How does Twitter work with brands?

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on November 15, 2019

Twitterati spring into action at the faintest whiff of any new development, forming a microcosm of people’s perceptions, right from the latest political and social discourse to say, opinions on new shows and books. Tirades by livid customers against companies and their groveling responses is also one of its many quirks. Twitter’s monetisation strategy also finds its sweet spot in these very quirks.

Twitter India’s Business Head, Kanika Mittal said that the two-way conversation that Twitter enables between brands and customers, as well as how it enables brands to stay culturally relevant - by making sure that the current trends and conversations that matter to the consumer is reflected in the tone and communication brands use - serve to differentiate it from other social media platforms in terms of brand engagements. It also forms the crux of the microblogging platform’s monetisation strategy, said Mittal.

Meanwhile, India is one of the fastest growing markets for Twitter globally, as well as a priority market within the global Twitter universe, said Mittal. India also finds a place among the top seven fastest growing markets for Twitter, she said.

Adding launch velocity to marketeers and their campaigns and connecting brands with the current trends and strategising their communication accordingly form essential aspects of Twitter’s strategy. People turn to Twitter with a discovery mindset, as they are the early adopters of news services, as well as the first ones to talk about what they feel about a product, even if it concerns cons, said Mittal. This, however, allows the brands to talk back to the consumer and show them their care and concern, she added.

Moment-led marketing

Explaining the connect strategy of Twitter, Mittal said that Twitter has a lot of proactive analysis in place to gauge what the trends and moments that matter in the coming months and quarters are. Then there is a process of ideation around this, which is shared with Twitter’s brands across different verticals, letting them know the moments they can focus on to ride the surge in conversations.

“That also places them at the front and centre of moment-led marketing which is a big trend for marketeers going forward. It also makes them more culturally relevant. And all of it put together makes (for) a tremendous partnership sense for Twitter and brands to work with each other and really connect with what is happening across the country and also drive into passion points,” she said.

Brands also get more humanised on Twitter, with customer service being one of the earliest behaviours that Twitter noticed on its platform, said Mittal. “Therefore, we have also seen that over the last decade, it has actually become the best place for businesses to provide their care and concern through this conversational mechanism that Twitter provides,” she claimed.

“Twitter allows for two-way conversation to happen, between brands and consumers and that allows the brands to humanise themselves and present their point of view,” said Mittal.

Brands can build greater loyalty and advocacy if the consumer feels like the brand is responding to them and attempting to address and solve their issue, she added.

According to Mittal, the only platform that allows for this kind of cohesiveness to happen is Twitter.

“People use Twitter as a service to express themselves and brands therefore use the same service to provide care for their consumers,” she said.

Three-pronged strategy

Twitter’s three-pronged strategy of spark, surge and sustain is the main factor driving its monetisation strategy, said Mittal. Spark is the pre-launch or teaser phase which involves sparking interest around products and campaigns even before it is officially announced. The surge part of the strategy focuses on the usage of a combination of Twitter takeover products and custom solutions to “create a lot of noise” in a short period of time. The sustain phase focuses on strategies that involve user generated content and customised short form content to sustain the “excitement” generated post the surge phase.

Twitter has become a platform where ‘newsiness’ and vitality take precedence, as people turn to the platform for sharing their opinions, engaging in conversations and being participative, said Mittal. Due to this, Twitter is no longer positioned as a social media platform, but is positioned more as a platform of ‘newsiness’ and conversations, she said, adding that this is where the value for marketeers and the monetisation strategy is getting placed.

This change has been perceptible particularly in the last couple of years and brands have been recognising the same as they have been harnessing it for multiple campaigns, she said.

"Beyond the 3S approach, Twitter being the launch vehicle for the country, moment-led marketing and purpose-led marketing - these are the three things on top of 3S, in terms of trends, (that) are actually influencing and changing how Twitter is today and will be shaping our future as well,” she said.

Driving growth

Moment-led marketing was identified by Mittal as one of the main factors that would be growth drivers for Twitter in terms of brand engagements going forward.“I think brands are increasingly realising the importance of connecting with what’s happening. And definitely, being culturally more relevant is more important to the Indian consumer today. And the only way brands can become culturally more relevant is by making sure that they are participating in conversations that matter and trends that are big.”

She also identified thought leadership and purpose-led campaigns as factors. Campaigns, initiatives and programmes that are purposeful and meaningful are important for consumers to feel positive about the brands they use and endorse, as well as to build advocacy and loyalty in the long run, she said. Such initiatives garner the maximum credibility through Twitter, according to Mittal.

Published on November 14, 2019

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