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What We Have Learned: Week 1 – No Representation Without Conversation

February 2, 2009

The Twitterverse is an unusual place with unusual personalities, from Santa Clause to Darth Vader (who is one of the most followed accounts on Twitter). Then their is social media “experts,” college students like me, people who just want to connect, and lastly people who represent their companies. For the moment we are going to focus on the last group.

Companies and brands are represented in two ways on Twitter; by “bots,” and by people. Many companies have chosen to only join in one way or the other, and by doing this are only hurting themselves. It is more of a Twitter offense to only be represented by a “bot” because they are not actually joining in on the conversation naturally, they are only broadcasting news and company information. People have a hard time relating to these companies on Twitter, and dismiss them as not actively participating, and by doing so, lose a lot of respect. While it is not necessarily a bad thing to only have people actively conversing, it is good to utilize both types of accounts so people have a way to get up to date news, as well as someone to Tweet with if they need more specific information.

A good example of a company who utilizes both aspects of Tweeting is Comcast. They are not known for being the most popular company in regards to customer service, but on Twitter they have really created a good image. Not only do they have an account that gives company news (@comcastdotnet), but they have accounts that feature customer service representatives that spend the day answering all of your questions (@comcastcares).

This rule holds true for advertising/marketing/PR agencies as well. An agency is represented by it’s people, so it is necessary for these people to get on Twitter, and other social networks, to have their voice be heard. The agency can be represented by their people, but it’s still a smart idea to have a Twitter account that represents the whole agency. A good example of this is Schneider Associates, a growing PR Agency in Boston that I interned with this summer. Schneider is represented by their people (@swirlingmedia, @meredithk1981, etc…), as well as their blog (@launchPR). This allows them to keep people updated with news within the agency, and it also gives them a more personalized feel.

Do you know of any other companies who do this well or do this poorly?

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