TRANSPARENCY IN TWITTER MARKETING: THE TWO EXTREMES

Many companies are flocking to social media to promote and spread awareness for their brand.  One social media outlet, Twitter, allows you to read about what all of your customers are talking about while simultaneously providing your company an opportunity to join in the conversation.  Many companies can greatly benefit their brand by tweeting but there is a proper method of doing so.  A brand must find a way to communicate with their publics without coming across as advertising.  This means a business needs to find a voice that is human and genuine.  People are constantly being blasted and overwhelmed by advertisements everywhere they look.  Why would anyone want to follow a company that is simply pushing ads at them? Companies must be able to casually join the Twitter conversation by sounding genuine and personable.

This presents a challenge that businesses face when operating a company Twitter account: You must be able to converse casually with your followers while spreading brand awareness and increasing revenue.  It is a balancing act of being transparent and open with your followers on a somewhat personal level while still advancing your business goals.  While many companies have succeeded at this, others have not.  Below are two Twitter stories.  One story is about how one company got a little too personal and another of a company who came out looking like an inauthentic corporate advertisement.

Many companies will try to connect with their publics by tweeting about current events that their following is interested in.  Many companies hire a social media representative to help aid in connecting with their constituents but this can be dangerous.  Kitchen Aid, a kitchen appliance and accessories company, tried to connect with their followers during the first Presidential Debate of 2012 this past Wednesday.  They tweeted the following: “Obamas gma (grandmother) knew it was going 2b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’ #nbcpolitics”.  While Kitchen aid claims that this was one of their social media representatives trying to tweet on their own and accidentally tweeting on a corporate account, the tweet caused uproar.  The tweet was quickly removed but it still serves as an example of what happens when corporate tweeting gets too personal.

When companies are on the opposite end of the spectrum they can be seen as just another advertisement and turn off their followers.  Snickers candy bars tried to boost their sales and awareness by paying celebrities to tweet about them.  The tweets were not well received and “Do you really need money that bad” and “I’m not on here to be advertised at” were among the responses that they received.  It seems as though even by trying to use celebrities as a medium to communicate with your publics, a blatant advertisement can be spotted by the average Twitter follower and is anything but appreciated.

Dan Entwistle, of the Telegraph, takes a look at five of the biggest social media ‘fails’ in the recent years, including Skittles’ mishap of poor mention monitoring, and Microsoft’s Facebook polling fiasco. Emphasizing the importance of never underestimating the wit of consumers, this article shows off precedents you definitely do not want to follow.

-Pierce Gulley

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~ by goodpackagedconsumers on October 8, 2012.