Alex Josephson, Head of Global Brand Strategy at Twitter spoke with D S Simon Media CEO and Founder of The SPOKEies™, Doug Simon about how brands and spokespeople can effectively leverage Twitter as a platform. He also offered his thoughts on how small businesses and non-profit organizations can also use Twitter to grow their organizations despite having smaller budgets.
“I think when it comes to a leader of an organization being a spokesperson or brand representative for a market or a brand, there’s really three pillars– three themes that are really important. One is authenticity. The second would be exclusivity. And the third would be consistency.”
“When users consume video content on Twitter and we compare that to the online video norms– because of the state of mind they’re in– they’re in a mobile environment, they’re in a social-oriented environment. We see everything from engagement, to recall, to even the actual memory encoding when they’re watching the video.”
DOUG SIMON: Alex is also one of our first judges and members of the advisory board for the new SPOKEies™ Award so this is going to be a very exciting piece. What are some of your tips, best practices, for leaders of organizations to leverage Twitter?
ALEX JOSEPHSON: I think when it comes to a leader of an organization being a spokesperson or brand representative for a market or a brand, there’s really three pillars– three themes that are really important. One is authenticity. The second would be exclusivity. And the third would be consistency. So we say authenticity, we mean what does your brand stand for? And how do you as an individual want to express that on the platform?
And the thing about Twitter is people are themselves on the platform. So whether you’re a brand or a celebrity, the expectation from users and consumers is that you come across acting and sounding like a human being. So if you are a CMO, or a CEO, or an influencer, or speaking on behalf of a brand, it’s really important not to lose your authentic tone of voice and persona on a platform. And not come across as a mechanical or disingenuine, because the users– your audience will pick up on that right away. Conversely, if you are authentic, they’ll gravitate towards that and relate to that. And the engagement with your content with your identity on the platform will pay off as a result.
DOUG SIMON: And authenticity and trust are going to be a key part of the SPOKEies™ judging criteria. Why is it now, maybe, that only spokespeople are being recognized? Do you think it’s important that they are recognized, finally?
ALEX JOSEPHSON: I think so. It’s almost one of those things where when you hear about the SPOKEies™, you think to yourself, well, why hasn’t that existed historically? But I think we’re at an interesting cross section within marketing today where suddenly, PR and social are merging and becoming almost one platform. Because it would be impossible today to write a PR strategy without taking social into consideration.
DOUG SIMON: Of course.
ALEX JOSEPHSON: Conversely, it’s impossible today to write a social strategy without taking PR into consideration. The two sort of feed off each other, and I think are almost synonymous with one another now.
DOUG SIMON: And that fits with the study you recently did that shows how effective video is within the Twitter platform. How important is that for a spokesperson to be creating video content that you’re using as part of your Twitter program?
ALEX JOSEPHSON: Yeah, so that’s something that’s evolved over time. When Twitter was born as a platform and as a service, it was 140 characters. In fact, that comes from SMS limitations. It’s actually 160 characters. The first 20 characters were for your phone number. It’s evolved over time from images to now video. We’ve seen video consumption over the last two years on Twitter alone increased by exponential standards. And now Twitter is a very visual platform. It’s everything from journalists posting content they’re shooting, to highlights from a game, to even live streaming on the platform. It’s important that spokespeople take advantage of video as a format on Twitter.
When users consume video content on Twitter and we compare that to the online video norms– because of the state of mind they’re in– they’re in a mobile environment, they’re in a social-oriented environment. We see everything from engagement, to recall, to even the actual memory encoding when they’re watching the video. We see that increase exponentially when compared to what you typically see on the web. And it’s really, really important for spokespeople to take advantage of that. And not just be tweeting text-based content. But to be leveraging video tools to get their message out.
DOUG SIMON: That’s awesome. Now, let’s say you’re with a small nonprofit or very small organization. Is it still possible to leverage the power of Twitter to be successful and grow your organization, build leadership?
ALEX JOSEPHSON: Absolutely. In fact, we often see nonprofits and NGOs take some of the most creative approaches on the platform as a result for really having to make the most of the resources at their fingertips. Not relying on heavy budgets– production budgets, or media budgets, or large teams, or even what have you, because they have to be entrepreneurial and grassroots. And the beauty of social, and the beauty of Twitter, is you can really leverage the platform to get outsized or disproportionate return on investment of your time.
Traditional media, you can either afford a spot during the Super Bowl or you can’t. You can either afford the billboards in Times Square, or you can print that in the New York Times or you can’t. And Twitter is one of those places where if you’re at the ACLU, for example, what they did recently in sort of piggybacking off what was happening in the world, and leveraging that as a platform to grow their followership on Twitter to over a million followers, was something that they did through really grassroots efforts.
DOUG SIMON: That’s cool and we’re very excited that part of the SPOKEies™ is going to include judging for specific social media awards through Twitter. Alex, thanks so much for being with us. Awesome stuff.
ALEX JOSEPHSON: Sure, thanks for having me. Excited.