Meet Chloe Kim. Most of you have probably heard of her, and if not…where have you been??
Anyways, Chloe is only 17 years old, and the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal after receiving the gold in the women’s halfpipe. Chloe also happens to have a bit of a presence on Twitter. People love her because even though she is an Olympic athlete, she is very relatable and funny, often tweeting about food (even during the Olympics). There is even a Buzzfeed article that lists all of the hilarious things she has tweeted, which I highly recommend checking out if you don’t follow her. Chloe tweeted this right before her last run, where she officially took the gold:
Now I’m sure many of us average Twitter users have tweeted about being hangry, only to get maybe a few likes and then having the tweet disappear into the Twitterverse. But when an Olympic gold medalist tweets about being hangry, it’s a whole different story. When Chloe Kim posted this, a ton of companies jumped on the opportunity to promote their products with this free advertising opportunity. Here are a few examples:
California Pizza Kitchen:
Who knew that an Olympian being hangry could cause such a frenzy? Twitter has given companies an easy point of direct contact, and because a lot of US athletes have a presence on the site, it has provided these companies with the opportunity to market their products without having to pay costly advertising fees. We first saw this tactic during Super Bowl XLVII, when Oreo took the opportunity to tweet during the 34-minute blackout:
You can see that their brilliant idea was successful, as it was retweeted over 10,000 times. People loved seeing the brand play along and make a joke at that moment. After this other brands followed suit, capitalizing on any opportunity they could get to promote themselves and seem “down to earth.” Fast forward five years, and it seems as though this tactic may be overdone. Companies are using Twitter so much that it doesn’t feel authentic to users anymore. People come on Twitter to engage in conversation, and brans are coming on Twitter to talk about themselves and shove their products in our faces, which a lot of users find annoying.
To put this into perspective, here are some statistics that companies should be aware of when using Twitter to attract consumers:
- About 50% of people find it annoying when brands over-promote on Twitter (Art Plus Marketing).
- 91% of customers want brands to be authentic on social media (Art Plus Marketing).
- The average engagement rate for brands on Twitter is now 0.049% (Mark Schaefer).
The main takeaway from these statistics is that Twitter can be a useful tool for marketing if used correctly. Users want conversation, and they care more about what other people say about you, not what you say about yourself. I think the best example of this is another interaction with Chloe Kim. The Olympian tweeted, “Oh and I also had 2 churros today, and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro.” Almost immediately, Scott Porter, the owner of San Diablo Artisan Churros in Draper, Utah, responded offering her free churros for life. This was a great opportunity for the brand because rather than doing a sponsored tweet, the product can speak for itself with this authentic interaction with a hungry snowboarder. We may not know the exact impact of this type of social media interaction, but with Olympians like Kim, Adam Rippon, and Shaun White being so active on the site, there is more opportunity to find out.
With such a low engagement rate on Twitter, companies may want to consider other alternatives. However, if companies still want to use the site as an easy and direct point of contact, they can and should promote products in a more authentic way. Here are a few quick tips for doing so:
- Spark up a dialogue. Rather than pushing products down customers throats, seek to engage better by asking questions, crowdsourcing opinions, creating polls. There are so many ways to use social media other than self-promoting. Customers will appreciate this more.
- Inform your customers. Share your company’s vision. Share something that will inspire people. Tell them how your company or product makes the world better. People want to support positive movements.
- React to customers’ issues. We all have seen people take to Twitter to make complaints with companies. Customers will appreciate brands that respond to their complaints and make appropriate changes.
These are just a few simple and maybe obvious guidelines, but some brands could benefit from understanding the basics of consumer interaction through Twitter.