Recently, Fast Company published an article dubbing a tweet from Cottonelle the “worst brand tweet of the week.” Having not seen every brand tweet that week, I can neither confirm nor deny that this is the worst, but there is one brand consistently doing it better—Charmin.
Named the “sassiest brand on Twitter” by Time, Charmin uses humor and cultural awareness in a way other brands might only dance around. Take the Cottonelle tweet in question, for example:
LeBron James is returning to Cleveland. Lesson: Stick with what works, like Cottonelle TP and Flushable Wipes— Cottonelle (@cottonelle) July 11, 2014
Cottonelle's tweet has no personality whatsoever. It's product placement at it's worst. And then, there is Charmin’s take on the news (bathroom jokes ahead):
Looks like the king is returning his "throne" back to Cleveland. The internet is officially in meltdown & blowout mode. #tweetfromtheseat— Charmin (@Charmin) July 11, 2014
Even tweets that don’t show much personality might luck into a large number of retweets just because they're topical. Even though this Cottonelle tweet was deemed “worst tweet of the week,” it was Cottonelle's most retweeted and favorited tweet. So imagine the impact it could have had on the brand if they actually showed some personality.
By the way, this high retweeting was likely due to people searching LeBron James on Twitter and finding this Cottonelle tweet. It is not likely (in my opinion) the result of a natural love for the brand. When you look at the difference in personality and brand voice, Charmin is consistently the winner with over 40,000 followers.
I’ve been a fan of Charmin’s social media strategy for a while. Although bathroom jokes and animated bears might not work for your brand, everyone can learn something from Charmin’s social media playbook. Charmin excels at finding ways to tie news, events, holidays, and trending topics to its brand. Often, it includes striking images or video too.
Here are a few examples of how Charmin is killing it on Twitter by staying relevant, original, and humorous. Its competitors, well…you’ll see for yourself.
It’s more than okay to tweet about national holidays—everybody does it. Using trending topics like holidays can boost engagement and brand awareness. Talking about timely, relevant topics can help your brand. But as Cottonelle and Charmin can show you, there’s a difference between doing it and doing it well.
Here's Cottonelle's take on Independence Day:
Treat every day like Independence Day. We do. Happy 4th of July! pic.twitter.com/Fd5bBziuAg— Charmin (@Charmin) July 4, 2014
Why is Charmin's tweet better?
Spend five minutes looking at Charmin's Twitter profile and you'll see a common hashtag: #tweetfromtheseat. Charmin appears to have started using the hashtag just a few months after creating their Twitter account back in 2011 and have stuck with it since.
Not only is the hashtag catchy, but it falls in line with their brand's sense of humor and drives engagement from followers. Here's one example of the hashtag in use:
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Charmin should take their competitor's knockoff hashtag as a compliment. Apparently trying to cash in on Charmin's success, Angel Soft starting using a similar, less inspired hashtag a few months ago:
Dear coffee: thank you. Like, times infinity.... You got us going this morning. #tweetfromtheseat— Charmin (@Charmin) July 1, 2014
There's nothing worse than stepping into the shower, only to be greeted by cold water. RT if you agree! #ThoughtsFromTheClouds— Angel Soft® (@AngelSoft) July 10, 2014
Similar to the Worst Tweet of the Week, this tweet is devoid of personality. Plus, it's a poor imitation of the original. Although, at least they got one follower to agree that unexpected cold water is unpleasant so...there's that.
Charmin is a pro at using humor to integrate their brand with pop culture. Take the Game of Thrones finale, for example (spoilers!). Charmin frequently tweets about "enjoying the go," so not only is this example consistent with topics they normally talk about, it also takes advantage of a trending topic that tons of people were talking about.
For those who don't watch Game of Thrones, during the season finale one of the main characters was killed on the toilet. Here's Charmin's take:
Okay, so this is kind of dark humor, but still. They're talking about a popular topic, keeping it relevant, and making a joke. I can't actually give you any examples from other brands, because Cottonelle, Angel Soft, and Quilted Northern all stayed quiet on the topic. Sure, for them it would have been a little out of the ordinary. Commenting on an on the toilet death would have stood out as an anomaly among all their boring tweets. But such commentary fits perfectly for the sassiest brand on Twitter.
There are countless examples of Charmin succeeding on social media, and you can use them for inspiration. What's important about how successful they are on Twitter is what everyone else can learn. It's okay to be funny and off topic. People don't follow brands on social media because they want to be bombarded with advertising. They want news, updates, and even some entertainment.
No, bathroom humor may not work for every brand, but what Charmin shows us is that having a personality on social media benefits your brand as long as you know where to draw the line.
Clearly, Charmin is one of my favorite brands on Twitter. What are some of yours? Share them with us in the comments.
Photo Credit: Andreas Eldh