Twitter 2.0: Move Past Reactive Mode and Into Proactive Storytelling

Although experts say Twitter is still a year away from an IPO, analysts say the micro-blogging platform’s value is more than $11 billion, reflecting the company’s monetization efforts in the form of its Promoted Products.

So in 2014, a chosen few—like Twitter cofounders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams—will realize riches from the micro-blogging service. Meanwhile, this year communicators look to find more gold in Twitter as an outreach tool.

Some brands are getting clever in their quest for revenue from the platform. Last week, The Associated Press shared sponsored tweets from Samsung during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The news service lets Samsung post two tweets per day to the AP’s Twitter account, which has more than 1.5 million users; each of these tweets were to be labeled “SPONSORED TWEETS.”

Other communicators are starting to leverage audience trends and new Twitter offerings for best results. Michael Lamp, social and digital media strategist at Hunter Public Relations, notes four trends that developed in 2012 that will surely carry over into this year. They include:

1. Leveraging the nature of Twitter for breaking news. “Twitter has been prominent during major events like the presidential election and superstorm Sandy,” Lamp says. “I want to see if brands will leverage breaking news on Twitter.” That kind of strategy isn’t for the faint heart. Only adventurous brands will get involved with breaking news, Lamp says.

2. Taking advantage of pop culture. A Jell-O campaign referenced the recent Mayan end-of-days prediction and used Twitter prominently, Lamp says. “Twitter allows brands to surprise customers,” he says. Therefore brands should take more advantage of that.

3. Hyperlocalized promoted campaigns. Using Promoted Tweets, brands can (and should) hyperlocalize content to reach specific markets and regions, Lamb says.

4. Visual storytelling will emerge. “I haven’t seen brands take advantage of tactics like photo contests,” Lamp says. This year could be the time.


It’s storytelling via Twitter that Krisleigh Hoermann, social media strategist at the American Heart Association, intends to ramp up this year. Why? “In 2012 we started moving away from the number of followers, and moved toward engagement,” Hoermann says. So 2013 will feature more engaging photos and videos.

Two keys to engaging? Hoermann says many organizations are in the reactive mode on Twitter, and instead should initiate the conversation through optimal content.

Twitter Chats are also great ways to start Twitter banter. The AHA will be doing two of them in January. In the past the chats have high level, but Hoermann says this year they will be more niche, such as one around sodium.


Chris Brooks, manager, global corporate communications & social engagement at Hilton Worldwide, leverages Twitter a bit differently than Hoermann. Brooks manages @HiltonWorldWide, the corporate channel for the global hospitality company—which touches anyone from hotel owners and managers to travel agents.

In 2013, Brooks is continuing with the 30-30-30 daily content mix that has proven successful. That’s evergreen content-engagement-and whatever is happening in the Twitter-verse that day.

Like Hoermann, Brooks is moving towards linking to more photos and videos for greater engagement.

Brooks is also making full use of newer Twitter features

by piloting “Twitter Cards” with their Global Media Center, allowing followers to see content such as images, videos and link previews within the tweet. "If I were to include a link to a story on our media center, followers would see

a preview of the story along with a photo within the Tweet,” Brooks says.

Monitoring conversation is most important on Twitter, he says, more so than any other social network. “You can have an effective B2B strategy just by tracking key influencers and noting who they’re connecting with and what they are talking about,” he says.


Here are three Twitter 2.0 tips for 2013, per our experts:

Lamp: Brands would be wise to learn what Twitter has done with hyperlocal outreach. “Paid drives earned, and Twitter is better at that than any other platform,” he says.

Hoermann: Don’t use Twitter just to broadcast. “There are still some brands who just push tweets out and never go back to converse.”

Brooks: For content, get as many people as you can involved with your Twitter account internally. “I’ve done a lot of educating throughout our global communications team,” Brooks says. “London is our top geo-audience on Twitter, and the team there knows that if they have good content, we’ll tweet it.” PRN

(Catch Hoermann and Brooks presenting at the PR News Digital PR Summit on Feb. 27 in San Francisco; (


Michael Lamp, [email protected]; Krisleigh Hoermann, [email protected]; Chris Brooks, [email protected].

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01