Twitter FAIL! The 8 worst brands on the world's hottest microblog
LONDON - The sound of marketers excitedly scrawling the word 'Twitter' on whiteboards and flipcharts up and down the UK is now almost deafening. But, while some have succeeded, others offer a step-by-step guide of what not to do.
The Fail Whale appears when Twitter is experiencing downtime
Clearly, there is huge potential for advertisers wishing to engage with consumers via Twitter provided, that is, they don't completely forget their brand values. To help you avoid becoming an embarrassing uncle we commissioned i-level's social media unit, Jam, to track down Twitter's biggest offenders. Here are eight big-name brands with microblogging strategies you'll want to avoid.
Despite being an internet pioneer, Amazon's approach to Twitter is disappointing. The e-commerce giant uses a 'Twitter bot' to automatically publish excerpts from its US blog. These tweets clutter the user's homepage and add little value beyond that of a standard RSS feed. This is the reason the huge number of mentions the brand receives on Twitter is not matched by its followers. Amazon has really missed a trick here. According to Jam, by allowing users to integrate its recommendation engine into their Twitter accounts it could suggest products and reviews based on what individual consumers are tweeting about. For example, if a consumer tweets about a day trip to Brighton, Amazon could recommend they click through to purchase the novel Brighton Rock by Graham Greene or the cult movie Quadrophenia.
1,206 - Followers
245,760 - Mentions
HP is another example of a brand that simply uses Twitter as an additional outlet for its RSS feed. However, given its focus on technology, the potential for HP to engage consumers via the microblogging service is huge. According to Jam, the brand could utilise Twitter as a customer-service channel, offering consumers a valuable mix of aftercare and technical support. It could then make @hpnews more conversational, engaging the huge number of consumers that use Twitter to keep up to date with the latest tech and gadget news. HP is no stranger to innovation in digital marketing, having launched an online scavenger hunt to promote its presence at last year's BlogHer2008 conference. However, the company's brand values appear to have gone out of the window when it comes to Twitter.
1,832 - Followers
56,720 - Mentions
Given the innovative nature of its business, eBay's presence on Twitter is also wholly uninspiring. The brand uses the microblogging service to offer consumers news about the auction site and the odd product recommendation. This provides users with nothing they don't already get from eBay's promotional emails, hence its relatively small following. Research commissioned by Revolution shows that by integrating Twitter more closely into its core business offering, eBay could allow users to tweet bids into its site or receive notifications through Twitter's direct message functionality, helping them to manage their eBay account. Thanks to the inquisitive nature of its users, Twitter is also the perfect brand-building medium for eBay. It could build on the 107,000 tweets relating to its brand, encouraging consumers to click through to relevant auctions or follow products on its site.
1,532 - Followers
107,000 - Mentions
McDonald's approach to Twitter is fundamentally flawed, claims the research from Jam. The fast-food giant uses the microblogging service to raise awareness of its Monopoly promotion, which gives consumers the chance to win 34 million prizes. Users are bombarded with advertising messages about how they can take part in the competition and the winners are notified by @replies to, which appear on the homepages of all 236 followers. Beyond this, McDonald's makes no attempt to engage Twitter users or build a community around its brand. It's tricky to bring fast-food brands to life via Twitter, so focusing on its Monopoly promotion was a smart move by McDonald's. However, Monopoly is a compelling game and the brand could have done more to integrate Twitter into its promotion.
236 - Followers
45,340 - Mentions
Pepsi has previously used Twitter to good effect, apologising last year for a Pepsi Max print ad that featured a 'calorie creature' committing suicide. However, the brand's official Twitter presence is new, having launched in March with links to refresheverything.com. Pepsi is clearly trying hard to reach out to consumers via Twitter with conversational tweets and little overtly promotional material. However, the brand commits the cardinal sin of assuming consumers using the microblogging service are only interested in its products. This serves to make Pepsi's Twitter presence dull and superficial. According to Jam, by utilising brand assets including celebrities Britney Spears and David Beckham, Pepsi could have created a much more compelling offering that would have boosted its followers well beyond the 885 it currently has.
885 - Followers
37,400 - Mentions
Vodafone is yet another example of a brand that uses Twitter as a glorified RSS feed. With this kind of activity the mobile operator is essentially limiting its audience to tech bloggers and industry professionals, a paltry 866 to be exact. Despite this Vodafone's UK Twitter feed allows consumers to get the latest product new and find out what the company is planning. Vodafone's recent LiveGuy promotion also went beyond the standard Twitter strategies that most brands employ, encouraging consumers to use the microblogging service to track down LiveGuy in real life to win a laptop. The brand needs to apply some of this thinking to its main Twitter presence if it is to make its mark.
866 - Followers
25,400 - Mentions
EasyJet has so far failed to embrace Twitter, a decision it may come to regret given the growing amount of negative feedback on the microblogging service. @easyjetservice is not the budget airline's official presence but rather an annoyed customer airing their grievances. The disgruntled passenger is not well followed, but their Twitter feed only needs to capture the attention of fellow travellers to become a problem for EasyJet. According to Jam, the company would be well advised to contact the individual responsible and try to resolve any outstanding issues they escalate. If it decides to venture onto Twitter, EasyJet should look to British Airways for inspiration. The airline offers customer service, travel advice and external links via @british_airways.com, which already has more than 1,300 followers.
106 - Followers
11,800 - Mentions
Gucci is a classic example of a brand that is uncommitted to Twitter, preferring to push news and brand messaging at consumers rather than get involved in the online community. There is currently nothing on Gucci's Twitter page that a consumer could not find through a Google search. This is a missed opportunity for one of the world's leading fashion brands. Gucci has the luxury of being a well-respected brand that consumers like to show their affinity to. It also has unparalleled access to celebrities and fashion-orientated events. Gucci should be exploring how it can engage style-conscious consumers via Twitter, allowing them to get closer to its brand in a way that isn't possible with other media. By providing Twitterers with exclusive fashion tips or access to VIP events it could create a large community of interest around its iconic brand.
436 - Followers
9,990 - Mentions
This article was first published on revolutionmagazine.com
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