There's a new gizmo called Mr. Tweet. If you're on Twitter and you follow Mr. Tweet, it will send you a list of recommendations for people who you should follow. Beyond being an interesting tool to meet more interesting people, it seems like more and more companies are entering the Twitter fray that are doing little more than using it as a broadcast channel to sell you something. Here's what all brands need to know about these social channels...
There have been countless Blog postings on how complicated those 140 characters can be in terms of building a community, being interesting to others and having people notice and want to be connected to you on Twitter. It's an ever-growing environment, and I am personally seeing many more people following me over the past few weeks after being found through Mr. Tweet. I don't follow everybody back, but I do follow one rule, almost religiously: I never add a company that is following me.
Make your brand personal.
Hypothetical scenario: Scott Dilbert is the owner of Slam Good Media. Scott and his team provide event marketing solutions in the New York area. He's worked on cool projects like the premiere of some blockbuster Hollywood flicks and even did the in-store events surrounding the launch of last year's biggest video game hit. If someone called, Slam Good Media, adds me on Twitter with some of the tweets reading like, "check out the latest movie opening for..." it is doubtful to get an add. But, if I get a follow request from Scott Dilbert and his bio says: "CEO of Slam Good Media - we help launch products and have done exactly that for..." odds are, if the tweets are personal, relevant to me and interesting, it will get added.
What's the big difference?
Like all great and successful brands, it's the small little things that work so well. Twitter - for now - is all about people connecting to people. Scott may want his Twitter-feed to not be so personal, if that's the case it might be worthwhile to pursue another channel. If you think about it, the same rule - making your brand personal - applies to Blogs, Podcasts, etc... The more personal and human the person is, the more interested others will be in the brand... the more connections seem to happen. Many people are uber-excited about the prospect of using these online channels to advance their personal brands (I am one of those people), the other side of personal branding is recognizing that in a world where individuals can connect and grow their brands as far and wide as many corporate brands, one of the best chances any company has of connecting in these social channels is to identify the people within the organization who can represent, connect and become the human embodiment of the company brand. Look no further than what Dell is doing on Twitter. Scott needs to be Scott. In these specific channels, Scott will always be more interesting than a company branded feed with no human attribution (just who is writing these tweets anyway?).
Look at all of the social channels that your company is presently engaged with or thinking of playing in and ask yourself who - in the company - will be the best brand evangelists and representatives? Who can you highlight within your organization that will be interested enough to connect, respond and take action? There is a temptation to name everything after your company, but stop and think about allowing a real human being to take the spotlight and let them explain their title, their role and let them connect in a much more human way. Yes, certain companies can get away with being a person-less Twitter feed (companies like CNN, offering news feeds or a school using the channel to notify their parents of closings, etc...), but the best people to follow on Twitter... are the real people.
How do you feel about following companies on Twitter?