This key to Twitter success led to global engagement plus donuts and marriage

What’s the best indicator of social media success? When your customers fall in love with you, of course

Social media is the gift that keeps on giving. Do it well and your followers develop a trust and even a reliance on the information you post and share. Do it really well and they might even marry you.

OK, so marriage may be unlikely but it’s not impossible. Take the example of Victoria Carlin, a book fan and Twitter user.

Twitter authenticity and true love

Victoria started following the tweets of Waterstones Oxford Street in 2010. As well as updates on book signings there were more unusual postings.

One, for example, explained that while cheetahs were the fastest typists of all land animals they were grammatically weak and their plots lacked structure.

Another tweet read: BOOK FACT: If you rip out a book page, hold it up to the light and look carefully, you’ll see that you’re a monster. Stop defacing the books.

The tweets managed to combine humour with some occasional gentle promotion such as a December tweet that read: Just a reminder that if your significant other doesn’t get you a book for Christmas, they probably don’t love you.

The tweets came from Jonathan O’Brien, a Waterstones bookseller with a knack for social media. The store’s following grew as word of his wit spread.

Victoria was a fan, and when Jonathan tweeted about a craving for donuts she took some round to the store, met him and nearly four years later they are married.

Jonathan has since been poached by Innocent Drinks to write their tweets, leaving behind a following of 63,800 for a London bookstore.

The key to Twitter success

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4, Jonathan explained the secret of success on Twitter. ‘You’ve got to enjoy it, or employ someone who enjoys it.’

It’s an incredibly simple lesson but one that marketers can often overlook.

There’s nothing more desperate than a business trying to act like you best friend on Twitter. And trying too hard to be funny just cranks up the social discomfort.

The way you use Twitter will depend on your audience and your objectives. Pharma should probably play it straight while businesses with a strong audience of Millennials could probably risk it.

For B2B marketers it may be best to stay clear of humour and faux affability. But if you have the talent to do it well, then it can be a great point of difference in a crowded market.

The key is to find the right person to compose the tweets. This really isn’t something that can be taught. Everyone thinks they are funny/witty/wry but some simply have the gift, while others definitely don’t.

Cast the net widely when looking for Twitter talent in-house. It may be the most junior member of staff who can perform best, or the quiet person in the corner who is a killer wit on social media.

If you don’t have the talent in-house then you may just have to buy it in, either through recruitment or agency services. That’s what Innocent have done.

Just make sure whoever tweets for you truly enjoys it. That’s where the authenticity comes from, and from there flourishes engagement – both marketing and possibly marital.

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