The Smithsonian Practices the Art of Twitter

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Twitter management is no longer just a graveyard of sales pitches and spammy promises. In fact, companies really taking Twitter for business to the next level use the social media platform as far more than just an avenue to sell products or make new fans. Twitter can be an invaluable communication tool, a news channel which covers stories generated by your brand and an instant avenue for sharing videos and images. Cultural institutions like theater companies and museums have taken to using Twitter to do all of these things while promoting their latest exhibitions and performances. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. lets twitter work overtime for its 19 museums — and the results are inspiring for brands of all sizes.

When the world was introduced to a new mammal called the olinguito (think teddy bear crossed with house cat) last week, the Smithsonian was there. The head of mammals for the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum was live on Google+ hangouts answering questions about the little critter submitted via Twitter from around the globe. But this kind of thing is business as usual for the Smithsonian, a brand built on sharing information and exciting people about new discoveries. It also uses its Twitter account to mark important days in history, promote events and exhibitions, to answer questions from visitors to the Smithsonian and to share stories published in its magazine. The Smithsonian is such a busy brand with so many facets and Twitter keeps tabs on all of them. Twitter is used as a ticker-tape for news generated from the National Gallery, the National Zoo and all of the other museums and research facilities under the Smithsonian umbrella. For a company this diverse, the Twitterfeed could be jumbled and confusing, but it isn’t. By staying organized and excited, the Smithsonian uses Twitter to entice, not overwhelm, visitors. Art, science, history and research are all covered here while selling the Smithsonian experience. 

But you don’t have to a be a massive cultural destination to use Twitter for your company. The Smithsonian tweets the latest things happening at its brand and that’s a simple way for Twitter marketing novices to start. Tweet about new products, new changes in staff or the latest ideas to come out of brainstorming sessions. But why stop there? Use Twitter to talk about upcoming events, sales and promotions. Then move into conversations with your followers. What products do they use? How do they spend their time? In short, get to know them. Everyone can do like the Smithsonian does, and share your excitement with your followers. Use Twitter as a way to express the things you love about your company and pretty soon others will be doing the same

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