Twitter gives brands the opportunity to enter into a real-time dialogue with engaged users, who are actively seeking information and entertainment. Effective engagement can amplify brand messages and challenge brand perceptions. Social media monitoring of conversations and ‘mentions’ on the platform can generate invaluable customer insights and identify culturally significant themes. Brands can also use the platform as an effective customer service tool. Users expect brands to showcase their personality and assume a light hearted, self-deprecating tone. While seemingly spontaneous tweets, reacting to news and cultural events can reap rewards, they still require careful planning. Failure to do so can result in poorly received posts which can inflict significant brand damage.
Twitter is an online micro-blogging site, where users have access to real-time updates from around the world and can post and read messages, known as tweets, of up to 280 characters – a limit it doubled in 2017 to all users, apart from those using Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. Users follow other individuals and brands, and ‘retweet’ to share their comments. Hashtags can be used to stimulate conversations and identify themes, while the search function helps people to find and explore further content. Twitter has 321 million monthly active users worldwide, it operates in over 40 languages and its mission is to give users the “power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”.