Twitter celebrated its eighth birthday last week by taking its users on a trip down Memory Lane. The microblogging platform done more than provide another way for people to connect online; it’s become a 140-character storefront for brands. And as Twitter became more popular, more brands jumped on the tweeting bandwagon. Whether to hawk their wares or to field customer service questions, brands now respect the power of Twitter to connect them to their current and potential customers online.


To honor its humble beginnings, Twitter’s #FirstTweet page gives users access to everyone’s very first tweets. Some companies seemed to understand immediately how to use Twitter to engage with their potential audiences, while stumbled out of the gate.

Here’s how four brands introduced themselves to the Twittersphere. Their first tweets reveal not only how they approached Twitter, but also how their digital marketing messages have evolved over time.

Twitter affords the opportunity for big names to reinforce their brands. Google’s first tweet is on message, funny (if a bit nerdy) and an implicit call-to-action: unless you know how to read binary code, chances are you just copied and pasted that series of ones and zeros into your Google search bar. The binary-to-English translation is recognizable to anyone who’s seen the Google homepage.

Taco Bell has been winning the Twitter game for years, and its first tweet shows how in tune it was with the potential of Twitter, all the way back in 2008. By choosing to tweet in real time about a trending event — the World Series — and offering free products if a player stole a base, Taco Bell started its Twitter tenure with a tweet that reflected a fun and current approach.

Not really, no.

Popular social media sharing tool Buffer has proven to be indispensable for brands and individuals looking to share content. But Buffer’s first tweet served as a poor introduction: it didn’t tell users what the app was or how they could use it. Instead of being intriguing, Buffer’s first tweet was just confusing.

Content leviathan BuzzFeed masters Twitter with its dozens of accounts, but its first tweet did nothing to introduce itself to the world. In fact, its first tweet is a far cry from the listicles and quizzes that show up in Twitter feeds today. A state dinner with then-president George Bush was newsworthy, but not exactly clickworthy.

Twitter has been around for only eight years, but its ability to shape how brands approach digital marketing has long-reaching impact. And with #FirstTweet, brands can appreciate how important first impressions really are.