Is Twitter your portal to the digital world? Is it the first place you go to for breaking news, entertainment and gossip from the media, from brands, from friends and from your growing legion of followers? If so, you’re not alone—it's likely your customers' portal, too.
Chris Books, manager, social engagement at Hilton Worldwide, said that the hotel chain is making Twitter the company's home away from home on the Web. At PR News' Digital PR Summit in San Francisco last week Brooks and Jessica Henry, PR and marketing director at Not for Sale, presented nine ways to make your brand a must-follow on Twitter.
Make the case and involve the right internal players: “We wanted to engage our target audience while communicating into their space,” Brooks said. At Hilton, that meant directly integrating with guest assistance team (customer service). “There are 10 brands at Hilton on Twitter, and while it can be a great home base, it has to be part of a larger strategy—it’s not quite yet ready to replace your home website.”
Have a sound social media policy: Salesforce's six-part manual for how to craft an effective social media policy is a good place to start on or update your current policy.
Maintain a consistent look and feel: “Define your brand's personality, define voice attributes and create the right mix of content,” Henry said. Determine your value proposition and consider what can you offer your audience. At Not for Sale, thought leadership is a major goal.
Determine audience and goals: “Our company mission is that we’re very focused on putting heads in beds,” Brooks said. “Our goal is to communicate the value of Hilton to key audiences.”
Drive people to your website: How does Hilton create content for Twitter? Brooks said his team uses a weekly content calendar, which contains contributions from across the enterprise. Most content is repurposed from existing communications. “Apply traditional communications, and content must be made visual, shareable and actionable,” Brooks said. “We put out 20 pieces of content per day on Twitter. To maintain that rate, we have to repurpose and be creative.”
Engage media on Twitter: “Mention journalists and publications in tweets,” Brooks said. “It’s a good way to softly pitch news.”
Tell a great story: Telling a great story will attract more followers. But how do you tell a great story? “Create an experience—a sense of progress,” Henry said. “Put followers on a journey and create a sense of a movement and a sense of community.”
Measure: Weekly/monthly reporting helps to align measurement to corporate goals. “Our social report goes out to wide variety of folks at the company—especially to the people who feed us content. Then they know what is helpful, what is not,” Brooks said. Hilton also tracks Web traffic referrals from social channels.
Use other Twitter tools: Brooks said there's a lot of potential in Vine to create truly in-the-moment content, despite the service being available just on iPhones. He also suggested trying:
Social Bro: A great way to see who's following you by category—has free and paid versions.
Muckrack: Tracks what journalists are saying about you.
TweetReach: A great way to pull reports. Can run quick reports to discover, for instance, how a tweetchat resonated with the audience.
“Networks are rapidly evolving and tactics change constantly,” Brooks said. So, know who you are, create an experience for your followers, offer value and tell a good story.
Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg