DUBAI: Earlier this year, Twitter released its #RealTalk report based on first-of-its-kind research analyzing people’s attitudes on Twitter and what it means for brands.
The report is based on an analysis of over 5,000 tweets across eight countries. It includes user tweets about brands as well as tweets sent by brands, including all tweets posted by 20 leading companies over the past three years.
While other platforms like Facebook and Instagram are struggling to maintain user growth and engagement rates, the results have been mostly positive for Twitter. Conversations and engagement with the brand have increased over the past year, with 70% of people saying the “Twitter brand” is one of the best parts of the platform.
“’Twitter brand’ refers to Twitter’s own account, @twitter. The Twitter brand voice resonates across all of our brand channels such as @twitterforgood, business resource groups, @twittersports and @twittergaming, among others, allowing the public to recognize them immediately while encouraging conversation with a more targeted audience Stephanie Terroir, head of Twitter Next MENA, told Arab News.
The term is also used to refer to other brand accounts on the platform. And the Twitter brand is here to stay with 80% of respondents saying, “I don’t mind being sold on social media, as long as it’s fun, useful, entertaining, informative or moves me to one way or another.”
With the greater acceptance of brands on social media comes higher expectations from brands. And those expectations have changed, especially since 2020.
Not so long ago, humor was one of the strongest characteristics of a brand on Twitter. “With funny and playful being such a strong type of tone on Twitter – and often what the most famous ‘Brand Twitter’ brands are known for – it was important to ask if this still feels right in the world of Twitter. today,” Terroir said.
And 50% of users agreed that brands that rely on humor and jokes can feel overwhelmed in the current climate. “This is particularly the case for people between the ages of 18 and 34,” she added.
Additionally, 80% of respondents said they expect “brands to evolve their tone over time.”
People expect brands to join the conversation and stand up for something, especially since the world has faced significant political and social events in recent years, including the Black Lives Matter movement. in the United States, economic conflicts in Lebanon and the global impact of COVID. -19 on employment, family and health.
This is true both on and off Twitter. A 2021 study by Edelman, which surveyed consumers in 14 markets, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, found that 86% of people expected brands to take action beyond their product and their company.
On Twitter, nearly half (48%) of respondents said, “It’s more important now for brands to support economic, social, political or cultural issues, even when the issue doesn’t directly affect them than it does.” a year ago. ”
When brands decide to be part of the conversation, it’s important for them to know what conversation to join and how to join.
Twitter asked people to rate a set of topics and decide if a brand should tweet about them; might tweet about them even if it’s not planned; or absolutely must not tweet at all.
A clear trend that has emerged is that the public is accepting of brands participating in almost any topic – as long as it makes sense.
Terroir said: “The events of 2020 have forced brands to pivot and adapt to more curveballs than we’ve seen in recent years – and our understanding is that brands that had a more multi-dimensional tone and brands that were better equipped to pivot or adapt their tone fared better than those that relied solely on one-dimensional humor.
She added: “Brands need to review the topics they can engage on. Today, it’s less about whether or not a brand should connect with culturally relevant topics in unique ways — but when, why, and how.
It’s also important for brands to know how and when to respond to tweets. For example, Yorkshire Tea has built its brand identity around being “clean” – an unusual strategy on a platform where brands try to be funny or quirky.
So when one user tweeted “Glad Yorkshire Tea did not support Black Lives Matter”, the brand responded clearly and honestly, prompting an industry competitor to join in supporting the movement. This sparked a conversation with other tea brands, who joined by tweeting the hashtag #solidaritea.
“Yorkshire Tea’s strong understanding of its role in culture and ideas has allowed the brand to engage authentically and respectfully in cultural and social conversations,” said Terroir.
As 2022 approaches, Terroir advised brands to review their Twitter strategies, revisiting three key elements: tone, topics and community.
She said: “Brands can start by identifying a more authentic tone that people may already associate with them. And do not be alarmed by arousing reactions. Being bold encourages emotional reactions from the community, with the positive usually outweighing the negative.