it does matter….

  7. I was surprised by some of these statistics, but this article really made it hit home how important it is to be engaging on twitter. Thanks for the article

  8. Hi Zach,

    One more thing we can learn is that they all have a custom background designed for their twitter profiles, part of the whole brand engagement, it shows how serious they are on this social media channel. It costs peanuts to have a clean and professional background designed nowadays.

    Ilias

  9. Thanks for this info. As a newly published author twitter has been a real cool way to build relationships. Im learning that there is a reason its called “social media” the idea is to be social.

  10. I really like what Staples did. Does that count as a “call to action”? It seems like it is more organic engagement, but it’s also technically a call to action.

  11. I read your all your posts, I learn a lot from them, have a little suggestion… Fix the horizontal scroll of this page, looks like its not on purpose. The content on the post by “Zach” it’s getting out of the content. :-) Keep up the great tips
    Thanks

  12. I tend not to leave many remarks, but after browsing a
    few of the comments here What Can You Learn from These 6 Companies That Thrive On Twitter?
    . I do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be only me or do
    some of the responses look like they are coming from brain dead visitors?
    :-P And, if you are posting at other sites, I would like
    to keep up with you. Would you make a list of all of your social sites like
    your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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