iTunes Tweets the Right Notes with Orchestrated Content

This post is part of the Twitter for Brands Series, which features winning strategies from the top brand pages on Twitter and provides tips on how to emulate their successes.

iTunes is the most popular music retailer in the US and one of the key engineers of the online music revolution. Now that it has expanded into podcasts, trailers, TV and movies, the Apple brand is a hub for high-quality online entertainment.

It’s challenging to run an engaging set of Twitter accounts for a brand whose product is heard, not seen. Followers have to click on a link to access anything of real value from a tweet, whether its a movie trailer, podcast, or clip from a new TV show.

So, iTunes’ Twitter strategy is tricky. It has to curate its entertainment offerings for Twitter audience and drive clicks with an engaging voice and copy.

Power to the Retweet

@iTunesMusic is iTunes’ most popular account with more than 2,700,000 followers, making it one of the top 20 brand pages on Twitter.

It pushes out roughly a dozen tweets a day, but most of those don’t come directly from the iTunes account.

Because @iTunesMusic constantly retweets relevant artists, labels, and celebrities, its feed is a mashup of different prominent voices in the music industry. This makes them prolific without becoming repetitive and provides followers with a curated stream of the industry’s most dynamic tweets.

Make a Mission

In 2009, iTunes set up offshoot Twitter accounts for podcasts, movies, TV and trailers. Given its immense podcast library ranging from This American Life to Farm Dreams Farmcast, the @iTunesPodcasts account couldn’t simply tweet their inventory, or keep users apprised of incoming shows. There are too many, and aspiring podcast presenters are free to submit their work to iTunes.

Instead, the brand opted to release the podcast episode of the day. For 138,835 followers, that’s one easy link to click on, and a guarantee that tweets will always provide new opportunities for exploration.

Since the start of June, the @iTunesPodcasts account has tweeted about Mitt Romney, off-centered ales, basketball, and Prometheus.

Enable Easy Access

iTunes music discovery service Ping partnered with Twitter in November 2010, making song listening and downloading doable from within Twitter’s interface. Under a tweet that includes a link to an iTunes song or album, users can click “view album” (next to the “reply” and “retweet” buttons).

This compels artists to include iTunes links in tweets so their listeners have a direct route to purchasing, and makes iTunes an intuitive service, as opposed to a brand spewing sales pitches.

Though most brands don’t have the means to orchestrate a Twitter partnership, they can still consider how best to showcase their product within the context of Twitter. Does your product look enticing when preceded by quotes, short videos, descriptive URLs? Make the consumption experience streamlined, and your users will thank you with clicks.

Move Forward by Looking Back

In addition to tweeting the latest films in iTunes’ movie collection and keeping followers apprised of the current box office, @iTunesMovies takes a look at Hollywood history by commemorating older stars’ birthdays and classic movies.

On June 10, @iTunesMovies tweeted: “Today is the 90th birthday of the iconic Judy Garland. Celebrate with her music and movies collected here.” It garnered more than 50 retweets and 18 favorites.

Regular nods to the past give @iTunesMovies more authority. Like iTunes’ other Twitter strategies, it makes the @iTunesMovies feed more varied, more industry encompassing, and thus regularly interesting for its 176,000 followers.

The Verdict

iTunes manages to convey their high-quality entertainment value via Twitter by first, curating a unique, vast library of content. And because iTunes provides for an immense variety of people who are consuming different kinds of media, multiple Twitter accounts means every feed is clearly focused and consistently relevant to its followers.

iTunes Music created a strong connection to the relevant platform by integrating music with Twitter, giving followers easy access to iTunes material. The brand then regularly enhances its Twitter impact by bringing together the most important voices in the industry, whether they’re music makers or record label players.

And while all iTunes’ accounts provide up-to-date reports on the latest songs, podcasts, movies and trailers, it reigns over the entertainment scene because its scope is simultaneously broad and authentic. By handpicking daily podcasts and referencing old favorite movies, iTunes harnesses huge fan bases, then encourages them to explore.

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