​Shortly after the Rays defeated the Red Sox Monday night, the victors sent out this provocative tweet. The Red Sox responded in kind with a little vinegar of their own. The back-and-forth was briefly touched upon the following morning during the Toucher and Rich Show, which I to listen to avidly. The hosts scoffed at the exchange calling it “lame” and jokingly speculating that it was the work of an intern because of how immature it was. Needless to say, they weren’t fans of using Twitter in that manner.

Tweet from the Boston Red Sox

I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, the conversation illustrated three facets of a smart Twitter strategy that can help improve the teams’ brands. They aren’t limited to sports teams, either. All businesses should emulate this strategy on Twitter – with modifications to fit their company, of course. Here are the three lessons I took away from the exchange: Communicate Like Your Audience The modest banter was not that far removed from that of fans (albeit, probably a little more civil). In communicating like a fan, the teams display authenticity that resonates with its fans, but more importantly, its customers. Sports teams have a certain advantage due to lack of competition and tremendous loyalty, so they have more wiggle room to be creative and divisive. The Los Angeles Kings have all but perfected this. However, any company that wishes to project a certain image with its product or service should communicate in a corresponding manner. Whole Foods, for example, offers cooking tips for non-traditional diets and touts social causes. Make Your Brand Stand Out Similar to the previous point, the tweets evoked the type of emotion and prodding remarks we would typically associate with fans rather than multimillion dollar corporations, which is what those teams are. They’re also both baseball teams that compete for interest amongst sports fans and as the Red Sox noted, they’re winning the loyalty battle in Tampa’s backyard. There are a few reasons for that, one of which is the strength of the Red Sox brand. When I write, the thing I am most cognizant of is voice. If you can develop a voice, your writing will stand out to readers. The same can be said of brands. One of the great things about Twitter, from a business perspective, is that it allows you the opportunity to conduct market research, engage your audience and advertise all in one platform – for free. Twitter allows you to say what you want, when you want. Some companies have done well with the opportunity, using Twitter to craft calculated, tailored messages to separate themselves from competitors. McDonald's Canada saw an increase in business simply by answering customer questions truthfully. Recently, though, I think Oreo has been able to do this best by applying its product to pop culture. The cleverness of messaging was applauded by users who spread their message and positioned Oreo as a hip company. Give People A Reason To Pay Attention To What You’re Saying The exchange between the Red Sox and Rays was interesting enough that it caught people’s attention. I, myself, am not a baseball fan, but I checked out both teams’ feeds upon hearing what had transpired. So, from a marketing standpoint, the Twitter conversation was a home run (excuse the pun). I look at corporate Twitter feeds like a television station. There’s interesting material and there’s advertising. The key is to offer content that draws users in so that corporate news or advertisement doesn’t seem overwhelming. Whole Foods and Oreo have each, in their own unique way, provided a reason for users to follow them. In doing so, they’ve secured the attention of customers (or, even better, potential customers) to ensure their promotional material is seen. And like a TV show, I’m willing to sift through the commercials because there’s something worthwhile on the other side. There you have it, three reasons why silly little quips from baseball teams encapsulate the brand strengthening potential offered by Twitter. The examples I’ve provided may not immediately resonate with an insurance company or a government agency, but when you strip it down, they apply to every type of organization imaginable. Know your audience and communicate accordingly; use the freedom Twitter offers to creatively strengthen your brand; offer more than just corporate news. As a consumer, this is what I want from you, the company, on Twitter. By Sean Hathaway, SM& Account Coordinator