Tag Archives: branding

So, your brand is on Twitter!

Hey, well that’s great. Now I can follow you and your company. You could tweet offers, maybe a couple of times a month, and people could interact with you and ask questions about your product and services.

Except… that’s probably not what will happen, is it? I’m guessing you will either tweet very rarely, or tweet a couple of times an hour with marketing messages and links to your website. You probably also won’t respond to anyone who @replies to you. But then… on the other hand… how can you? they are asking a global company about service at a local branch in the UK, it’s probably difficult for you to know what is going on there.

Maybe you’ll follow a bunch of people in an effort to get your follower numbers / apparent “popularity” to go up.

You know what? If you are a brand and you have an account like that, I’m going to filter you out. I don’t have to follow you back, and I don’t have to read your tweets. Quite a challenge, huh – how can you make this stuff work for you? Well – don’t. Make it work for your customers – provide an engaging online presence with which people can really connect. Listen and respond, not just to @replies, but to other comments too (hint: search is your friend).

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IBM and the Twittersphere

This was one of those comments you start to write on someone else’s blog entry, which morphed into a post all of its own.

As an IBMer who Twitters, I’m pretty astonished that the company hit this list of “brands that suck on Twitter”… in common with Adam, Ed and Ryan’s comments on the post (which Ed follows up in a post of his own).

I’ve spoken about the organisation’s engagement with social media of all kinds before. Looking at my own Twitter usage, I would guess that of my current ~500 followers/followees, a fair percentage of them are folks from across the company I want to keep in touch with, or people that share common technology interests that I want to learn from or that are watching and listening to me. I have search feeds set up for topics of interest (products, brand names, etc.) in my feedreader and make an effort to check what people are saying about our stuff – where necessary I highlight those comments to people internally, or try to talk to the original commenter. I’ve observed IBMers using Twitter to build communities and connections across the company, and with both customers and others outside it too.

I guess that the original post bases the assessment on the @IBM account alone, and reaches the conclusions it does… but look at all the ways in which we use social media and you might arrive at a different endpoint. I’d say we’re listening, engaging, talking, and take these communities seriously.

Adam Christensen sums it up neatly in his comment on the original post, also re-quoted by Ed Brill:

IBM is nothing more than a collection of a gazillion individual IBMers. Really smart ones for the most part, I think. And thousands of those folks are on Twitter. So rather than have a centralized – yet generic – IBM account, we’ve opted for a decentralized approach and let those many individuals be the IBM face to the Twitter world.

Actually that has been our approach with social networks from the outset. If there was a single @IBM account that tweeted about everything that the company touches it would be pretty noisy – our business is diverse. Instead, you can choose to engage with individuals and what their individual voices offer. I think it’s a nice way of working, and I like that my company trusts us to be out there.