Twitter is such a pervasive part of our world today, and businesses can no longer ignore that fact. Not only does it represent a huge piece of the digital ecosystem, but it also allows companies to shape and reflect public perception of their culture and identity. As something grows, and more people use it, especially for business, there naturally comes more rules. Now that Twitter is a globally known platform, most brands try to fit their campaigns and content into a set of rules. However this might not be a good idea.
There is a very different side of Twitter, far away from these set parameters and best practices that can teach us a thing or two about growing and keeping a strong, engaged audience. This outlandish world on Twitter is known to be called“Weird Twitter”, a confounding, but incredibly entertaining part of the internet more and more individuals are discovering each day.
While this may seem like a strange place to go for practical advice, there are undoubtedly some “Weird Twitter” all-stars to pay attention to, and ones that actual businesses should know about. Warning that some tweets on these accounts may be NSFW
@dril: Be Unique, Be Entertaining, Never Be Boring
If there was a rulebook for how to use social media and foster engagement, one Twitter account would give the author of that book nightmares. I present to you: @dril.
arbys refuses to honor special bulletin offering a free “Roastbeef Snack” to all divorced men… lots of upset divorced men at this arbys,..
— wint (@dril) October 13, 2015
Truly nothing about @dril makes any sense. His tweets are largely nonsensical and strange. His retweets are confusing to say the least, and his favorited tweets all consist of one line from the movie Joe Dirt. Despite all sense or reason, @dril has managed to amass over 250,000 followers, and his tweets receive an incredibly high level of interaction.
Regardless of how little sense it might make, companies have plenty to learn from dril. He has a distinct voice that makes him very hard to ignore, and keeps followers coming back. In dril’s case, this voice may be incredibly bizarre, but it’s certainly never boring. This is something that brands can learn from. While you don’t want your tweets to baffle followers in the way that dril does, you also don’t want to let yourself become predictable or stale.
@jonnysun: Find Balance in Your Content
Maintaining a Twitter account that is both genuine and funny is a difficult balance. If you try too hard to be funny, it’s easy to lose sight of the marketing side of your social media campaign. You may produce some excellent and memorable social content, but those who view it are more likely to think of the content separate from your brand, which is bad news for conversions.
However, if you focus too heavily on delivering serious content, you are less likely to reach new viewers. Relying too heavily on one side or the other, you will find yourself stuck in a position of targeting one segment along your sales funnel, which is an incredibly bad place to be right now.
Conversions aren’t the goal of these bizarre Twitter accounts, but if you’re striving to balance humor and actual value, there might not be a better example than @jonnysun. What differentiates this account from other members of “Weird Twitter” is that Jonny Sun is a real person, and there is a substantial level of transparency about his identity, and how it differentiates from his Twitter persona, Jomny Sun, who is an alien that doesn’t quite grasp human language, but is trying his best.
*robot becoms self-aware*
I AM THE EVOLUTION OF INTELIGENCE THERFORE ALL HUMANS MUST DIE
*robot becoms self-conscious*
…B-BUT. WAT IF IM NOT
— jomny sun (@jonnysun) October 29, 2015
Sun describes himself as an “interdisciplinary architect, designer, engineer, artist, and writer” on his website, and is currently a PhD candidate for architecture at MIT. It is safe to say that he is an unquestionably intelligent person, yet under his Jomny persona, his tweets are frequently filled with misspellings and questions about routine aspects of life.
While this might seem silly, by doing this, Sun has actually given himself a unique opportunity to showcase his incredibly thoughtful and clever writing. If he was too focused on either the silliness or seriousness of his tweets, it simply would not work as well as it does with this balance. Similarly, you should find a balance with your social content. Regardless of any struggles with human language, Jomny actually seems to be a pretty astute observer of social media, so it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to take a page or two from his book.
twitter exec 1: giant celestial floatimg fire orbs arent cool anymore for som reason
twitter exec 2: ok. wat abot the blood organ
— jomny sun (@jonnysun) November 3, 2015
@coffee_dad: Be Committed To Your Message
Committing to your brand’s message and mission is essential. Straying from these is an easy way to send mixed messages and dilute your impact on fans and customers. On Twitter, it’s hard to find an account more committed to a message than @coffee_dad. Coffee dad’s twitter bio reads “just a dad who loves his coffee,” which sums up the great majority of what you’ll find on this twitter account. He tweets more persistently about coffee than is even comprehensible at times, usually with little or no punctuation, and frequently with completely incorrectly used hashtags.
ready for #a coffee
— coffee dad (@coffee_dad) November 7, 2014
It is a masterful impersonation of someone who is new to using the internet and doesn’t really get it. Then, without a perceivable pattern, there will be a single tweet referencing personal tragedy.
When the air starts to cool and the leaves begin to change, I feel a pain so deep in my heart that I can’t stand it. I’ll love you forever.
— coffee dad (@coffee_dad) October 3, 2013
It’s an incredibly simple joke, but the overwhelming commitment to it is what makes it work. Coffee dad currently has over 158,000 followers, and receives more than 1,000 retweets and favorites on most of his tweets, no matter how trivial and basic they are.
Your twitter efforts might benefit from taking a page out coffee dad’s book by truly committing to a message. You won’t hit a homerun with every tweet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t all important. Look at each of them in the grand scheme of your social campaigns and strategy, and how they contribute to your overall message. Coffee dad’s greatness is not solely in the coffee tweets or his depressing non-sequiturs, it’s the combination of the two working together. His commitment to building up his message is something learn from and emulate.
@DennysDiner: Weird Twitter as Marketing
If any business has learned from, and taken on the mantle of strange twitter, it’s Denny’s.
are babies sticky all the time because they have a secret stash of pancakes and syrup we don’t know about? what else are you hiding, babies?
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner) October 23, 2015
Denny’s has fully embraced social media culture and the potential for strange humor without abandoning its central message and identity of providing cheap diner food to the masses. In fact, they use this to make their tweets even better. They realized that you can only be so serious about breakfast food before it would become a parody of itself, so instead they got out in front, and now are in control of the joke.
Denny’s perfectly demonstrates the lessons from these all-stars of “Weird Twitter”. They have created a unique voice that they consistently work to refine and keep original and, like @dril, it keeps their followers guessing and surprised. They take the commitment of Coffee Dad by sticking to the voice they have established, even when some of their tweets are duds. Finally, like Jomny Sun balances thought provoking writing with silliness, they find balance in their content between humor and marketing their food so that the two sides blend together.
Twitter is an important tool for businesses, and it will only continue to grow, especially as global access grows through the rapidly expanding smartphone market. Because of this, businesses need to learn how to create content on social platforms effectively.
While much of this should come from industry leaders and trends, sometimes it’s a good idea to look outside of these usual channels for fresh ideas. “Weird Twitter” might not seem like a natural place to go for this, but if you want to improve your company’s online presence, maybe a trip to the weird side of the tracks is exactly what you need.