The Tweeting Dead: 5 Ways Brands Can Avoid Being Muted

By Holden Page May 27th, 2014

Twitter has always been a meritocracy for brands. Every follower earned is a follower that can be reached—a welcome alternative in a social media landscape dominated by arbitrary algorithms.

That may now be changing. Twitter has armed their users against the worst timeline tormentors with a new feature called mute, and now users of all kinds—including brands—can be silenced at the click of a button. This can turn the most painstakingly built follower count into a mass of disengaged zombies.

Thankfully, preventing the zombification of your brand on Twitter can be easily avoided. Here are some quick tips that are sure to keep the hearts of your followers pulsating.

1. Keep your Twitter content unique

Catering to each social media platform’s strength can be time consuming. As a former community manager, I know it’s alluring to blast out the same content on multiple platforms. You save time—not to mention space for the many hats you have to wear as a social media manager. Thankfully, there are many brands that create timely, unique, and relevant content for each social platform.

A great example is real-estate company Century 21. On Twitter they share links to quality home-owner resources. Meanwhile, they’re sharing images of beautiful homes on Facebook that foster community discussion. And on YouTube, they’re compelling people to subscribe to their channel with amusing and timely videos like this one:

2. Schedule your tweets

While automating social activities may appear to go against the spirit of engaging with your community, it is a well-accepted practice if done correctly. Scheduling guarantees that your most treasured content will go out in a timely manner without flooding your followers’ timelines.

There are a number of tools for scheduling tweets, including Twitter’s homegrown solution through their Ads platform. But if you’re looking for a robust, simple to use, and downright fantastic scheduling service, Buffer should be the first weapon in your artillery.

In addition to browser extensions, mobile apps, and an intuitive web UI, Buffer offers a wealth of resources through their fantastic blog, which covers all things social media. To get your brand started, I recommend reading Buffer’s scientific guide to scheduling tweets and other content.

3. Build your rep

No brand is immune to mistakes. Whether it is an untimely scheduled tweet concerning horse meat, or a hijacked account dropping F-bombs, social media crises are downright common occurrences.

You’ll probably need forgiveness at some point, and until that day comes, you need to earn it. For example, Zoe Beyer, the hilarious social media manager at film production company A24, regularly deletes ill-advised tweets that she sends out, but she gets away with it because she owns up to the tweets and has such a strong relationship with the company’s following. Always interact with your followers with respect, and use Twitter the way it’s meant to be used: truthful and honest engagement.

4. In the words of Holden Caulfield, don’t be a phony

RT if you think your friend should order Pizza Hut tonight. #Besties— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) October 25, 2013

Recently, Facebook updated their news feed algorithms to kill off like-baiting posts. Without algorithms to combat this behavior on Twitter, it’s up to brands to avoid retweet baiting.

While these tactics will assuredly get you the shiny numbers needed to appease the boss, they’re the cheap shots that pollute the river of content for everyone. No retweet is worth the risk of motivating followers to silence your brand.

5. Give more than you get

This is the golden rule of Twitter, and a brand must hold true to this more than ever before.

Mind-numbing retweets, constant self-promotion, and hashtag hijacking can exhaust even the most loyal followers. Your brand is being followed with the expectation that you will add value to their timeline. Cater to your audience’s needs, and take cues from these success stories highlighted on KISSmetrics.

If you master these five basic tips for your brand on Twitter, you can sleep easy knowing that mute won’t turn your followers into a wave of the walking dead.
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