Any brand that has an active social media presence, a large customer/fan base or both, deals with the challenge of responding to incoming tweets. Some brands respond to seemingly every tweet, no matter how trivial or often (hello Chipotle) and some never respond or acknowledge at all (hello most big brands).
A few weeks ago I had a question about which of two products to buy. I tweeted at the brand to ask, and got no response. I tried again. Still no response. I ended up buying neither product.
I’ve had a brand favorite my question before, without answering. I’ve also mentioned brands in tweets and had them not respond at all. This morning I took to Twitter and asked what’s worse: a favorite, or no response at all.
— DirtyWaterTees (@DirtyWaterTees) July 31, 2014
— Jonathan Levitt (@JWLevitt) July 31, 2014
— Michelle Densmore (@Lucky13Fit) July 31, 2014
I asked Christy Berkery, social media manager for an NFL team. She gave an answer I was somewhat surprised by at first, yet it makes total sense. https://twitter.com/berkeryc/status/494834353570971648 She also brought up the issue of time. It isn’t realistic for a big brand to respond to every single tweet, especially when questions aren’t being asked.
@JWLevitt Absolutely. Recognition is key. Also look at the time trade off – favoriting is faster than responding – can reach more fans
— berkeryc (@berkeryc) July 31, 2014
Christy did agree that organizations that sell product should make it a priority to respond to incoming questions. Coming from a product based brand like ENERGYbits, it often means the decision to purchase vs. not purchase. At our current size, every single individual order has an immediate impact, so this is very important for us, as compared to a billion dollar brand that won’t lose sleep over a dozen people not purchasing.
As the morning rolled on, responses from both individuals and brands kept coming in. Qdoba finally responded:
@JWLevitt Hmm… sorry to hear we've missed your tweets. We are here listening, let us know what's up!
— Qdoba Mexican Grill (@QdobaMexGrill) July 31, 2014
I figured I’d ask another big brand. I reached out to Jon Preston, of Staples who agreed that some is better than none.
@JWLevitt as a brand, "it depends". The content, tweet by tweet dictates engagement strategy. Speaking personally, some is better than none.
— Jon Preston (@JonMPreston) July 31, 2014
Jenn Herman agreed that it does depend on the post, but in general no response is worse.
@JWLevitt Depends on the post. But in general no response is worse. Even a "fave" from a brand can inspire a customer
— Jenn Herman (@jenns_trends) July 31, 2014
I still think simply favoriting a tweet is a lazy way to “engage” with a follower, but it comes down to a matter of how valuable the time is. For a huge brand it may make sense, especially when the person tweeting isn’t expecting a response.
To test out a tweet that didn’t have a question or technically require a response, I tweeted a photo and tagged 10 of the products I will be using while on the bike in the Pan Mass Challenge. It’s been 25 minutes and so far two have favorited the tweet. No actual responses yet besides from individuals.
What can be learned from this? Brands that aren’t getting hundreds of incoming tweets per hour can and SHOULD be responding to most tweets with more than just a favorite. It makes a difference in the eyes of the consumer, and can inspire future engagement and ultimately more sales.
@JWLevitt I'd like brands to tweet me back. Twitter is about conversation. So converse with me!!
— Stephanie (@stephanieruns) July 31, 2014
In exactly two weeks, if all goes as planned, I will be wrapping up my second Pan Mass Challenge, a 192 mile bike ride where every mile brings us closer to a world without cancer.
My time on the bike this year is slacking quite a bit, but my motivation for this ride is at an all time high. Despite all the miles I should have been riding in May and June, I know I have the motivation I need to power me all the way to Provincetown… even up the hills of Truro and Wellfleet.
All along the course I’ll see signs held by little kids saying “I’m alive thanks to you” and “Keep riding… I’ll keep living.” “I beat cancer” being held by someone who couldn’t have been older than 7 or 8 distracted me while climbing up a steep hill last year.
When I’m riding into the strong headwinds along route 6 near the end of the ride, regretting not putting in more miles this spring, I’ll be thinking of those with a much harder battle. The little kids who have to go through chemo, the friend that has to sit next to her best friend while she hears her diagnosis… The child, saying goodbye to a parent lost way too early to a horrible, horrible disease.
My personal goal this year is $4500 and $40 million overall, and we could use your help. Please visit www2.pmc.org/profile/jl0364, where every penny counts, and every dollar brings us closer to a world without cancer.
It’s 11:30pm on a Tuesday night after a Red Sox game with a group of new One Run For Boston friends. We’ve had quite a few beers and someone brings up this crazy group they heard about where people run up and down stadium stairs… at 6:30 am… for fun. I had seen Andrew Ference tweeting about it a week or two earlier, and wanted to check it outsometime soon. We quickly learned what a #verbal was and for some reason agreed to wake up nearly 5 hours later and check it out. Without realizing what I had just gotten myself into, I crawled into bed at nearly 1am with an alarm set for 5:15 just a few hours later.
Fast forward a full year. I’ve gone from running only a handful of times every couple of weeks (and not really enjoying it at all) to running a marathon and am now aiming for a sub 18 minute 5k later this year. How did that happen? November Project.
November Project: the only way I can describe it is “the most awesomely motivating fitness group, ever.” November Project is made up of everyone from ultrarunners and Ironman triathletes to people who are just getting into fitness and working out. You will always find someone your speed… Right Elin? The beauty of it for beginners is that since the workouts are in a relatively small space, you don’t necessarily know who’s the fastest or slowest (besides right at the start)
That’s certainly not to say people don’t race. One of my favorite parts of November Project is how the person next to you can push you to go faster. Monday’s #destinationdeck was a circuit and I unintentionally ended up racing the guy next to me and certainly would not have pushed myself as hard without that additional motivation. #raceeverything
One of the best parts about November Project is being #weatherproof. No matter if it’s cold/rainy/windy/snowy/dark/blizzarding (you get it) the Tribe still continues to show up. Accountability is huge, and it certainly helped me stay motivated during the awful winter we had recently. I was signed up for a spring marathon, so bailing on workouts wasn’t much of an option, and NP made so many of those dark mornings just a little brighter (ok a lot brighter… #thetribelovesneon).
There’s just something powerful about giving a “verbal.” Not just because Jenna/Elin/etc will write a “We Missed You” post, but because you know someone is out there waiting for you to get there. Call it peer pressure or call it accountability, but whatever it is, works.
One of my proudest moments over the last year was earning the Positivity Award. Brogan introduced me as “one of the loudest people on social media” which is something I’m certainly proud of… I can’t stop recruiting everyone I know. November Project has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me and I want to share with everyone I know in all 17 cities.
The good news? If you live in Boston, Edmonton, Madison or Milwaukee WI, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philly, Indy, NYC, Denver, Baltimore, Minneapolis MN, Washington DC or New Orleans, you can join in on the fun.
Just want to give another big thanks to Brogan and Bojan (and Pour House for a little liquid courage for that first verbal) for creating a community that has led to new friends, shattered PRs and a reason to love that 5:15 alarm every Monday Wednesday and Friday.
Words cannot describe how awesome November Project is. #JustShowUp and see for yourself.