Certainly, we can all think of instances of major companies (to say nothing of celebrities and politicians) who have found themselves brought to their knees for Twitter-fueled PR blunders. Examples include companies that have worded their tweets thoughtlessly and carelessly; companies that have used tragic, real-life new stories to attempt to promote their products; and companies that have allowed their Twitter accounts to be run by interns or unqualified employees.
There is little need to recount all of the ways in which Twitter can cause a company embarrassment; it is more helpful to simply consider some of the ways in which companies can safeguard against these Twitter-fueled blunders. Here are a few particular tips:
- For one, make sure that your small business has a written social media policy. This policy should define your company's precise branding goals and its Twitter objectives. Are you seeking to engage leads, promote landing pages, or simply build some online clout? Defining your goals keeps your Twitter activity on the straight-and-narrow.
- Also define exactly who will be tasked with updating your Twitter account. It does not necessarily need to be your president or CEO, but it should be someone who understands the company's identity and vision -- not a brand new employee or a summer intern!
- Having an editorial calendar -- with your tweets planned out at least a week in advance -- is helpful for cutting back on ill-advised, off-the-cuff tweeting. In the end, it all comes down to foresight and strategy.
With all of that said, companies also need to understand that Twitter is not just one big PR flub-up waiting to happen. It is crucial for companies to realize that Twitter is as much a potential help as it is a potential hindrance -- and the difference lies in how proactive you are in using it for brand enhancement.
Again, there are several ways in which companies can utilize Twitter to build strong, authoritative brands:
- Don't just use Twitter to promote your business or your company website. Use it to reveal your authority and expertise within your field. Opining on headlines shaping your industry, and offering up informative and educational articles, is critical.
- Twitter is a great tool for showcasing your company's humanitarian side; if there is a social cause or organization that you believe in and donate to, promote it from time to time. (Stay away from partisan politics, though!)
- Twitter is also ideal for creating an emotional connection between your clients and your brand; a behind-the-scenes twitpic of your team can effectively show off the "human" side of your company!
Mike Zammuto believes in working with great people and building great companies. Both need to safeguard their online reputations. Reputation Changer offers a variety of reputation management services.