Twitter bird announceSocial media marketing can take a good chunk of time (and money) out of your week. Between creating content, publishing, and disseminating it, you might feel like you don’t have any time or energy left to engage. However, brands that actively engage their fans through dialogue are the ones that really see a social media marketing payout.

Check out how these brands are talking to their fans on Twitter – and why it works.

Taco Bell: Conversation Connoisseurs

Taco Bell is, hands down, the master of dialogue in the big brand arena. The company’s clever tweeting and playful banter has been covered a number of times around the internet. In addition to responding directly to their fans, Taco Bell is a big retweeter.

Takeaway: If you lack the wit, time, or energy to engage in dialogue, you can at least retweet your brand’s fans that have one or more of the aforementioned qualities!

Target: Be a Human

Target does a terrific job at sounding like an actual human – a lesson many companies on Twitter could stand to learn. Take this tweet, for example:

I don’t care who you are, that’s a statement you can identify with. What does it have to do with retail? Well, nothing much at all. It’s a great tweet because it resonates with fans and humanizes the Target brand.

Takeaway: Make sure your brand’s Twitter handle actually sounds like its operated by a human – not a robot.

Whole Foods: Addressing Issues

The Whole Foods Twitter account can’t build stores at their fans’ every request, but they can at least let those fans know that their requests are being heard.

Takeaway: One of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective forms of social media marketing is to simply address an issue. Let your fans know that you are listening and that you do care – even if you can’t address the issue immediately on the spot.

Jason’s Deli: Engage With Contests

Every Tuesday Jason’s Deli hosts a #TuesdayTrivia contest for its fans. The winner receives a gift card for a correct and timely answer. For a company the size of Jason’s Deli, that’s a small price to pay for so much exposure. Plus, this form of social media marketing necessitates engagement with fans.

Takeaway: Encourage your followers to participate in contests. It’s a great way to spread the word about your company, and a small price to pay!

Whatever you do, just don’t be Hershey’s. #WastedOpportunity

What Twitter account does your company admire?