Twitter celebrated its eighth birthday last week – so what does the future have in store for the social media “fad” that has taken over?

Twitter celebrated its eighth birthday last week – so what does the future have in store for the social media “fad” that has taken over?

Over the last eight years Twitter has gone to be what people thought was a ‘fad’ to being one of the main channels for uncensored, free speech and a place where people could share their own views, broadcast as well as joining any conversation on a hashtag. 

We shouldn’t underestimate how it has become THE place for breaking news and it will hold this position for a long time to come. As we move to more real-time behaviour – real-time conversation but also machine-to-machine dialogue (watches to gadgets in your home) on Twitter, we’ll see people using this platform more and more. 

In fact we’re just scratching the surface of how Twitter will be used in the future. It will become much more integrated, not just across other social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, but also across digital TV, in apps and on digital display screens on all fridges. It’s the glue that will bind lots of different platforms and devices together as well as the nexus of a multichannel retail strategy.

Twitter has over 15m active users in the UK and this represents a huge opportunity for retailers, especially for small ones, as they can leverage the properties of the channel to market their brands and products, drive sales and promote special offers and even market for a fraction of the price of traditional advertising.

This means that a small retail brand doesn’t need a bricks & mortar shop, a concession in a larger store, a large marketing team and an advertising agency or a telephone based customer service team.

By building a strong personality and providing a quality service via Twitter, they can build a strong following that would give them licence to send messages on a frequent basis to their mobile phones. And by leveraging Twitter’s videos and Vines capabilities in a creative way, you can hold a stage alongside Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Asos.

We think Twitter will play a huge role in the future of retailing:  it’s personalised, instant and shareable, enabling users to buy anything, anytime on the go.

Twitter’s great analytics mean retailers can effectively target people by location and demographics and link that information to where customers are on any street, in any store, at any given moment – an amazing tool, which allows brands to engage audiences in a way never possible before.

To mark Twitter’s 8th birthday, I have drawn up a list of the top eight Twitter-savvy retailers or brands:

Chanel: @CHANEL

Live fashion shows – allowing you to be there in the moment, experiencing all the excitement, colour and frenzy of the catwalk to backstage drama. Distribution of exclusive images and video, and live comments from the world’s most beautiful models has made @CHANEL a global success. Twitter is an essential marketing tool in the crafting of a rich experience of the brand. Its people and the public is invited in to be the arbiters/curators of the collection. @CHANEL is instant, exciting and keeps the brand relevant for a younger audience - exclusive whilst being inclusive, intimate whilst being public.

Burberry: @Burberry

It has built a global tribe of Burberry lovers that allows Burberry buyers (wealthy people) to showcase their affluence and success without seeming brash.  It’s like being a member of the exclusive club of global, wealthy, professionals without having to say it yourself - a discrete form of bragging!  Burberry is using Twitter like a ‘lookbook’, images of lots of different people wearing Burberry.

Adidas: @adidasfootball @adidasUK

Adidas is using Twitter to totally redefine its brand story in a highly competitive sports fashion / technology innovation sector.  But adidas totally knows its audience and has developed a great tone of voice on Twitter.  It uses humour and high drama during live sports events to engage and enrich users’ experience. It shows to be human, authentic, humorous, classic – it hits the right tone for youth.

Sainsbury’s: @sainsburys

Sainsbury’s is great at capitalising on funny moments. Moments that people can share and make them feel part of a community. Clever ideas, which lead to great interaction with customers and non-customers alike, give the brand a more ‘human’ and relatable personality.

Topshop: @Topshop

It live streams through Twitter entire events (London Fashion Week). Looks are simultaneously tweeted before they hit the catwalk. They encourage users to tweet reviews and use Twitter to broadcast live fashion events. It’s also great at replying to messages, queries and providing fashion advice in the moment of need by the customer.


KLM uses Twitter to provide outstanding customer service – 24/7 service in 10 different languages responding to customer requirements efficiently with a human touch.  Even when a problem cannot be resolved instantly they maintain contact to ensure the customer does not feel abandoned. 

ASOS: @Asos

Relationship marketing via Twitter. Great post-sales customer care: they actively mention people who have just bought something on Asos (package/delivery experience). Its ‘push’ culture extends the Asos brand into people’s lives. By being at key cultural events/festivals tweeting out a ‘live-diary’ of Asos fans, as well as tweeting promotions, flash sales and fashion tips – the fans and the brand are inseparable.  

Marvel: @Marvel

Marvel is leveraging the value of Twitter as the key platform that its audiences use to ‘second-screen’. During each broadcast of Marvel’s new TV series, Agents of SHIELD, the comic live-tweets the action, comment on scenes and twists, using the hashtag #AgentsofSHIELD, fuelling a community spirit pre, during and post each episode. @Marvel also regularly retweets followers’ best efforts (half of Marvel’s tweets are retweets) around each episode, driving engagement and interaction as well as banter with followers.

  • Anne McCreary, Digital Strategy Director, Carat