Yes, good interaction on the social web is all about personality. But. Brands aren’t people, they don’t have friends, desires, dislikes. They don’t have time off. People do.

So if you’ve decided that a Twitter account for your brand is the way to go, think very hard about the separation between YOU and THE BRAND — even if it’s only one or two of you that do the tweeting.

It may seem like an easy decision, you want to be on Twitter (it’s the next big thing, everyone says so) you want to promote your business or hobby — so you sign up for the service as @SuperPlumbing or whatever. But, think, who do you expect or want to follow you:

  • There are people that know you — they may be interested in your business too.
  • There are people that don’t know you — they may be interested in your business.

If you treat @SuperPlumbing just as a username for your personal account, but tweet about your business:

  • People that know you will get fed up of constant business tweets (if they aren’t heavy users or fans of your service).
  • People that care about your business are put off by the personal stuff.

Is your business “relaxing with a beer after a hard day”, is it “at a #goodmeeting with @anotherperson”? No it isn’t — you are. Does your business have conversations with friends? Not really.

Get a separate account for yourself, and one for the brand.

Creating a Twitter account for a business or a brand (or even a little project you’re running as a hobby) opens up a new communication channel. You need to think about what it needs to say, how it decides who to talk to, what it talks about and how often. You need to think about how you monitor responses — following everyone just isn’t a great option. You need to think about who responds if you’re unavailable — if you’re a proper business you in effect need a CRM system (software or just practise) that makes sure responses are done.

Brand accounts don’t need to be serious, or even focused, but they need to be inclusive.

If you tweet too personally, to or about a group of people that you follow (but of course not everyone will be) then that creates exclusivity — that in itself will put people off, never mind the irrelevance of your activities to the “fan”.

Using Twitter as yourself away from the brand is a good way to see how people use it (so do it first), plus you can do what the heck you like.

I personally have likes and dislikes about how people tweet (although I wouldn’t assume to tell you what to do at all), some people I love in real life tweet in ways that mean I just can’t stand to follow them (too much, too much retweeting , auto blog posting) — but you need to find your own feet and react to people in whatever way you wish.

One thing that is annoying is the creation of a brand account and then retweeting all of the tweets to your personal account too (if people care they will follow…) — separation again, tell me about you, not your business.

Or tell me about your brand, but not you. Tell me both, but separately.

2 thoughts on “You are not your brand online — and especially not on Twitter

  1. this is a great article – full of common sense advice based on real in-depth Txperience of what word-of-mouth marketing is all about! Thanks Jon – will share with all my corporate friends…

    James_Rock

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