- There is little distinction between brands on Twitter, with respondents to a survey using similar words like "playful" and "funny" to describe brands, the social media platform said in a new report.
- Brands that rely only on humor and jokes can feel outdated, half the respondents to Twitter's survey said, with younger consumers agreeing more wholeheartedly. Most — 8 in 10 — of those surveyed said they expect "brands to evolve their tone with the times" because sometimes the moment "just doesn't call for an LOL."
- "Distinction is everything a brand needs to succeed on Twitter," per Twitter's #RealTalk report. "Revisit what seems right for your brand, not just what topics are trending or what other people are jumping on."
Humorous and snarky comments have had a long reign on social media, but Twitter's new survey suggests brands frequently come off as indistinct and outdated to users when funny is their go-to messaging strategy.
In a blind test of a variety of tweets from prominent brands from around the world across similar industries, Twitter removed any identifiable branding such as names, logos, keywords and hashtags and asked people to guess which brand wrote the tweet. Only one in three could guess the correct brand from a list of five options.
Among Twitter's findings is that "social media behavior" upstages brand distinctiveness, and people are taking notice. Brands have been converging around the same social media archetypes, even using the same number of unique keywords and characters.
The findings could mean it's time for some brands to have a more robust messaging strategy on Twitter that doesn't rely solely on humor.
Commenting on social and cultural issues is one approach brands can take, with 56% of survey respondents saying brands could do so and 37% thinking they should. A small percentage (7%) of respondents said marketers should not tweet about social and cultural issues.
The survey results also showed that Twitter users want to hear from brands about sensitive political issues like the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2020, with 60% of survey respondents saying they disagreed with a tweet that appeared the day after the events that said "I do not want to hear from The Brands."
The caveat is that when brands chime in on sensitive topics, they need to do so meaningfully and in a way that's authentic to their brand.
Twitter summed it up with a Shakespeare quote: "To thine own self be true."
To help brands understand what works and why, Twitter partnered with Sparkler to run surveys and tests in eight countries to help identify how local cultures influence people's attitudes toward brands. Then, it teamed up with Pulsar to analyze every tweet posted by 20 iconic global brands over a three-year period. The social network said it analyzed 5,000 unprompted tweets about brands from June 1, 2020, through March 1, 2021, to identify distinct shifts and trends in attitudes about how brands behave on its platform.