How to Win on Twitter

A Litter of Kittens, a Couple of Tweets, and One Stellar Relationship: How Twitter Formed a Bond Between the Nevada Basketball Team and the SPCA of Northern Nevada

“I hardly get anywhere with Twitter! No one reads my tweets!” When discussing Twitter with marketers, you quickly find it can be a confusing platform. Often, it’s difficult to gain followers and get traction on Twitter. You can find a lot of brands that have started a Twitter account but have given up after seeing minimal success. However, Twitter is very popular in certain industries: politics, celebrities, sports, sciences, and news. If you leverage this platform correctly, Twitter can be extremely effective at growing your audience and finding new ways to connect to users who might not be on other platforms you typically use, like Instagram.

Despite the challenges, Twitter can be incredibly powerful if you use it properly. I’ll show you how to use the power of Twitter to make a big impact by telling you a story about some basketball players and a litter of kittens.

Basketball, Kittens, and Tweets

It all started when three incredible athletes decided to skip the NBA draft and come back to the University of Nevada for a final season of basketball with Head Coach, Eric Musselman. The players were Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin, and Cody Martin. It was huge news in the northern Nevada community and in college basketball. Around that same time, a mother cat had been abandoned with three tiny babies. They were rescued by loving, caring people at the SPCA of Northern Nevada. Once in the facility, mom and babies got the medical care, time, and attention they had been missing. Since the babies were only about 4 weeks old, they went into the foster care program at the SPCA of Northern Nevada. Before they left the facility for their temporary foster home, this litter and mom got some very special names – they were named after the Nevada men’s basketball team. Mom was named Coach Muss, and the three kittens were named Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin, and Cody Martin, to celebrate and show support for the Wolfpack.

three kittens with a basketball
These three kittens were named after Caleb Martin, Jordan Caroline, and Cody Martin.

I did a quick photoshoot with the kittens, placing a basketball in the photos. I then took the photos and went online. I posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Facebook and Instragram showed a bit of interest. However, sports are big on Twitter. Guess who has Twitter handles? The Nevada men’s basketball players who the kittens were named after! I tagged the players, Coach Muss, and the news stations and let them know we were so glad they were coming back to our community for another season. Jordan Caroline was the first to notice and he even retweeted! After that, other players on the team took notice and started tweeting and liking the tweets. Once I had that traction, I reached out to the men’s basketball team’s marketing director, Jack.

Screen capture of SPCA twitter feed featuring the photos of the kittens and Jordan Carolines retweet
Jordan Caroline was the first to notice the tweet about the litter of kittens retweeted.

The proposition was simple, if the team would be willing, we would love to bring the special litter to them and take some photos. It would help the organization adopt out more animals because it would bring awareness from a nontraditional audience (significantly more than half of the followers on social media for the SPCA are women). The entire team and staff were so open-hearted and kind, they allowed us to come! The players had a great time with the tiny kittens who were named after them and the results were adorable.

Basketball players holding kittens.
The players had a great time playing with the kittens who were named after them!

After the shoot, I went back to Twitter to share the photos. News stations are also very active on Twitter and I was sure to tag them, as well. I sent out a press release about the recent photo shoot and the local stations picked up on the tweets and the photos made it on the air. Through all of this, the organization was able to reach a wider audience to spread the message of adoption, they gained many followers, and they established a relationship with very influential local people. In fact, those kittens have led to an ongoing relationship with the SPCA of Northern Nevada. The Martin twins, in their final, record-breaking season on the Nevada Basketball Team, are actively interning for the SPCA of Northern Nevada! Their influence has gained exponentially more followers for the organization – people who would normally probably not known about the organization or given it much thought. They are inspiring young people and spreading the message of adoption. During a recent game broadcast on CBS, the announcers discussed the SPCA of Northern Nevada, the kittens, and the internship that the Martins are doing. A new show on Nevada Sports Net comes out weekly and in their most recent episode, they had a two-minute spotlight on the SPCA and the work that the Martins are doing there. This would not have happened without Twitter.

Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!

So how can you start to leverage Twitter to your advantage? Here are some tips:

  • Follow local news stations, local celebrities, local politicians, and people with lots of followers (influencers) in your community. They might even follow you back!
  • Keep your tweets relevant and useful – make sure your tweets add value or entertainment to those reading them
  • Make sure it’s happening right now – Twitter is all about meaningful connection to things that are current. Comment about things people are excited about and be sure to be responsive, especially when you get engagement on your tweets!
  • Tag the right people at the right time – and the reverse is definitely true: don’t tag them if it has nothing to do with them or won’t matter to them. As long as what you say actually matters to them, they’ll appreciate the tag.
  • Don’t forget to Hashtag – you can see trending topics on the left-hand side of your feed. You can now choose between keeping it local or looking at a broader feed of hashtags. Play with and test out both to see what works best for you.
  • Expand your horizons – find a way to connect to the people who use Twitter to your brand, even in nontraditional ways. Even though you might not think about sports when you think about foster kittens, making an engaging connect to bring in new audiences to your brand that exist on the platform can make a big impact.
  • Hootsuite – don’t forget about this free tool that allows you to schedule tweets! Twitter is an important platform, but without an ad account, it doesn’t have a built in scheduler. Use the free version of Hootsuite to make sure you’re always active on the platform.

A final note: this blog focuses on Twitter, which did establish the connection, but keep in mind that without every member of the organization working together and doing their best, the relationship would not have worked and the tweets wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Congratulations to the SPCA of Northern Nevada on the life-saving work you do in our community. Please visit their website and support that incredible organization.

What has your experience with Twitter been? Do you have any examples of successful campaign integrations you’ve done with the platform? Leave me a comment and we can discuss it!

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