Tweet relevant content, not ads

Despite Bill Keller’s belief that Twitter is destroying our ability to actually communicate and contemplate thought, if utilized properly, the social media network gives companies the opportunity to engage more potential consumers. The key to Twitter success is sharing relevant content, not just trying to push a sale.

According to Mark Fidelman, Jill Duffy, Kim Darst and Emily Price, the worst thing a brand could do on Twitter is push their products instead of pushing relevant content. Many tweeters suggest following the 80/20 rule (80 percent content, 20 percent sales), but as a consumer and a Twitter user, I would prefer a 90/10 ratio. Sure it’s great to be knowledgeable about promotions every once in awhile, but if a brand if constantly trying to get me to buy something, I’m going to unfollow them.

Pushing sales is a lot like walking into some clothing stores. I loathe the stores where as soon as I walk through the door, I’m bombarded with employees telling me all of the latest promotions. If I even so much as look at a shirt, an employee comes over to tell me what a great deal it is. Enough is enough! Constant pushing of sales is only going to push potential customers away, and the theory holds true for Twitter.

Sharing relevant content helps you appear like an industry expert. Even if your followers aren’t in the market to buy what you’re selling, the content you share will have them constantly engaged with your brand. When the customer is looking to buy, you will have already won their trust. 


Someone should have told my friend that social media engagement drops when you use three or more hashtags!

Aaron Lee, Garst, Duffy suggest that in order for a brand to be fully engaged, they must respond to the tweets they receive. Responding to your followers shows that you care about your customers. Many customers will retweet your responses because they’re pleasantly surprised that someone took the time to respond. Just this week, I noticed several of my classmates excitedly posting responses they received from big companies. My classmates’ excitement makes me wonder, how many larger companies are taking the time to build relationships through social media? Is it reasonable to expect large companies to respond to every single tweet?

Twitter not only allows you to have conversations with your customers, it allows you to see what customers are saying about your brand and your industry. Cheryl Conner and Michael Brito encourage brands to monitor what they’re customers are saying and how they’re using Twitter. Once you have a better understanding of what the customer wants, you’ll be able to engage them more successfully.

It’s important for both companies and professionals to know how to successfully use Twitter. Ryan Lytle explains that Twitter helps students and professionals create a brand for themselves. Good grades aren’t enough anymore, it’s important to have a social media presence.

Teaching students how to properly utilize Twitter will eventually allow companies to have less restrictive guidelines for their tweeters. If a professional knows how to use Twitter, and understands the company’s goals and audiences, shouldn’t they be trusted to carry out the brand’s goals without having their voice restricted?


8 thoughts on “Tweet relevant content, not ads

  1. Lauren,

    I had a similar thought about whether a company should reply to every Tweet, and if it is possible at all. I feel that since Tweets are so short a single person can respond to far more people than they could over e-mail or phone where conversations/e-mails can be very lengthy. Large companies with deeper pockets should be able to afford a larger dedicated staff to manage their social media presence which has become paramount over the last decade. The issues of a person’s ability to conduct themselves properly on Twitter is completely different. The branding and a company’s image is at stake every time somebody communicates on their behalf. Just understanding Twitter and the brands goals may not be enough. I believe is best for a company to set basic guidelines for the tone and content that should be communicated. This is not as much a restriction as much as quality assurance.


    • Janis,

      You make a valid point about the length of tweets and a company’s response. On that same note, it must be difficult to completely respond to customers with a limited amount of characters. I guess depending on the intricacy of the consumer’s concern or question, email of Facebook may be the better medium to keep consumer’s satisfied. Before I read the following article (, I thought that once a company hired a tweeter, they shouldn’t put guidelines on what the person says so they don’t come off robotic. You shouldn’t hire someone who you think wouldn’t represent your brand well. After seeing how wrong a tweet can go, I understand your point of view that it’s definitely best to have at least basic guidelines for tweeters to follow.

  2. Lauren, I think it’s absolutely reasonable to expect large companies to respond to every tweet. If you see it from some, why can’t they all do it? Those who really see the value in responding to everyone have made provisions to be able to do so. They have a strategy in place to make sure it gets done. When I started seeing that, I began to hold everyone else to that standard. I also think it’s great when the individuals responding have the freedom to speak on behalf of the company with the company’s goals and voice in mind. They all seem very consistent with the brand yet personable and human at the same time. It’s neat to receive responses to different posts with the tweeter’s initials at the end. I would have never known it was a different person on the other end if it weren’t for their initials. This is proof that they are doing their company justice through brand consistency.

    • Erin,

      It does leave a positive impression when a company responds to and engages with all of their followers. I know that large companies like Coke or McDonalds have more resources, but I wonder how many tweets they receive during the day and if it’s reasonable for every consumer to expect a response. Like Gavin said, if at all possible, I think it’s acceptable for an organization to answer multiple consumers who have the same concern, with one tweet. If a consumer’s concern is one-of-a-kind, and needs to be addressed, then the brand should respond in a timely fashion. As much as I enjoy receiving personal attention, it wouldn’t bother me if a company didn’t reply to me individually. I will be a loyal customer as long as they answer my questions.

      • I’m not saying it would affect my loyalty if I didn’t get a reply. It just leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling when they do. Sometimes, that can be the difference when consumers are comparing companies. I just think it’s good practice for large corporations that have the ability to put measures in place to do it.

    • I definitely agree that a personal reply makes a company stand out. I think that as companies start to get a better grasp on the power of social media and direct more resources to social media departments, they will respond and engage more. It may get to the point where consumers expect every tweet to be replied to, as opposed to being excited that a large brand took the time to respond to them.

  3. Hey Lauren,

    I’m somewhat the opposite as Erin, even though I see where she’s coming from. It is important for big companies to interact with their audience, but I do find it unreasonable to respond to every single tweet. I like for companies to take notice of any tweets to them and then answer multiple questions with one tweet, if possible. I think they could direct message people instead of tweeting it, because it might not be what the followers want to see. If they did reply to “every” tweet, it might take away from the pushing of the brand to the audience, because focus would be primarily on responding to tweets. That’s just my opinion on it, I don’t know if it’s the right one, but it’s how I think about it.

    I think restricting a voice is never appropriate. If someone is hired to manage a Twitter handle, then they should manage it. Take in points and suggestions from the brand, but ultimately the professional should tweet and interact on what he/she thinks is best. Trusting them entirely can be somewhat hard though, because you don’t want their personal beliefs to be involved in the brand. I think the best way for brands to do it is to allow the professional to operate Twitter as for what is best for the brand, but have someone occasionally check it to make sure he/she is following the brand’s goals, with no interference.

    You make some great points in your post, really informative.

    • Thanks Gavin! I have noticed that some larger companies do address multiple concerns with one tweet, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Why tweet the same answer to 500 different people who are having the exact same concern or question? If a company posted the same tweet 100 times in my news feed, I would stop following them. As a consumer, I wouldn’t be upset if a company answered my question, as well as similar questions from others, with one tweet. As long as my question is answered, I’m happy!

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