Twitter is full of surprises. Usually I’m surprised by what people are tweeting – wild rants ala @CharlieSheen or breaking news I’ve seen on Twitter before anywhere else. Lately I’ve been surprised by certain Twitter handles that I never would have expected to find here – those seemingly without a clear product or consumer brand to promote.
Following are some of the unlikely Twitterers I’ve encountered recently and the key learnings I took away based on each one’s messages:
Manage multiple twitter accounts carefully. The Secret Service (@SecretService) is a good example and got my attention recently for all the wrong reasons. An errant tweet, “Had to Monitor Fox for a story. Can’t . Deal. With. The. Blathering” was sent from the handle by mistake prompting this Washington Post story and an apology. Needless to say, I was surprised to learn that the Secret Service was even using Twitter. Isn’t Twitter bad for keeping anything “secret?” Turns out they are mainly tweeting about news releases and recruiting events, nothing clandestine, unless there are more errant tweets to come.
Satisfy brand loyalists. Flo from Progressive (@ItsFlo) tweets using #teamflo and #floism and brings the zany character from the commercials to life. The company’s main corporate handle @Progressive sends out news and handles customer service issues, while @ItsFlo seems to be purely for brand loyalists who want a daily over-the-top floism fix such as, “Live every day like it's the final scene in Dirty Dancing. #floism.”
Give people insider access. Henry Ford Hospital (@HenryFordNews) in Detroit took insider access to a whole new level back in 2009 when it first live-tweeted a surgery for educational purposes. Now many more hospitals are jumping on the bandwagon after finding these events may help boost the hospital’s reputation in the view of patients and of other doctors who want to work there.
Don’t take yourself too seriously, no matter your business. Miller Funeral Home in Sioux Falls, SD (@Millerfh) has more than 700 followers offering another method for the community to learn about deaths, obituaries and funeral arrangements. They also tweet inspirational quotes, community events and keep things light with some humor, for example, “Oh, my. I just read an article about what all goes into making a 'chicken nugget'. This is not good.”
Avoid being overly promotional. Sockamillion (@sockington) is a cat with more than 1 million followers and more than 6,000 tweets such as, “DOING DONUTS ON THE BED nobody can stop me REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE or a car for that matter.” The tweets are purely for humor and are refreshingly non-promotional which is probably why the cat is so popular. Not only that, he’s located in Waltham, Mass. right in InkHouse’s backyard! We’ll have to invite him in for a social media chat.