Twitter is an editorial medium and brands must get tone of voice right

David Levin voice of the Dolphin pub on Twitter speaking at Powered by TweetsTwitter held an event yesterday that highlighted once again the importance of finding your voice on Twitter. I’ve written about this a number of times. At Powered by Tweets, the issue was brought to life by professional Tweeter David Levin who, among other things, is the voice of the Dolphin pub in London’s Hackney. He also works for brands such as Adidas among others, but really came to prominence recently for what has become known as, “possibly the greatest conversation on Twitter ever”.

I’m sure you have read about his exchange while Tweeting as @The_Dolphin_Pub with @DouweEgbertsuk. It was a good example of a brand taking a chance and having a conversation with a feed known for being a little edgy.

Yesterday, @davidlevin123 spoke about that and about tone of voice more generally, and he is a great example of the kind of person that brands need to hire.

One of the things he said yesterday was, “Twitter is quite an editorial medium. Tone of voice is important”.

You need the tone in the same way you need the content/editorial strategy to drive it.

It was interesting that Levin took to the stage on the day when Ryanair’s PR chief said the brand would not be using social media, as they would need to hire at least two people to run it.

Clearly Ryanair has a problem with toxicity when it comes to social media, but Levin said that there wasn’t a brand that wouldn’t benefit from using Twitter.

Twitter can be transformative. It can give brands the chance to take control of the situation even in a crises. If I were Ryanair’s PR boss, I would be grabbing social by the horns and seeing how I could turn it around. It can be done. I’ve said it before, but Ryanair is “an analogue brand in a digital world”.

At Powered by Tweets, mobile firm 02 was held up as an example of how a brand can turn a situation around with a few tweets. Remember the big outage it had last year?

O2 made a few amusing responses to a customer and, according to sentiment analysis, it turned sentiment from anger to “happiness” and “love”.

It did that again when O2 responded to a customer who had an issue about his router and only seems to speak Twitter in Jamaican patois.

How do you respond when sitting in customer service? Apparently you get out your English-lexified Creole language with West African influences dictionary and you reply straight back in kind. You roll with it.

There are so many other great examples of good tone of voice in social media, but many brands still have much to learn.

How Twitter shapes the news

There was a lot more at Powered by Tweets yesterday than Levin. Also good was the great David Hepworth, who was talking about what Twitter taught him about closing a magazine.

Never had The Word had so much attention. Sadly, the moment came when it closed. He said it taught him that increasingly, “the story is shaped by the people – media writing about how twitter”.

He didn’t tell the trade press first that The Word was closing – he put it online and Tweeted. The story was huge on Twitter. That he said leads him to believe that “You will not read about it first from a major news organisation again”.

We saw a very good example of that recently with the London helicopter crash in Vauxhall. News was broken first by passing Tweeters who snapped photos and shared them online.

The first reports by news organisations did not come for almost an hour. On the ground, citizen journalists were armed with the tools of our age – a mobile phone, with camera and a few apps.

Great video here from Twitter showing how that story broke and how it spread.

So many good Twitter examples yesterday. Here a Storify of some.