Learn To Talk Before You Tweet

Is your “brand voice” having a difficult time speaking in 140 character bursts? Loosen up, then. Twitter is a conversational platform, brands must become conversational.

But how?

Writing in Ad Age, Noah Brier argues that “brands need to start thinking about their inputs, or who they pay attention to, as much as their outputs, how they look, act, and talk. They have to think of their channels less as CRM and more as owned media. In a nutshell, they need to act less like brands and more like people.”

Jeanette Mulvey, Managing Editor of BusinessNewsDaily, argues, “While some companies have brilliantly integrated Twitter into their overall branding strategy, others should put their Tweeter back in the holster until they master the business basics or acquire some social media manners.”

Mulvey makes another important point by suggesting that a Facebook page might be a better option for many brands. “It’s inherently more ‘local’ and allows you to interact in ways that Twitter doesn’t.”

Bottom line, a brand has to have something to say on Twitter, or in any social channel, and a brand needs to listen, as well. The problem is brand teams are not set up to do this, yet it’s tough to outsource “conversation”. Which means some serious reinventing needs to be going on inside companies interested in pursuing social media and content marketing.

From what I’ve seen, companies are beginning to put resources against these efforts, but they’re not taking it seriously enough or seeing the need to rethink their whole approach. If a brand manger just looks at one fact–that the Web (and mobile) is always on–she will have enough to go to clearly see the same old approach is not going to get the “conversational job” done.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.