Guest post: Five tips for brands to get personal with their Twitter content

Friday, 12 June 2015

I believe it was the great philosophers Beyoncé, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland who said: “Say my name, say my name.” And although it’s unclear if they were talking specifically about the rise of personalisation in Twitter content, the sentiment still holds true.

Like in real life, people on Twitter like it when you talk directly to them. They like it when you give them something that’s just for them, not for thousands of faceless followers. They like it when you get personal. That’s why creative personalisation is on the rise, as demonstrated this week by Coke’s personalised Twitter ads.

And that, Doris / Tony / Dave [insert your name as appropriate], is why I bring you five examples of how to get personal on Twitter.

  1. Give followers a visual treat that they’ll want to Retweet

    With the help of a bloody great sketch artist (@ben_cameron), we’ve been giving followers little visual treats. For @BGT, people were asked to Tweet their dream talent, using the hashtag #TwittersGotTalent, and said we’d draw the best ones. People suggested talents ranging from skateboard hula-hooping to topless moonwalking. It trended the day before episode one of this series, which had Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) topless moonwalking on a skateboard (unconfirmed).

    We’ve been doing something along similarly sketchy lines for 7Up (@7UPIRELAND) too, asking Tweeters to send in seven-word ideas for making the world more awesome then drawing the best ones.

    What seems to work well about this is that it’s collaborative. Your followers come up with an idea then you bring it to life. Less UGC, more U-and-Me.G.C (hmm, needs work).
  2. Use technology to give followers a personal gift, at scale

    An issue with personalisation is that it’s often difficult to do at scale. However, some geniuses are now using tech to overcome that problem. One such gabble of super-brains is a company called Visual Voice who created autographed cards for fans of The Hobbit (@thehobbitmovie). Tweeters were invited to Tweet the hashtag of their favourite character and in return they received a personalised picture ‘signed’ by the Hobbit of their choice.

    The activity attracted enormous engagement (168K autographs in 19 days / 61% click through to watch the trailer) and spawned loads of Hobbit-based Twitter chatter in the days before the middle-earth mandems hit cinemas. Proof that if the creative is good enough, and you have enough variation of responses, automisation can be AWESOME-isation (oh dear).

    Another good example along similar lines is @Burberry. Like its lovely coats, @Burberry’s digital game is strong, and they have experimented several times with personalisation techniques.

    At #LFW in September, to promote its new fragrance, @Burberry give Twitter users the chance to bag a monogrammed bottle in a Tweet. Less message in a bottle; more bottle in a message.

    It was at it again in spring when it connected users around the world to its #LFW show via Twitter powered cameras, placed in unique, personalised vantage points. Ordinarily, you’d have to be mates with Kanye to get this kind of access.

  3. Social listening + personalisation (and maybe a few puns) can do great things

    Working with We Are Social, I took over the @PGTips account every morning for a month and did just two things: 1) Bad tea puns - such as this; and 2) Reactive listening: searching for people who were Tweeting about drinking tea (which is a surprising amount of people), and replying to them in a tea-themed, banterful and of course personalised way.

    Engagement was tea-riffic (sorry) and as a result, the account pulled in thousands of new followers. Bag of the net (see previous brackets).
  4. Hellmann’s – show followers and customers that you value their loyalty

    I like mayonnaise. Sometimes, I even use the full-fat one: YOLO. But I never would’ve Tweeted about mayonnaise until @Hellmann’s did something this good. To reward @Hellmann’s lovers for Tweeting about them, the mayo giants handpicked its favourite Tweets and turned them into a quad of brilliant cartoon images, the fourth of which was a personalised slogan.

    Like mayonnaise, this #BringOutTheBest Twitter campaign is massively tasty. @Hellmann’s is encouraging people to Tweet about its product while creating great shareable content at the same time. Less mayonnaise, more YAYonnaise (these are getting worse).
  5. Use video to bring followers closer to the things, and people, they love

    We’ve done various things with personalisation on The Voice (@BBCTheVoiceUK), but one which really made us sing: “I got a feeling (ooh ooh), that tonight’s gonna be a good night for social media engagement” was #MarvTime. To whip up excitement for this year’s live shows, we grabbed Marvin Humes for a Twitter Q&A with a difference.

    Seeing that the newly-launched native video was performing well for us, there was an opportunity to get Marv (I call him Marv, no biggie) to answer the questions in video form, addressing each questioner personally – and often commenting on their @username or profile pic. The fact that native video was used, coupled with Marvin’s charming personalised responses, meant that #MarvTime went bonkers. It trended for three hours on Good Friday.

    So the moral of the story? Get personal with your followers. If you do it right and appeal to the passion of Twitter users, the results will speak for themselves. Not only in terms of boosting engagement and followers but also in making your brand stand out from the crowd. Like a Hobbit. Eating mayonnaise. On a catwalk. With Marvin Humes. Now we’re Tolkien. (hello?) Okay bye.

    David Levin is creative director at @ThatLot. You’ll find him @davidlevin123.