Twitter introduces video series to help brands navigate COVID

Like a lot of businesses, Twitter Canada is trying something new during the pandemic.

It just launched a short-form video series to help marketers make sense of a consumer landscape that has been radically transformed by the coronavirus.

The first episode of “h/t Twitter” (heard through Twitter) came out last week, and features Jamie Michaels, head of Twitter’s brand strategy team Twitter Next (and apparent Dinosaur Jr. fan), sharing tips on how brands can communicate during a crisis such as COVID.

Other episodes are in the works, with an emphasis on how marketers can connect, inform, help and entertain their customers, said Twitter Canada’s head of marketing, Laura Pearce.

“We want to use the insights that are heard through Twitter—hence the name—to help people and brands understand how best to engage in the conversation,” she said. “At times like this, it’s not always easy, and people feel that they may need a little bit of advice on the tone and the tenor of the conversation.”

The videos are designed to be “quick and snappy,” and based on the data Twitter can extract from the millions of people using the platform every day, many of whom are there to talk about or get information on the COVID crisis.

“We obviously have a lot more information than the average person or the average brand on how the conversation is evolving, what’s the sentiment, what are people talking about,” said Pearce. “We want to be able to mine that information and provide it to brands to help them to communicate better.”

It’s rooted in data, but also about looking for the trends and the little experiments that catch on with others, said Michaels.

“What I love seeing is when an average person, or brand or influencer, will take the leap and try something that’s a little bit funny and then people build on that and you’re like ‘Okay this is safe,'” he said. “And then we look at the data and at those patterns and try and come up with the best guidance we can.”

Head of research Alyson Gausby will be up next, sharing more insights gleaned from Twitter conversation during the pandemic, with other topics likely to include how people respond to advertiser messages during a stressful time, said Pearce.

Fittingly for a series about overcoming the challenge of marketing in an unusual time, the videos will be produced DIY style. “It puts you in the mindset of the COVID world where everyone is adapting,” said Michaels about being the first up for the team.

He got most of the shooting done in one day, with occasional trips upstairs to silence the kids. And he learned an important lesson in video production continuity when he had to redo part of it. “I had to shave again,” he says.

David Brown