Why are brands recruiting comedians to run their Twitter accounts?
Because the competition for attention is tough and making a connection with audiences is harder than ever before.
Social is now ten and a half years old, and people expect experiences to be faster, more fluid, live, accurate, and personalised. Aussies are spending at least five hours a day on mobile devices and the shift to mobile is so significant that our brains have actually changed. We scroll 41% faster through feed based environments than on desktop.
And you’re not just competing for attention, but the currency of ‘caring’. It’s one thing to stop a thumb scrolling but, if you’re going to keep it there, you need content that is worth engaging with. Currently, a lot of brands aren’t hitting the mark (in fact, this year’s Meaningful Brands survey uncovered that consumers would not care if 77 per cent of the world’s brands disappeared tomorrow.)
On the other hand, some brands are getting is so so right.
One of those is American fast food brand, Wendy’s — the brand has over three million followers and Tweets that attract upwards of 30,000 likes on a regular day. How do they do it?
For one, the team behind its Tweets runs more like a comedy writers’ workshop than a solo intern at a desk. I’ll caveat that I have nothing against the interns (and there is some serious talent out there) but making someone who is completely fresh to the industry, and new to the job, the public custodian of your brand doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Crafting a brand voice takes skill and your brand should be investing in that.
Part of Wendy’s success comes down to this — they understand that if you want people to listen then your tone of voice is everything.
Don’t worry — a comedian isn’t a necessity and your brand’s Twitter doesn’t need to be a stand-up set
Wendy’s crafted its brand voice over time by using every Tweet to have a conversation, to make friends with their followers and to better understand how their consumers talked to one another - so they could authentically join in on those conversations.
It’s taken them to interesting places. In the last year alone, they dropped a mixtape and created a trend of destroying freezers in Fortnite. They listened to what their audiences were talking about and engaged the skills they needed to do really tap into the cultural trends that were driving those conversations.
Closer to home we’ve seen sandwich spread Vegemite leverage its history and connection with Australians to jump on the most recent Ashes Test Series. Not only did Vegemite keep a light-hearted (but passionate tone) through all of its content during the Series but it used the opportunity to connect with English cricket fans too, in a simple yet effective manner.
However, having a comedian on payroll is not the be all and end all — the trick here isn’t necessarily becoming more like Wendy’s or Vegemite, but becoming more like yourself.
Speak the language of your audience
A simple first step can be determining the list of topics and trends that are in your brand's scope to talk about and those that are not. People will share something if it helps them express themselves. So don’t simply cut down a TVC for social content. Use social channels, where you can actually start a conversation with your customers, to your advantage. Consider what they really care about and connect with them through that avenue.
In a time where authenticity reigns supreme, it can also be helpful to examine what exactly your brand stands for. We’re seeing a rising trend towards consumers demanding brands that share their values. In fact, two-thirds of Millennials in 2017 bought from a brand for the first time because of its position on controversial issues. The more authentic and relevant a brand’s voice is, the greater chance they’ll have truly connecting with its audience.
Social media has created new, powerful ways for brands to interact with consumers and craft distinct brand voices. There’s an opportunity to use you channels as a way to start conversations with, rather than talk ‘at’ consumers and connect in a deep, and authentic manner.
It’s not just about ‘likes’. When brands connect with culture, magic happens. Finding your brand voice will help you develop long term followings and communities. You don’t necessarily need to start interviewing for a comedian just yet but building a brand persona is too important to leave up to chance.