Learn from these top Twitter accounts

My suggestion for those who just signed up for a social media account is to first listen to the online conversation before you begin speaking.

It’s important to get the “lay of the land” before attempting to launch into something that may get you in trouble. No where is that more critical than Twitter where a rogue tweet could cost you and our organization dearly. Check out the Simply Zesty’s top Twitter accounts from brands that approach the fast-flying tweets differently.

Chevrolet

Followers: 139,304

Chevrolet variates its content by showing what its followers expect. Cars, cars and more cars. By hashtagging its tweets, it can keep track of the conversation although it uses it a little too much. Still, it keeps things interesting by mixing up content and encouraging followers to get involved.

Ford

Followers: 150,908

Similar to Chevrolet, Ford Motors does the usual mix of photos, links and hashtags, but places a greater emphasis on creating a personal feel.

General Motors

Followers: 65,674

GM gets a lot of mileage out of crowdsourcing tweets and photos. While it does tweet its own updates and links, its real focus is bringing together all the content created by followers, building up involvement between the company and its followers.

Dell

Followers: 44,440

Dell focuses more on direct marketing, but its real strength is its sister accounts. While there is the primary @Dell account, others like @DellOutlet and @DellCares have 1.5 million followers and 21,539 followers respectively because they each have their own specific identity and role.

Zappos

Followers: 2,597,376

A brilliant example of how you can humanise a brand. The fact that the brand account is ran by its CEO Tony Hsieh gives it a voice many brands don’t have. The only problem is that it’s not updated often, but if you’re looking for pointers about how you can promote your brand, it’s worth reading through.

Starbucks

Followers: 2,848,164

A master of multimedia content, Starbucks uses all its different accounts like Instagram and Facebook to flesh out its content and create content its users will enjoy. It does tweet promotional messages, but how it phrases such tweets means that it fits in nicely with the brand’s voice.

Southwest Airlines

Followers: 1,370,456

As airlines require real-time update, Southwest Airlines variates between its own updates and customer notifications. It also does a very good job at replying to users, while it usually does it in bulk, its humourous replies gives the brand a personal feel.

Hertz

Followers: 17,997

Hertz is all about interaction, having a quick look though its account shows that it prides itself on helping its customers out and ensuring that they get the best experience possible. It does have the occasional promotional tweet, but the account is a great example of using Twitter for customer service.

The Travel Channel

Followers: 515,358

The Travel Channel doesn’t focus much on interaction, but makes up for it through a lot of multimedia content and useful content that gives followers a behind the scenes look at its programmes.

Popcap

Followers: 61,577

Considering that Popcap is a games company, it’s no surprise that its account reflects this. While its content is lighthearted, it’s also able to be serious when dealing with queries or problems, and therefore strikes a good balance between serious and silly.

KLM

Followers: 298,585

Famed for its numerous and innovative social media campaigns, KLM is pretty good at responding to users and promoting its own content. It does post a lot of links to its blog, but every now and again, it does post multimedia content.

Sharpie

Followers: 228,369

A pretty fun brand to work with anyway, Sharpie is a great example in how a brand can have a real personality on Twitter. Full of sarcasm, irony and a healthy dose of dry humour, they manage the account well with a lot of one-on-one interaction with fans. You’ll be hard pushed to find tweets that promote their products directly or include a salesy message; instead you just want to buy into the brand to be part of the fun.

Smart Car USA

Followers: 4,199

A previous favourite with us here at Simply Zesty following their use of Twitter for a brilliant bit of customer service, they continue to deliver entertaining tweets. While a lot of the content is just promoting Smart Car directly, they’re particularly good at making the most of their sponsorships, such as with the US Open most recently.

British Airways

Followers: 196,957

British Airways has come into their own during London 2012, showing a good mix of promotional brand content with news and updates that are of general interest. During the Olympics, it also made particularly good use of images to add a bit of extra engagement.

Duke of Yorks

Followers: 8,567

A nice example of how a smaller business can use Twitter well here. This independent cinema in Brighton, United Kingdom, is great for general film buffs as they make sure to share their expertise alongside information on show times, special screenings, etc. Well worth a follow even if you’re not in the area to get a good dose of trivia and updates in world cinema. You’re also guaranteed good trailer links and film specials.

Ben & Jerry’s

Followers: 71,173

This really needs no explanation. One of the world’s best-loved brands, its Twitter account is as enjoyable as its ice-cream (well, almost). They share fans’ creations, latest recipes and everything you could ever want to know from the world of Ben & Jerry’s. The account has a nice personal feel to it, and does a great job of embodying the brand.

Innocent Drinks

Followers: 72,251

What you can’t learn from Innocent on Twitter probably isn’t worth knowing. Again, it’s a brand that makes great use of images on its account that sometimes have nothing to do with Innocent, but are pure unadulterated fun. Their account is incredibly active, showing an impressive feat in sharing great content that doesn’t disappoint.

ASOS

Followers: 306,332

ASOS is a great example in how to keep focus on your brand and give your fans exactly what they want. While it might seem to play it safe with the content shared, it has developed some great practices such as standardising the pictures they share, which make for a nice looking display, mixed in with fashion tips as well as its own product news. They update an impressive amount in any given day showing that they’re dedicate real resource to social media.

Uber

Followers: 18,131

While Uber’s appeal may be limited by the locations the service is available in, their account is well worth a look to find out how to do customer service through Twitter. What’s impressive is that they’re happy to leave complaints public and deal with them through @ replies rather than trying to keep them private, which is helpful for other Uber riders.

Netflix (US)

Followers: 198,356

The Netflix account is a great example of a brand using their in-house expertise to the fullest. Sharing good links, quotes, new release updates and plenty of retweets of fans, it’s a great one to follow if you’re looking to discover new titles and how to get the most from Netflix.

Triple J

Followers: 114,600

This Australian radio station is heavy on great links and band news. It shows that even smaller brands can succeed at Twitter, with consistent updates and seemingly different team members manning the account to ensure there’s always something good being shared. Even if you’re not based in Australia, follow for some musical goodness.

Taco Bell

Followers: 246,277

Proving that the best weapon is a sense of humour, Taco Bell’s Twitter account embraces both the positive and negative tweets it receives. Never taking itself too seriously, the company gets a lot of interaction and regularly comments on those who mention the product, instead of passively waiting for a mention.

Nike

Followers: 635,700

As you would expect, one of the biggest brands in the world has a strong presence on the site. They do interact to a certain degree but tweets are not that frequent with about one or two every day. A mixture of inspirational quotes, links to their promotional channels and campaigns as well as some selling of products.

Playstation

Followers: 1,384,970

Used as more of a broadcast channel rather than somewhere where people interact with the brand, but with over 1.3 million followers and lots of engaging sticky updates, it is clearly onto something. Links back to the games with lots of reviews, tips and cheats.

Etsy

Followers: 1,708,500

This community for homemade craft goods has a massive community online and that is reflected in their Twitter account which has a massive 1.7 million followers. A huge focus on products that get listed on the site here and clearly that is content that people want to see appearing in their Twitter feed.

Toms

Followers: 1,859,241

The shoe and eye wear company have perfected the balance of selling lots of goods online while still keeping the feel of a small start up where you feel invested in the company as a consumer. Lots of links to products, competitions and fun little contests and games.

Samsung

Followers: 2,590,600

There are a few Samsung accounts, but this is the main English one and this is one area where they do have a huge advantage over their longtime rivals Apple seeing as they don’t have an account. The main focus here is on competitions, providing info on new products and tips on how to improve your use of the devices.

Jet Blue

Followers: 1,681,908

Another one of the airlines on our list and Jet Blue do use Twitter especially well when it comes to building their brand and engaging with their audience. Rather than a customer service tool this is more about the fun photos and rich media content that makes you want to jump on to one of their planes and travel somewhere nice.

Red Cross

Followers: 758,059

One of the biggest and best known charities in the world has a large and passionate following on Twitter. You can expect the odd emotional plea for your cash, but the Red Cross also do a good job of retweeting posts that highlight just how good a job they do with the money you give them.

Dunkin Doughuts

Followers: 166,742

You shouldn’t expect much thought provoking debate or world changing news from the account of a doughnut company, but you will get lots of fun competitions, an early glimpse at new products and fun ways of engaging with the brand. Warning: This account will make you want to eat doughnuts and probably put on weight!

Google

Followers: 5,230,871

You wouldn’t expect to see a competitor using the service well, but Google do a good job of sharing information about and promoting its new products through Twitter. Don’t expect to get much interaction with the account, but if you are a fan of Google or its products, this is a must follow account.

Levi’s

Followers: 77,086

One of the world’s biggest jeans companies doesn’t have the most followers on the list – only 77,000 people follow the account – but it uses it well with engaging content, lots of interaction and regular updates.

Waterstones

Followers: 46,333

The British chain of book shops regularly tweet about new books on offer as well as in-store appearance by authors and competitions – most recently, Waterstones has been offering the chance to win Smiths merchandise to any Marr and Morrissey fans out there. The two lads who run the account are often willing to engage with their followers in matters beyond their business, but only seem to RT mentions of Waterstones stores. Insightful and/or witty quotes from famed authors are occasionally tweeted, adding a bit of fun to the Waterstones feed, but this a generally informative and useful account that highlights Waterstones’ strong online presence.

O2 (UK)

Followers: 120,549

O2’s UK feed is brimming with offers on new phones and contracts, but it also offers great opportunities such as the chance to train with heavyweights of rugby union’s English Premiership Saracens or to win tickets to the iTunes Festival. They also tweet funny pictures and tell their followers about new initiatives that are both promotional and somewhat enriching for entrants, such as the ‘Think Big’ scheme to find up and coming musical talent in partnership with BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. It’s quite a sociable account that tries to provoke interactions from its followers, though it does not tweet or mention any of them specifically.

Skittles

Followers: 39,003

The Skittles Twitter account is charmingly nonsensical. Spitting non-sequiters and riddles about rainbows, pirates and dolphins, this feed is about as colourful as the sweets it represents. It’s refreshingly candid, in that there’s little in the way of promotion or boring, corporate-sponsored tweets. It’s just a fun account that may provide you with a giggle or two if you follow.

Charmin

Followers: 3,710

The paper towel mainstay is currently hosting their version of the 2012 US Presidential Election; its red and blue mascots arguing the cases for the brand’s two paper towel brands, ultra soft and ultra strong. Aside from the gimmicky promotion, the Charmin Twitter is actually quite, um charming. The #tweetfromtheseat hashtag provides a fascinating view of life from the toilet, and there are plenty of funny tweets to go around, as evidenced by the number of gushing replies they get.

Old Spice

Followers: 219,379

“Drop-kicking dirt and odor [sic], doing a clothesline on them and then slamming them with a folding chair,” reads the Old Spice Twitter bio. It’s that kind of hyperbolic manliness that has led the men’s toiletry company to worldwide recognition and has made them more than just a brand. Their latest video, a short clip of Expendables actor/physical specimen Terry Crewes playing the drums with his muscles currently holds Promoted Tweet status, but it surrounded by hyper-macho tweets about jet packs and sea serpents. So ludicrous that it is profound, somehow.

Mars Curiosity Rover

Followers: 1,131,229

The mission of the Mars Curiosity rover has become a global talking point, and this NASA Twitter account will keep curious space-gazers up to date with the bot’s progress across the Red Planet while deploying a few Back to the Future references. Many of the tweets are merely links to other media and will.i.am songs, but there are also images and videos of Mars provided. It’s quite dazzling.

Intel

Followers: 322,274

The Intel accounts is mainly comprised of links and promotional tweets that their followers will likely find very useful, but it is a somewhat dry, predictable feed. They mostly link to written and video features on the Intel website, thus providing an easy way to keep up to date with their latest online content and technological developments.

Whole Foods Markets

Followers: 2,946,939

The Whole Market Foods Twitter is a mecca for organic food lovers with images and recipes for healthy food options aplenty. There isn’t a lot beyond that, but it is an incredible source for people with specific tastes who want to cook regularly. There’s not a lot in way of original content, and it would be just as productive to bookmark the website address if you weren’t on Twitter so damn much.

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