Five Big Brands Doing Twitter Right

By Melissa Crane

Ah, Twitter… A beautiful place filled with highs- OMG, I got 200 retweets!– and lows- Wow maybe I shouldn’t have posted that picture from the bar last night… No matter how you use it, there’s no denying the power that this platform has created for both individuals and companies alike. And just like us individuals, companies have had to learn how to utilize Twitter without making themselves look like fools.

Here’s five companies who are doing it right:

1. T-Mobile (@T-Mobile)

T-Mobile starts off the list because let’s get real- their marketing department has kinda been on fire the past few years. From their rebranding as the “Uncarrier” to their most recent deals, #TMobileTuesdays, T-Mobile is making waves in the telecom industry as other carriers are struggling to adapt to changing consumer demands.

Why their Twitter account works:

  • Visual consistency across the board. From their header to the font color of their links, T-Mobile’s Twitter page plays some pretty slick mind games on you and leaves your brain thinking of T-Mobile anytime you ever see the color magenta. 
  • Secured DJ Khaled as a spokesperson before he jumped the shark. Often times, companies will see something go viral, only to snag it after it’s old news or miss the opportunity completely. Fortunately for T-Mobile, they got him right in time and his personality has become a major asset to their social media presence.
  • Harnessed the power of a hashtag with #TMobileTuesdays. By using a good promotion as a hashtag, T-Mobile is extending their reach on Twitter while also showcasing how their uncomplicated loyalty rewards program is better than the rest of the telecom industry.

2. Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks)

As a company whose presence extends beyond the corner coffee shop and into homes, churches, and almost anywhere else you could imagine, Starbucks needs no introduction. You’d better hope with their record fiscal year in 2015 that they’d be able to afford a good social media marketing team.

What they’re doing right:

  • Frequent retweets and interactions with customers. Arguably more important than promoting the company, positive customer interactions online are what it’s all about. Starbucks recognizes this and uses their Twitter page to frequently share the love.
  • A well-placed hashtag is a happy hashtag. Almost every one of Starbucks’ tweets contains a hashtag, but they do it in a way that doesn’t seem like they’re trying to hard (#lookatus #wecanbecooltoo). My personal favorite would be #ProTip, which is basically Starbucks validating the Secret Menu. Their hashtag strategies enable the company to extend their reach without exhausting their followers.
  •  #MerryChristmasStarbucks. When a hashtag against you goes viral, you can either hide until it’s over or you can make up your own hashtag. Starbucks kept it classy and turned the whole situation around with #RedCupArt, which encouraged consumer interaction with the brand and shifted the Red Cup controversy into a merrier memory.

3. Orbitz (@Orbitz)

In an online world where vacation photos abound, you’d think it might be difficult for a travel company like Orbitz to stand out on Twitter. Lucky for them, whoever is behind their Twitter account is somebody I (and apparently many other people on Twitter) would want to be friends with.

How they stand out:

  • Just the right level of sassy. Sometimes the best way to keep people’s attention online is to adopt a persona that we all try to channel every now and then. When a brand is confident (not arrogant), we as consumers tend to feel more confident in them as a result. Orbitz has found just the right voice to secure their presence on Twitter this way.
  • Valuable content. Orbitz also proves their success as a travel site on Twitter by offering content to its followers. Sure, we all tend to daydream about vacationing while we spend too much time Twitter looking at everyone else’s trips, but Orbitz gives you the tools to actually make it happen. You can often find posts on where to eat in what city or what the best bags are to travel with on Orbitz’s page.
  • Everybody loves a little rivalry. In 2012, Orbitz called out Priceline on Twitter and a good-natured duel ensued. This is great example of a company mastering the power of content creation and using it to showcases their offerings while maintaining interest in their followers. And just in case you were wondering- here is the tweet that won the Twitter War for Orbitz:

4. Delta (@Delta)

As an Atlanta native, Delta will always have a place in my heart. That being said, the computer struggles that plagued Delta this week may have caused a bit of grief with the rest of Delta’s clients… Nevertheless, Delta rose to the occasion and proved themselves to be masters of Twitter in the process.

Why we don’t hate them:

  • Connecting with customers. When the recent tech failures struck Delta, the company utilized Twitter (and a room full of digital marketers) to reach out to customers who were being affected by the outage. Even the CEO of Delta, Ed Bastian, took to Twitter to issue a personal apology to all those affected. Sure, this problem might have cost them millions of dollars, but because of their quick response, they’re going to be able to make a comeback. And because they handled it on Twitter, the rest of the Twittersphere got to see their excellent customer service in action.
  • Recognizing the individuality of their customers. By recognizing that sometimes people just need somebody to complain to, Delta was able to turn around a very negative situation. Delta utilized Twitter to reach out to customers in 140 characters or less and help them faster and more efficiently than customer service phone lines are capable of. What did we ever do before Twitter?

5. Taco Bell (@tacobell)

Taco Bell is one of those restaurants you either love or hate. Or sometimes you love it and then your stomach just hates you. But regardless of where you stand, there’s no denying that Taco Bell knows what they’re doing when it comes to Twitter.

Taco Bell and Twitter- they just get each other:

  • Knows their target market. With 40% of users between the ages of 18 and 34, Twitter is prime stomping ground for Taco Bell. Since this age range coincidentally happens to make up the only people whose digestive systems can handle Taco Bell, it would make sense that a well-planned digital marketing strategy directed towards 18-34 year olds would thrive on Twitter. Taco Bell saw the potential in this and ran with it. Some of their funniest tweets also perfectly capture the types of consumers they are aiming for.

BONUS: Kia Motors America (@Kia)

Although Kia’s Twitter page may not be all that impressive, they did get pretty clever this year in regards to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. As the marketing community is well aware of, Olympics Rule 40 prohibits athletes from marketing themselves during the Olympics. This is particularly frustrating for companies who can’t drop $200 million on an “Official Sponsor” title. Kia took some time out from their usual tweets to post this bad boy.

Though this post was a little out of character for Kia’s Twitter page, more tongue-in-cheek posts like this could end up earning Kia a spot on this list in the future.

Tools & Tips for Making a Website

By Christina Paulk

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a website? The world is quickly moving towards digital technology, and there is an increase in demand for people in jobs with technical skills. Especially in the field of digital marketing, employers are looking for potential hires that are well-versed and experienced in both marketing and technology. Many universities do not teach technical coding and design skills to marketing majors. As marketers, we often have to teach ourselves. Below are some tools and tips for novice web developers to prove that anyone can make a website—not just computer science majors!

1. Purchase Your Own Domain Name

A domain is the web address you type into a browser to find a website. Many people start building their blogs and websites on hosting platforms such as WordPress and Wix, but opt in for the free version rather than paying a little extra to own their own domain. These platforms provide a good start to novice web developers, but if you are putting your website address on your LinkedIn and business cards, it looks more impressive and professional if you own your own domain. My advice is to go ahead and invest a little money into purchasing a domain name. Good domains encompass the purpose of the website and are simple and to the point. You can purchase your own domain from domain registrars such as GoDaddy and Google Domains.

2. Learn How to Code

Learning how to code might seem difficult and scary, but I promise you it is not! Coding is not rocket science and is actually easier to understand than you think. As a novice web developer, you only need to know these three coding languages in order to build an impressive website:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The language that describes the structure of a webpage.

  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): The language that describes the presentation of a webpage including fonts, layout, and colors.

  • JavaScript: The language that describes the animations and interactivity of a webpage.

There are plenty of free websites online that teach you how to code. My favorites include Codecademy and Code School.

 

3. Use a Template

After you learn how to code, the quickest and easiest way to build your own website is to download a website template. With a template, all of the hard work of developing a website frame from scratch is already completed for you. All you have to do is fill in the blanks with your own pictures and content! I also suggest that you download a template that is adapted for responsive web design. What is that? Responsive web design is coding website content to easily adapt and change based on the viewing device and screen size. Mobile websites are just as important as desktop websites, so having a responsive website is pretty much expected these days. Here are some places to find free HTML website templates: Start Bootstrap, Too Plate, HTML5 Up, and Shape Bootstrap.

 

4. Learn Graphic Design

Now that you have the basic skills to code, it’s time to make your website visually appealing to visitors! Putting thought into the visual design of your website will create a more successful and engaging website overall. Keep this tip in mind—less is more. Create visuals for your website that encompass simplicity and purpose. Don’t use too many contrasting fonts or colors and don’t clutter your website with unnecessary content. Develop a specific brand image for your website and stick to it. As a novice developer, you don’t need Photoshop to create good graphics. Websites like Canva and Piktochart provide basic tools and templates that will give you a jump start on graphic design. In addition, you can download fonts from DaFont and Google Fonts.

Hopefully this post has provided you with useful tips and tools for making a website. Now it’s time for you to go out and make your own website!