Twitter Role Models to Learn From

Twitter Role Models to Learn From

15th April 2014

Would you like to listen to this article instead of reading it? You can. The audioversion can be played here (or downloaded via this link)


Twitter can be used in many ways, for many reasons. Even the founders of Twitter disagreed on what it could be used for best. But we can say that Twitter is playing a big role in digital strategies for brands. Whether it’s for branding or customer service purposes, Twitter is on the agenda with many brands, both big and small.

Unfortunately not every brand gets it right. Some just don’t know what to do with Twitter and others use it as an old fashioned billboard. We’ve all been guilty of that. But when we want to learn we should always look at the good and the bad. Today I’d like to focus on the good: which brands are doing a good job on Twitter? And why? Below you can find six brands that do a great job on Twitter, you could call them Role Models, all doing well for different reasons. Go check them out and then let me know what brands you feel are doing a good job.

Communicating and sticking to your brand

It’s been said many times before already: Social Media is not about sending, it’s about communicating. But still, we want to send out something…

The brand that does well: Brooklyn 99

What are they?
Brooklyn 99 is one of the new hit comedy shows. It is broadcast on Fox and is conquering the world of comedy shows rapidly, even being named ‘best comedy show of 2013’ by some. The TV show is about a New York Police precinct (’99’) and how they as a group interact. The show is popular and so is their Twitter account with currently over 29,300 followers.

What are they doing well?
So why is this account a ‘role model’? When it comes to Twitter they are doing a lot of things right. They are not just sending, they are actually communicating with their followers. They are retweeting them, asking them questions about the show (“Did you watch last night’s episode of #brooklyn99? What was your favorite moment?”) and are ‘adding’ to retweets.

[Tweet “On Twitter @Brooklyn99FOX really sticks to their brand: humor and communication are key”]

Brooklyn 99 is a comedy show. Which means people want to enjoy themselves and have fun. The Twitter account reflects that. By sending out ‘fun’ tweets, bot simple text ones as ones with images (memes in some cases) they reflect the show. It is fun to follow them, as it is to watch the show. This is not a brand trying to be funny on Twitter, it is a brand that knows what it stands for and understands its audience. This shows for example by the fact they are putting in quotes from the show and showing pictures of episodes.

Take a look at their feed and learn:

Keeping Promises

We used to ‘just’ complain about brands on birthday parties. These days Social Media is the place to vent your annoyances. And preferably Twitter. For brands it can be difficult to handle all of this. Do you ignore, answer or fight back?

The brand that does well: KLM

What are they?
Who doesn’t know KLM right? KLM is an airline (Dutch off course I would almost say 😉 ). But in our industry KLM is probably most known for their social media talents. They use Facebook and Twitter pro-actively for both branding and customer care purposes. KLM has a huge following (over 836,000 on Twitter) and uses that following wisely.

What are they doing well?
KLM is fully aware of why they are on Twitter: mostly for customer care reasons and a little bit for branding. Which means that the Twitter feed of KLM is not flooded with just ‘branding tweets’. And if they are there they are doing it in style. Either with humour or class.

[Tweet “On Twitter @KLM combines humour with keeping promises, it works”]

KLM also knows that their followers expect a quick response. And that is what they are promising: a 24/7 service. They even show the expected response time in their Twitter header. And they take care of their customers. When people complain they respond asking what is wrong and how they can help. I experienced that personally and even though they might not be able to solve some things (you can’t expect a Social Media Manager to solve a delay after all), it does make you feel better as a customer that at least you are being heard. It is a big promise they are making, but the important thing is: they are keeping it up.

Other things KLM do well on their Twitter feed where you can learn from are:

Imagery: they are using a lot of images, which makes them stand out in feeds and it gives them the opportunity to much more ’show’ their brand, which makes for a much better ‘feel’.
Using real people: KLM uses crew members and locals to show more than just their services. A crew member talking about LA or a local talking about Madrid makes people want to travel. And to get there, they might just fly KLM.

Take a look at their feed and learn:

Customer Care

Remember the old days, when you had a question you would make a phone call, listen to elevator music for an hour and would then be cut off? Granted, this still happens, but a lot of the customer support has moved online. To Twitter to be exact. Have a question? Just jump on Twitter!

The brand that does well: O2 UK

What are they?
O2 is one of the leading providers of phones, broadband and other telecommunications related services. It is part of Telefónica UK Limited. Many think they are also owners of the O2 Arena, but they actually only have the name rights there, making it their biggest branding asset. O2 also believes in Social Media. It has several different accounts, but the main one on Twitter is simply ‘O2’, it has now got over 219,000 followers.

What are they doing well?
O2 first had really to deal with Twitter in 2012. During a two day outage people turned to Twitter to complain about the service. Where many brands would have panicked O2 stayed calm and responded with humour. This tweet for example went around the world:


It kind of kicked off their social presence on Twitter. Ever since (though they did some good things before as well) they are using Twitter for several reasons, again, like KLM, combining branding and customer service and humour.

Some tweets aren’t directly related to the brand, like tweeting funny pictures, that do have a connection the topic, in this case phones, in which O2 is known. Other tweets however are very much focussed on their core business and show what O2 does.

Most importantly however seems to be customer care. O2 is really answering questions as best as they can. Any question so it seems, from whether or not O2 can read texts to helping out decide what phone you need. And when people aren’t getting the answer they were hoping for O2 remains calm.

[Tweet “Customer care with English humour, that’s what @O2 does well on Twitter”]

Finally O2 tries to keep the (English) humour in there, not directly making fun of others, but taking things lightly when they can.

Take a look at their feed and learn:

Feel Good

Twitter was once named ‘a public bar’ where you hang out and meet people. And when you hang out, you want to have fun. Reminisce about the past, share your joys. Twitter is the place to do that. And brands can act on that.

The brand that does well: LEGO_Group

What are they?
Who doesn’t know LEGO? There will not be many amongst us who haven’t played with LEGO when they were young or are still playing with it or have kids who play with LEGO. But throughout the years LEGO has become more than just a toy, it has become a brand which goes a lot broader. There is something interesting about LEGO. The brand always has the ‘playful’ feeling to it. But it doesn’t have the ‘childish’ feeling to it: LEGO is for everyone, young and old. This is why you can still see many grown ups ‘playing’ with LEGO, building themselves.

What are they doing well?
The ‘feeling’ LEGO has given to its brand is a very smart one. It plays on the human psychology of ‘feeling good’ when thinking back on the old days. Things from the past we always love. Which means that if we see LEGO we instantly feel young again. That is why it is so important that LEGO uses a lot of imagery in their updates. It is very visual, which with the new lay out of Twitter, is working perfectly for them.

[Tweet “On Twitter @LEGO_Group knows how to make the audience ‘feel good’. Priceless”]

LEGO shows us the LEGO, but it also shows us what others are doing. They retweet and highlight those that build great things, with LEGO off course. A good combination of brand visibility and making sure the ‘feel’ of the brand is intact, by using the audience.

Take a look at their feed and learn:

Integrated Marketing

Twitter is just one channel. On other channels you might be doing so much more. But Twitter is an excellent place to bring all the different efforts together.

The brand that does well: Old Spice

What are they?
We all know Old Spice. Maybe not even by using their (shaving) products, but because of the videos they create. Their YouTube channel is a joy to watch and they sure know how to ‘get stuff to go viral’. If there is a recipe to that, Old Spice definitely has it.

What are they doing well?
Old Spice is not a one trick pony. Yes, they create great commercials, but it’s more. The “flattering man Push Up Muscle Shirt” campaign was brilliant. As was “the man your man could smell like.”. But those are campaigns, which in essence is a bit different from a social channel like Twitter. But what Old Spice does well is bring it all together on Twitter. There are, off course, links to their campaigns and videos, but they do a lot more on Twitter. They use images, they interact and do this with a hint of humour and they also try and ’tease’ the audience, by asking them questions like “How many different numbers can you think of?” and by tweeting out simple quotes like “Be thankful every day that the sun comes up and that your body smells amazing because of your choices.”.

[Tweet “On Twitter @OldSpice does a great job at combining what social can bring a brand.”]

Take a look at their feed and learn:

Understanding the audience

It’s very tempting to just build a big audience and tweet out your message to that big audience. But in essence it will be much more efficient to choose a target audience and really understand that audience so you can give them what they want.

The brand that does well: Taco Bell

What are they?
Taco Bell is an American chain of fast-food restaurants. They compete with the likes of Burger King and McDonalds. And that is not an easy job to do, since those are everywhere. Yet Taco Bell does compete and a large portion of that success is thanks to their online efforts. But more importantly: they understand their audience.

What are they doing well?
When it comes to to Twitter, Taco Bell is a perfect example of a brand that not only understands their target audience, it acts on it as well. When working in such a competitive market as they do it is important to pick your battles. So going for the wider audience in the case of Taco Bell might be more difficult. Instead they chose to focus on targeting the younger generations. Which reflects in their timeline and the tools they use. Taco Bell for example started using Snapchat. They created a Snapchat movie and started to interact with the audience through Snapchat as well. Twitter was the push for this. But they also make good use of Vine and used celebrities which fits the audience like Megan Nicole (who? Yes, the youngsters love her) to push their brand and to get involvement.

[Tweet “Understanding their audience works for @TacoBell on Twitter.”]

Take a look at their feed and learn:

Other brands that do well?

Off course there are many more brands that do a good job. Just to name a few:

And I’m sure you will know of more yourself, so do share which brand you feel does a good job on Twitter, and let us know why off course!

Tweet out your favourite brand on Twitter

(make sure to add the brand to the Tweet!)

[Tweet “Hey @basvandenbeld, my favorite brand on Twitter is….”]

Let me hear from you!


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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