Yes, Brands do belong on Twitter

But not the way you may be thinking. Many companies still don’t get the power and influence of social media tools like Twitter; and simply use it to broadcast one-way-in-your-face-marketing messages.  I believe it’s more effective when organizations empower their employees to use social media to engage in meaningful conversations. Intel (who I work for) just published social media guidelines for all employees who wish to participate; with authenticity, transparency, disclosure being at the forefront.

I just read this article at Mashable that asks the question, Do Brands Belong on Twitter? With the exception of ‘banning or charging brands’ to participate, I pretty much agree with the entire analysis for a few reasons:

  • People relate to people, not logos/brands
  • Twitter is a place for conversations not one-way marketing messages
  • Twitter builds community, connects people and fosters relationships; and in order to do so requires authenticity. It’s difficult to be authentic when hiding behind a company logo

This reminds of a recent post from Rohit Bhargava where he advocates that organizations should hire employees with personal brands.  This doesn’t mean that they should hire narcissistic egomaniacs with personal agendas; but rather focus on hiring people who understand the value of relationships and of course who are proficient with tools such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  This will help solve the authenticity issue, in most cases.

Ted Murphy also just wrote about an experience he had with a local Mexican restaurant in Orlando called Pancheros (@pancheros).  In his post, he makes the three following points for “twitter and mortar” type establishments:

  • Get employees on board
  • Spread the word
  • Encourage conversation
  • Drive Demand Through Special Offers
  • Embrace The Twitter Community

Great advice for all companies: big, small, tweet and mortar.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on Twitter.

Tags: twitter, Rohit Bhargava, ted murphy, pancheros, intel social media guidelines, brands on twitter

About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • crawford

    Don’t overthink. Do think authentic conversations. Think Fuller Brush Man, Avon Lady, et al. Brands delivered 1to1 at the screen door level. That’s what Twitter is today. Respect the conversation, honor the participants on both sides. Forge a relationship. Above all, be honest and human.

  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    I am thinking authentic people; and with that blossoms relationships, conversations, and the 1:1 Amway/Avon interactions.

  • http://puddingroi.blogspot.com/ Katrina McKay

    Hi Michael,

    Great blog. I stumbled across your blog after reading an article you wrote on how to measure social media. I gave you some “blog love” as well – http://puddingroi.blogspot.com/2008/12/measuring-social-media-marketing.html
    and I’m now following you on Twitter.

    Thanks for the great articles – they’re really well thought out and relevant.

    Katrina

  • http://www.nickstamoulis.com Nick Stamoulis

    Twitter is one of those things where you need to try out a few different directions in order to figure out exactly how it applies to your business.

  • http://www.hiringtheinternet.com Michael Knipp

    Great post, Michael. I’m not sure if you know about Staples’ “Gift It For Free” sweepstakes, but the office supply shop has used Twitter as a means of advertising through its hilarious mascot, Coach Tom. We’ve written a post about the viral campaign, including the use of Twitter, in a post on our blog. You can read it here: http://hiringtheinternet.com/2008/11/20/10001-winners-staples-scores-with-clever-viral-campaign/

  • http://www.makeitdigi.com Chris

    Twitter is really nice SNS, but I think that Facebook give more power to users, and the social network is stronger and more based.

  • http://weblinkx.blogspot.com Brian

    Facebook rules! This is a great article you have here. I will be visiting you more often. Have a nice day.

  • Thomas

    I agree that the full potential of Twitter has yet to be realized by the vast majority of marketing professionals. However, I also have to say that while Twitter is effective in reaching a moderately sized audience, Facebook (as mentioned above) is a much larger, more established base to form relationships with. But at the same time, in my opinion anyway, Facebook doesn’t offer as intimate of a relationship with consumers and therefore may not be as effective in fostering long-term loyalty. There are obvious pros and cons to each, and each should be weighed evenly.

  • http://prmeetsmarketing.wordpress.com Csalomonlee

    Brian, you have a good point about the transparency behind the brand; thereby recommending that personal brands be represented on Twitter. However, I think there is value in creating a corporate brand on Twitter that is fronted by an employee. That way, if the employee leaves (realistically, people leave every 2-3 years), the brand is not impacted. With a personal brand, he or she takes that when she leaves. Where does it leave the company?

    Now, this argument implies that there is only ONE voice from a corporation. In the case that multiple voices are representing the company, this would be less relevant. In that case, I still recommend a corporate brand as a launchpad for a person to connect with your company. One’s twitter background can then highlight employees on Twitter. What do you think?

  • http://blogshot.com.au/ Blog Shot

    I suspect many large companies will have great difficulty giving up control of their corporate communications to social media. So much the pity.

  • http://www.websitedesigner.ws/ Alec

    Good Article. My views on this topic are same as Csalomonlee’s views. Corporate Brand is more important.

  • http://www.gutzmarketingblog.com Holly Powell

    True – I’ve been using Twitter for quite some time now and had been able to make friends to some of the most interesting folks you’d come across the online world. Though marketing is the name of my game, it wasn’t just plain ol’ business – something grew on me as time passed by. You get to meet different people with different views – pretty immersive stuff. I would like to commend you for writing this post as it clearly shows what Twitter really is all about. It isn’t just a way to showcase your rants and business-hell stuff, it’s a goldmine of deep and honest communication.

  • http://www.gutzmarketingblog.com Holly Powell

    True – I’ve been using Twitter for quite some time now and had been able to make contacts to some of the most interesting folks you’d come across the online world. Though marketing is the name of my game, it wasn’t just plain ol’ business – something grew on me as time passed by. You get to meet different people with different views – pretty immersive stuff. I would like to commend you for writing this post as it clearly shows what Twitter really is all about. It isn’t just a way to showcase your rants and business-hell stuff, it’s a goldmine of deep and honest communication.

  • http://www.tapconsultant.com Ben Weller

    Good article! I feel that brands will at first jump on this Twitter bandwagon and try to exploit it. In the long-run, however, it seems to me that those brands which are already predisposed to “high-touch” interaction with their target market (that is, being human and interacting) will survive and thrive on Twitter, while the others won’t be followed well, and will fade away.

  • http://www.Holistic-Show.com Andrea Tannouri

    Just a note that I’ve browsed through some of your posts and I like what you have to say. Great blog, keep up the good work. =)

  • http://richardvanderhurst.org/aboutus.aspx Richard Vanderhurst

    Company will definitely benefit on this by promoting their company reputation online.