The best Tweets of 2020

Twitter Canada reveals what campaigns broke through this year

The past year has been one of upheaval and change – and it was sometimes a big task for brands to be heard amongst the tumult. What did it take to meaningfully break through in 2020?

For the latest episode of Twitter Canada’s “h/t Twitter” insights series, the team came up with their list of brands who did it best in 2020. And it wasn’t necessarily just about the analytics, notes Twitter Canada’s head of Twitter Next, Jamie Michaels. “We really thought about the mindset of the world and the Twitter audience. These were brands that read the room very well. They found a place they could play that was still on brand, but also reflected the times.”

Michaels says the standouts either provided entertainment – which is an important thing, especially right now – or connected to popular culture really well. They also gave back in some way to the community.

The other big draw was doing good for society. You definitely saw that if you visited #HellmannsIsland. Tapping into the #AnimalCrossing conversation on Twitter, Hellmann’s Canada invited gamers to make real change by converting virtual food waste into real food for those in need. Then there was the work done by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which launched its COVID Alert app with a campaign that made a real difference when it came to keeping Canadians safe.

The year’s best launch campaign went to GMC Hummer EV. Disney, meanwhile, made waves for connecting people around their favourite entertainment, including #HamilFilm and #TheMandalorian, even though we were physically distant. (The former caused a Twitter storm of more than two million Tweets for the first weekend of the Broadway launch.)

No name imageBut it was also about brands like No Name, which stayed true to their brand voice and kept Canadians laughing, with Tweets offering a helpful grooming guide when things were getting especially hairy in the world.

Many of the top Tweets shared a common trait: they showed how far the brands were willing to push the envelope to do something interesting.

“It’s changed a lot from what I would call the 1.0 days of Twitter,” observes Michaels. “It was very much about the war room mindset of: Let’s try this. Let’s try that.” He says the risk factor associated with pushing boundaries has now been mitigated for companies that have already built up a brand voice. “So, you’re taking a risk, but it’s already been established that you’re a brand that is funny, caring or entertaining, so it doesn’t feel as risky.”

Sticking to your lane is now seen as the better strategy than the old try everything approach. “We coach brands all the time: It can’t be a fair-weather thing. Whether you’re going to be bold, whether you’re going to be empathetic, whether you’re going to support the Black Lives Matter movement – it can’t be one Tweet and then the next week you’re back to pushing promotions. It’s got to be holistic, particularly for Twitter, because our audience is super leaned-in and cares about cause and culture,” says Michaels.

“Having that consistency, whether you’re a brand that cares or you’re a brand that’s funny, is the best starting point possible for taking risks.”

So, with so much electricity charging consumer behaviour and trends, what can we anticipate for 2021 and what will it take for brands to make a splash next year?

“Look back and see what resonated with your audience,” he advises. “Look at the conversations.”

Michaels sees 2021 as a build year, at least for the first half. “I don’t think anything is changing. There are a lot of social issues that are still not resolved and still need work. So, take all the learnings from 2020, pick the spots that you think are most relevant for your brand and build on them for the next year. But I think the difference in 2021 is that you can actually plan a little bit, which has been extremely challenging. We can see the future a little bit better.

Find the full 2020 list and the reasons they were included over at <h/t Twitter>.