A very provocative post on Mashable today in which Mark Drapeau shares his thoughts about brands on Twitter. Mark thinks that brands should not be on Twitter, but that people ‘hide’ behind organizational brands, obscuring their persona and therefore reducing authenticity and transparency. Yes, it’s a subject that has been discussed many times. I’ve written about brands on Twitter and best practices many times. And of course, there was the survey that Peter Sorgenfrei and I ran in which 240 Twitter users were asked to give their perceptions on brands. Once again, three key points:
Over 70 people have commented on Mashable today and the predominant opinion is that we like our brands on Twitter. Since Twitter is an opt-in community, I can choose to follow whoever or whatever brand I want. I was particularly impressed with Pete Blackshaw’s (author of Angry Customers tell 3000) comment, paraphrased here, Part of what’s drawn brands to Twitter has been the very enthusiastic reception of Twitterites (tens of thousands of them) who have been preaching company and brand “engagement” and “responsiveness” and “participation.” If anything, the Twitter crowd has flirted with righteousness in encouraging brands to participate.
I think this is an interesting debate and - like anything - comes down to personal preference. That’s why I actually love Twitter - I can choose to follow, unfollow or even just save a certain brand’s “Tweet” that I want to remember.
Obviously as a marketer - and one of the brands on Twitter (in addition to the numerous clients that we’ve helped kick start on Twitter) - I am a fan of such. However, I think more specifically, I am a fan of brands doing it right. And by that I mean - engaging and being personable as you suggest. Not just using Twitter as an RSS feed. Not just blasting your own news/agenda. Combining industry insights with opinions and news and, when warranted, even humor. And, identifying who is behind the corporate handle.
Does anyone disagree that brands should be on Twitter, but there is certainly a right way on how to do it? How would you help a brand to understand Twitter and do it right?