Thanks to its snappy nature and potential to reach users on the go, countless businesses have at least one Twitter account.
However, that doesn’t mean all brands use it correctly. Some are trying to find the right tone for the company, or figure out which approach to take. If you’re having problems or looking for inspiration, here’s a roundup of the brands who use the medium to its fullest.
Chevrolet switches up its content by showing what its followers expect: cars, cars, and more cars. By hashtagging its tweets, the automaker can keep track of the conversation (although it uses it a little too much). Ultimately, it keeps things interesting by mixing up content and encouraging followers to get involved.
Similar to Chevrolet, Ford does the usual mix of photos, links, and hashtags, but places a greater emphasis on creating a personal feel.
GM gets a lot of mileage out of crowdsourcing tweets and photos. While it does tweet its own updates and links, its real focus is bringing together all the content created by followers, building up involvement between the company and the people who follow the brand.
Dell focuses more on direct marketing, but its real strength is its sister accounts. While there is the primary @Dell account, others such as @DellOutlet and @DellCares have 1.5 million followers and 21,539 followers, respectively. Each account has its own identity and role.
A brilliant example of how you can humanize a brand. The brand account is run by its CEO Tony Hsieh, which gives it a voice many brands don’t have. The only problem is that it’s not updated often. But if you’re looking for pointers about how you can promote your brand, it’s worth reading through.
A master of multimedia content, Starbucks uses its different accounts (such as Instagram and Facebook) to flesh out its content and create posts that users will enjoy. It does tweet promotional messages, but how it phrases such tweets means that it fits in nicely with the brand’s voice.
As airlines require real-time updates, Southwest Airlines switches between its own updates and customer notifications. It also does a very good job at replying to users. While it usually responds in bulk, the airline's humorous replies gives the brand a personal feel.
Hertz is all about interaction, having a quick look though its account shows that it prides itself on helping customers and ensuring that they get the best experience possible. It does have the occasional promotional tweet, but the account is a great example of using Twitter for customer service.
The Travel Channel
The Travel Channel doesn’t focus much on interaction, but makes up for it through a lot of multimedia content that gives followers a behind the scenes look at its programs.
Considering that Popcap is a games company, it’s no surprise that its account is lighthearted; however, the company is also able to be serious when dealing with queries or problems, and therefore strikes a good balance between serious and silly.
Famed for its numerous and innovative social media campaigns, KLM is pretty good at responding to users and promoting its own content. It does post a lot of links to its blog, but every now and again, it shares multimedia content.
Sharpie is a great example of how a brand can have a real personality on Twitter. Full of sarcasm, irony, and a healthy dose of dry humor, it manages the account well with a lot of one-on-one interaction with fans. You’ll be hard pressed to find tweets that promote its products directly or include a sales-y message; instead you just want to buy into the brand to be part of the fun.
Smart Car USA
A previous favorite following its use of Twitter for a brilliant bit of customer service, the company continues to deliver entertaining tweets. While much of the content is just promoting Smart Car directly, its particularly good at making the most of their sponsorships, such as with the U.S. Open most recently.
British Airways has come into its own during London 2012, showing a good mix of promotional brand content with news and updates that are of general interest. During the Olympics, it also made particularly good use of images to add a bit of extra engagement.
Duke of Yorks
A nice example of how a smaller business can use Twitter well. This independent cinema in Brighton, United Kingdom, is great for general film buffs as they share their expertise alongside information on showtimes, special screenings, etc. Well worth a follow (even if you’re not in the area) to get a good dose of trivia and updates in world cinema. You’re also guaranteed good trailer links and film specials.
Ben & Jerry’s
This one needs no explanation. One of the world’s best-loved brands, its Twitter account is as enjoyable as its ice-cream (well, almost). The company shares fans’ creations, latest recipes, and everything you could ever want to know from the world of Ben & Jerry’s. The account has a nice personal feel to it, and does a great job of embodying the brand.
What you can’t learn from Innocent on Twitter probably isn’t worth knowing. Again, it’s a brand that makes great use of images on its account that sometimes have nothing to do with Innocent, but are pure unadulterated fun. Its account is incredibly active, showing an impressive feat in sharing great content that doesn’t disappoint.
ASOS is a great example in how to keep focus on your brand and give your fans exactly what they want. While it might seem to play it safe with the content shared, it has developed some great practices such as standardizing the pictures it shares, which make for a nice looking display, mixed in with fashion tips and own product news. The company updates an impressive amount in any given day showing that it's a dedicated resource to social media.
While Uber’s appeal may be limited by the locations in which the service is available, its account is well worth a look to find out how to do customer service through Twitter. What’s impressive is that it's happy to leave complaints public and deal with them through @ replies rather than trying to keep them private, which is helpful for other Uber riders.
The Netflix account is a great example of a brand using its in-house expertise to the fullest. Sharing good links, quotes, new release updates, and plenty of retweets of fans, it’s a great one to follow if you’re looking to discover new titles and how to get the most from Netflix.
This Australian radio station is heavy on great links and band news. It shows that even smaller brands can succeed at Twitter, with consistent updates and seemingly different team members manning the account to ensure there’s always something good being shared. Even if you’re not based in Australia, follow for some musical goodness.
Proving that the best weapon is a sense of humor, Taco Bell’s Twitter account embraces both the positive and negative tweets it receives. Never taking itself too seriously, the company gets a lot of interaction and regularly comments on those who mention the product, instead of passively waiting for a mention.
As you would expect, one of the biggest brands in the world has a strong presence on the site. It interacts to a certain degree, but tweets are not that frequent with about one or two every day. They are a mixture of inspirational quotes, links to their promotional channels, and campaigns as well as some selling of products.
The Twitter account is more of a broadcast channel than a place where where people interact with the brand. But with more than 1.3 million followers and lots of engaging sticky updates, it is clearly onto something. Links back to the games with lots of reviews, tips, and cheats.
This community for homemade craft goods has a massive community online, which is reflected in its Twitter account that has a massive 1.7 million followers. There's a huge focus on products that get listed on the site and clearly that is content that people want to see appearing in their Twitter feed.
The shoe and eyewear company have perfected the balance of selling lots of goods online while still keeping the feel of a small startup where you feel invested in the company as a consumer. Lots of links to products, competitions, and fun little contests and games.
There are a few Samsung accounts, but this is the main English one and this is one area where it has a huge advantage over longtime rivals Apple because it doesn’t have an account. The main focus here is on competitions, providing info on new products and tips on how to improve your use of the devices.
JetBlue employs Twitter especially well when it comes to building its brand and engaging with its audience. Rather than a customer service tool, this is more about the fun photos and rich media content that makes you want to jump on to one of its planes and travel somewhere nice.
One of the biggest and best known charities in the world has a large and passionate following on Twitter. You can expect the odd emotional plea for your cash, but the Red Cross also does a good job of retweeting posts that highlight just how good a job it does with the money you give the organization.
You shouldn’t expect much thought-provoking debate or world changing news from the account of a doughnut company, but you will get lots of fun competitions, an early glimpse at new products, and fun ways of engaging with the brand. Warning: This account will make you want to eat doughnuts and probably put on weight.
You wouldn’t expect to see a competitor using the service well, but Google does a good job of sharing information about and promoting its new products through Twitter. Don’t expect to get much interaction with the account, but if you are a fan of Google or its products, this is a must follow account.
One of the world’s biggest jeans companies doesn’t have the most followers on the list—only 77,000 people follow the account—but it uses it well with engaging content, lots of interaction, and regular updates.
The British chain of book shops regularly tweets about new books on offer as well as in-store appearance by authors and competitions. Most recently, Waterstones has been offering the chance to win Smiths merchandise to any fans of musicians (and former Smiths band mates) Johnny Marr and Morrissey. The two lads who run the account are often willing to engage with their followers in matters beyond their business, but only seem to RT mentions of Waterstones stores. Insightful and/or witty quotes from famed authors are occasionally tweeted, adding a bit of fun to the Waterstones feed, but this a generally informative and useful account that highlights Waterstones’ strong online presence.
O2’s U.K. feed is brimming with offers on new phones and contracts, but it also offers great opportunities such as the chance to train with heavyweights of rugby union’s English Premiership Saracens or to win tickets to the iTunes Festival. It also tweets funny pictures and tell its followers about new initiatives that are both promotional and somewhat enriching for entrants, such as the "Think Big" scheme to find up and coming musical talent in partnership with BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. It’s quite a sociable account that tries to provoke interactions from its followers, though it does not tweet or mention any of them specifically.
The Skittles Twitter account is charmingly nonsensical. Spitting non-sequiturs and riddles about rainbows, pirates, and dolphins, this feed is about as colorful as the sweets it represents. It’s refreshingly candid, in that there’s little in the way of promotion or boring, corporate-sponsored tweets. It’s just a fun account that may provide you with a giggle or two if you follow.
The paper towel mainstay is currently hosting its version of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election; its red and blue mascots arguing the cases for the brand’s two paper towel brands, ultra soft, and ultra strong. Aside from the gimmicky promotion, the Charmin Twitter is actually quite, um, charming. The #tweetfromtheseat hashtag provides a fascinating view of life from the toilet, and there are plenty of funny tweets to go around, as evidenced by the number of gushing replies they get.
“Drop-kicking dirt and odor [sic], doing a clothesline on them and then slamming them with a folding chair,” reads the Old Spice Twitter bio. It’s that kind of hyperbolic manliness that has led the men’s toiletry company to worldwide recognition and has made it more than just a brand. Its latest video, a short clip of "Expendables" actor/physical specimen Terry Crewes playing the drums with his muscles, currently holds Promoted Tweet status, but it is surrounded by hyper-macho tweets about jet packs and sea serpents. So ludicrous that it is profound, somehow.
Mars Curiosity Rover
The mission of the Mars Curiosity rover has become a global talking point, and this NASA Twitter account will keep curious space-gazers up to date with the bot’s progress across the Red Planet while deploying a few "Back to the Future" references. Many of the tweets are merely links to other media and will.i.am songs, but there are also images and videos of Mars provided. It’s quite dazzling.
The Intel accounts is mainly comprised of links and promotional tweets that their followers will likely find very useful. It mostly links to written and video features on the Intel website, thus providing an easy way to keep up to date with the company's latest online content and technological developments.
Whole Foods Markets
Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher are the founders of Simply Zesty, where a version of this story first appeared.
The Whole Market Foods Twitter is a mecca for organic food lovers with images and recipes for healthy food options aplenty. There isn’t a lot beyond that, but it is an incredible source for people with specific tastes who want to cook regularly.