The lovely thing about Twitter is that there isn’t a big barrier to entry. Nor is there a big barrier to success.
All it really takes is a solid understanding of the network’s nuances and your audience—but of course, some brand managers are better at Twitter than others.
Those noted in this article represent the top 10 brands on Twitter, as ranked by follower count on Socialbakers. (Note: Due to the time elapsed between writing and publication, rankings might have shifted.)
As I noted in a previous article on Facebook lessons, the biggest brands on a given platform aren’t always the most innovative, but it’s safe to assume they’re doing something right if millions continue to follow them.
Let’s look at the ideas that managers of even the smallest brands can steal from these titans:
1. Use hashtags smartly
Followers: 10.8 million+
No one is interested in complicated or heavily branded hashtags. Samsung understands that the best hashtags convey a concept people want to be a part of, regardless of the brand. The success of such hashtags is evident in Samsung’s #ThatNewPhoneFeeling campaign.
— Andrew Gorgis (@andrew_gorgis) June 13, 2015
2. Call out other brands
Followers: 8.5 million+
Interesting things happen when brands talk to each other on Twitter, and Starbucks isn’t shy about doing this. When Starbucks accepted the #GiveThem20 challenge as a salute to veterans, it not only went big with a video of dozens of employees taking the challenge, but also called on @SoundersFC and @Expedia to participate, too.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) July 10, 2015
3. Spot celebs
Followers: 8 million+
If you’re working for Chanel, attractive people will be spotted wearing your company’s products—notably at high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival. Brand managers wisely capitalize on that in their tweets and hashtag strategy. Regardless of your brand’s profile, don’t underestimate the power of capturing and promoting images of your product in the wild and, if you’re lucky, used by public figures.
— CHANEL (@CHANEL) May 16, 2015
4. Employ user-generated content
Followers: 7.7 million+
Android is particularly adept at involving its fans. Its call to action around the June 30 #LeapSecond is a perfect example. The brand essentially turned the single moment where world timekeepers add a second to the clock to stay in sync with the Earth’s rotation into a micro-holiday, and followers were happy to celebrate.
— Android (@Android) June 30, 2015
5. Make live connections
Followers: 7.1 million+
Strangely, a lot of brand managers forget Twitter’s power lies in its immediacy. Don’t just show what your brand did. Show what it’s doing, and invite people to come along. It’s a simple tactic, though often overlooked. PlayStation gets it, though.
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) July 10, 2015
6. Celebrate obscure holidays
Followers: 7.1 million+
If you’re touting Victoria’s Secret, you celebrate #NationalBikiniDay.
There are plenty of obscure holidays that are perfect for your brand, too. If you can’t find one, invent one.
We’d ask how you’re celebrating #NationalBikiniDay but we think it’s pretty obvious 😉.
— Victoria’s Secret (@VictoriasSecret) July 5, 2015
Followers: 6.7 million+
It’s amazing how often companies with multiple Twitter accounts (for various products or properties) neglect the other accounts. Retweet each other—often.
Microsoft understands this. From Microsoft News to Surface, the brand keeps the social love all in the family.
8. Act like a publisher
Followers: 6 million+
If you have a blog or other content channels, remember that Twitter is your megaphone. Fashion brand H&M’s feed could easily be mistaken for that of a style magazine. Its Twitter feed is built to drive traffic to its #HMLife content.
— H&M (@hm) July 7, 2015
9. Take fans backstage
Followers: 5.9 million+
“Backstage” is a literal concept for Dior, but you don’t have to represent a fashion brand to apply this tactic. You might be surprised to see how interesting your followers find something like a photo of an employee’s wacky cubicle decorations.
— Dior (@Dior) July 6, 2015
10. Run a contest
Followers: 5.6 million+
Twitter is perfect for running contests and giveaways. Some brand managers are daunted by legal disclosures and terms, but Xbox regularly capitalizes on Twitter’s ability to drive contest entries. Xbox runs contests clearly and succinctly, giving followers a reason to stay tuned to its tweets.
— Xbox (@Xbox) July 12, 2015