Lab Life: UK Director Of Twitter Discusses Vine, Marketing Strategies And The Funniest Kebab House In Dalston

Unruly recently launched of City Unrulyversity, the world’s first free pop-up university. To help cut the ribbon on the venture – a collaboration between Unruly, City University and Cass Business School – Twitter’s Bruce Daisley came in to Unruly HQ to discuss the future of social advertising.

As Director of Twitter’s UK operations, Daisley has helped senior-level marketersat the country’s biggest brands adapt their marketing strategies to maximise their presence on the micro-blogging network. The first step towards a Twitter triumph is to develop an understanding of the service and what motivates its users.

“Twitter is a platform all about sharing,” says Daisley. “People come to Twitter to connect with their interests and passions.  It’s an information network rather than a social network.”

Because each tweet is limited to only 140 characters, Daisley explains, brands must accept that conversation moves at a quicker pace than other social media. As Daisley explains: “Two thirds of our users retweet to share what’s happening now.”

According to Daisley this is something that some advertisers forget. He adds: “Writing ads for other platforms and posting them to Twitter doesn’t work so well.”

Daisley singles out an adidas campaign that built on the excitement surrounding theLondon Olympics. “The centrepiece of the campaign was the hashtag #takethestage,” he says, “poster campaigns, outdoor campaigns, the cover wrap of The Metro, the busses that passed you on the street; they all had #takethestage on them.”

But the campaign wasn’t just about blanket coverage, it tapped into the international excitement that accompanied the Games, using the hashtag as a way to pull together online conversation into one branded space.

That’s not to say that every advertising campaign can expect to drive global conversation on Twitter. “It’s always worth remembering that advertising is a low interest category,” Daisley elaborates, “people share free stuff, vouchers for Selfridges at Christmas time are always popular.”

But it’s not just hunting for bargains that drive traffic on the network. He added: “People share photographs. They love sharing an insight into what’s happening around them.”

The immediacy of an image can quickly grab an audience’s attention and should be central to brand’s Twitter activity. “A photograph is an incredibly powerful tool,” says Daisley, “we advise every brand, before they start spending, to tweet out a few photos, they’ll get a great response.”

Almost as influential as photos is video, with 40-50% of Twitter users sharing links to video clips. Twitter launched a new product last week to make it easier for users to share short clips. Vine is an in-stream video service that runs six-second clips of looping action.

According to Daisley, the new tool is proving popular. He says: “People have immediately seized on it to bring a bit of life to the story they’re telling. It gives that little crackle of emotion that a single photograph sometimes lacks.”

Though Vine has the potential to deliver immediate, easily shareable content to targeted users, Daisley feels that there is still a place for traditional video ads. He adds: “I don’t think it will replace long-form video.”

The best use of Vine for brands seems to be using it as back-up to broader campaigns, possibly running teasers or behind-the-scenes content that references the main event.

So if Vine is not to have a starring role in brands’ Twitter campaigns, should they spend their money on promoted tweets or on getting their account promoted? Daisley’s answer is a surprising one. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to spend money until they’re confident what they’re doing is good,” he says. “Of course, each advertiser needs to find their voice in the limited format, working out what engages their audience and builds value.”

With such a succinct format, humour is particularly powerful and the rapid pace of Twitter messaging makes it especially powerful when brands engage directly with the audience and their conversations.

Twitter can be an even playing field, small businesses who know their audiences well can have just as much cut-through as the biggest of brands. One of Daisley’s favourite accounts, @mangal2, a restaurant in Dalston, encapsulates this.

The late-night kebab house has won thousands of followers thanks to its cheeky humour. “It just illustrates how you can use a brilliant tone of voice on Twitter,” chuckles Daisley, “it imbues the restaurant with character.”

Daisley strongly recommends that brands be willing to engage directly with audiences and maximise the comic potential of a tweet. He says:  “The best people take really snappy, pithy comment and make it a brilliant way to direct interest to their website.”

The most important thing for advertisers to remember, according to Daisley, is how intertwined with other platforms Twitter can be. He says: “Twitter isn’t an island, it doesn’t exist in isolation. It connects with other media.”

To sign up to future City Unrulyversity session, click here or to find out how to make your video content fit for sharing on social media click here.