Sometimes you need more than 140 characters to get your message across, but often times short bursts of targeted messages to the right people at the right time can champion a cause or product launch into a raging Twitter storm.
This powerhouse social media channel demands focus, brevity, succinctness and pursuit of your ideal community.
Like any marketing campaign, Twitter storms do not happen overnight. Relationships require leadership, coordination, alignment with PR, social outreach, crazy good graphics (don’t forget to brand them), consistent, relevant hashtags and acute timing. Hire a social community manager to coordinate your Twitter strategy, even before an active campaign begins. It takes a while to identify and tap into energetic people and followers who later become your rainmakers.
#BeeSafe Twitter Storm Campaign
Recently, I took part in a statewide campaign to pass the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act. This grassroots initiative was aimed at important environmental legislation to ensure that non-essential bee-killing pesticides are taken off home and garden store shelves. One of the campaign leaders was my colleague Bonnie Raindrop, courageous beekeepers, activists, and 70 organizations known as the Smart on Pesticides Coalition. They fought monumental odds against big pesticide companies who had lots of bucks and brawn, yet, their strategy worked brilliantly.
#BeeSafe messages held layers of passion, statistics and pleas to compel legislators to pass the bill. One message said, “Don’t make your garden a killing field for pollinators.” Another states, “Sharp increase in hive collapses. Maryland lost 61% in 2015, and 50% in 2014. Numbers leapt from 20% hive loss in 2013.”
The Twitter community wrote to state legislators and Maryland’s Governor. They signed petitions. They talked to press. They stood in protest and united with persistence. They worked tireless hours, weeks, and months to educate citizens and businesses about toxic neonicotinoid chemicals.
I am a concerned citizen and an avid gardener, yet I was ignorant to these horrible chemicals that contaminate our vegetables and flowers and kill critical pollinators that sustain our food supply and plant world.
How to Orchestrate a Great Twitter Campaign
Twitter storms happen when a community cares deeply about a cause or issue. Commercial entities can be quite successful too, with authentic strategies that carefully discuss real benefits of products and services that solve problems.
- First, make sure that your social media manager is busy identifying specific target audiences by name.
- Build a profile and a special list of those who share common interests.
- Identify a compelling story and unfold it across the Internet.
- Involve your company employees.
Use compelling graphics for your calls to action. These will be your drivers to landing pages and websites. We all want more visuals and less text.
- Pay attention to your followers and their followers’ followers. Know your heroes!
- Use Twitter’s direct message function to communicate.
The Beauty of a Twitter Storm
Maryland’s #BeeSafe campaign was a potent Twitter storm example. It shows how caring citizens can win using social media, even against billion dollar corporate interests. When organizers posted that the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act bill had passed the Maryland General Assembly, the message had reached over 750,000. In one quarter, more than 2,877 tweets were online by 1,228 contributors.
Now, it is up to Maryland’s Governor to take the final step to allow the public’s and the Maryland General Assembly’s will for the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act to become law. One that would ensure that these tiny creatures (bees and butterflies) will be protected and that the health of our food chain, citizens, and most importantly children will be preserved for centuries to come.
P.S. Bonnie Raindrop and the #BeeSafe community are some of Earth’s all-time heroes.