Examining Risks and Policy Guidelines on Twitter<br />
Twitter: A Brief Overview<br />Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service which enables its users to send and read messages called tweets. The messages are composed of 140 characters or less and displayed on the user’s profile page in real time.<br /> Businesses use Twitter to quickly share information with interested people about their products and services, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and influential people. From brand lift, to CRM, to direct sales, Twitter offers businesses a chance to reach an engaged audience.<br />via Twitter.com<br />
Your Organization and Twitter<br />Twitter is different from other social media platforms because public commentary can’t be regulated.<br />Organizations holds more of a risk NOT engaging in the conversation on Twitter.<br />Why? Engagement gives your organization the opportunity to have a voice and respond to negative feedback which may lead to a positive outcome but most importantly, establish a relationship. Not doing so only lets the situation drag and potentially escalate.<br />Being visible and providing provocative tweets will aid in establishing your organization as a thought leader.<br />
Setting Guidelines<br />When establishing a presence in social media, unless the speech is defamatory, violent, racist, etc., deleting is bad policy. Ignoring the problem only extends the situation.<br />It must be understood that when deleting or ignoring comments, one can’t build a community. A community emerges, in part, when one develops a relationship with the guy who doesn’t agree with your message<br />Truth: You can’t directly control what’s being said about you on Twitter whether it’s good or bad. The trick is “The Art of the Response”<br />Case Study: Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines<br />
Setting Guidelines<br />It’s not necessary to respond to every negative comment, nor should you. So how do you determine what’s important?<br />While situations vary on a case-by-case basis, CarMax generally looks to see if respondents have a threshold of 500+ followers. The more followers, the more urgency to respond<br />Those with fewer than 500 followers have less influence than an individual with 50,000.<br />The greater the followers, the greater the chance that comments will be re-tweeted and circulated<br />
Setting Guidelines<br />Managing Risks<br />If most of the information is not sensitive, are there really any risks in being on Twitter?<br />While there is the potential for negative and malicious feedback, users still have the opportunity to post their opinions whether your organization is present or not. It’s better to be present & combat the opinion than to let it fester potentially turn into a crisis.<br />LISTEN!!<br />Before creating a presence on Twitter, create the Twitter handle and take time to quietly listen to what people are saying. Don’t post anything, just listen.<br />
Excerpt: “The 9 Worst Ways to Use Twitter for Business” by Diana Freedman<br />1. Be Overly Self-Promotional<br />Instead of having a Twitter profile full of self promotional news or links to your own website, share other interesting, educational, or even funny industry news from websites other than your own<br />2. Only Include Links to Your Own Blog<br />It only takes 10 minutes a day to contribute to valuable content on Twitter. Give to get; these bloggers may reciprocate and share your content as well.<br />4. Don’t Establish a Personality<br />Your company page shouldn’t just be a corporate Twitter page; this exudes a stuffy tone that nobody wants to follow. Some top brands put a face to the person. Personal touches attract more followers rather than hiding behind a corporate logo.<br />5. Don’t Interact with Other Twitter Users<br />People want to follow people who might actually interact with them. Twitter isn’t only about sharing one-sided content. It’s about sharing other people’s content and engaging in conversation about the content.<br />9. Only Tweet Once Per Week<br />If you tweet only once per week, it will be hard to get noticed in the Twitter streams of people who follow thousands of even hundreds of users.<br />For the full article, click here.<br />Check user commentary as well for additional suggestions<br />
Who Needs a Courtesy Review?<br />Scheduled, pre-approved tweets relating to campaigns and events may be incorporated<br />BUT…<br />You can’t tweet in real time if it needs to go through several levels of approval<br />Appears static and robotic; Doesn’t leave opportunity for timely responses<br />Will only be practical on occasion; Goes against the principle of Twitter<br />Many big-name companies approach Twitter with this method – the majority fail in effectiveness<br />Develop specific guidelines to maintain consistency and establish a tone<br />How frequently will it be utilized?<br />The more regular, the better; Predictable<br />It may be useful to consider social media training before going live<br />
Twitter & the Media<br />Journalists are not on Twitter for pitches. For corporate material, they typically visit the company’s newsroom<br />Read: 25% of journalists visit the newsroom daily<br />Engage in conversations and exude personality to demonstrate authenticity<br />If you’re solely pushing news releases and business information, it isn’t going to attract journalists<br />They want real people, real conversations, authenticity<br />On Twitter, journalists don’t only look for information but observe the relationships companies build with their audience<br />Is Twitter the right tool?<br />Also consider that while it’s important to be in the conversation, if it’s not intended to enhance engagement, it may be helpful just to improve the newsroom<br />
Don’t Forget the “Social” in Social Media<br />When your organization establishes a presence on Twitter, it’s inevitable consumers will seek answers about its services and expect an outcome. Responding is not only part of reputation management, but demonstrates reliability<br />A response does not mean having an answer. Directing a consumer to the right department is appropriate<br />Examples: State Farm, CarMax, JetBlue<br />It may be useful to post a disclaimer emphasizing that this is not a customer service account to deter questions relating to customer service<br />Look to Facebook pages, such as “Genworth Celebrates…,” and observe the conversational tone<br />Why? The Caregivers & Parents pages have roughly 14,000 fans each & engage with new, conversational updates often with positive sentiments about the company<br />It’s important to maintain a conversational tone to keep the targeted audiences engaged and interested.<br />
Excerpt: “Do Fortune 100 Companies Need a Twittervention?” <br />Research Findings<br />Personality, Activation, Ownership<br />Many Fortune 100 companies recognized the importance of safeguarding their brands on Twitter, even if they weren’t yet convinced about its value to their business. Notably, 41 accounts appearing to represent Fortune 100 companies were brand-jacked<br />They were not included in the total 540 accounts held by Fortune 100 companies<br />
Excerpt: “Do Fortune 100 Companies Need a ‘Twitter’vention?” <br />Research Findings<br />Twitter Engagement<br />These best practices were not followed by most of the Fortune 100 accounts examined. Half of those accounts had fewer than 500 followers, while more than half did not meet engagement metrics (e.g. number of links, hashtags, references<br />Three-quarters posted fewer than 500 tweets. This indicates either a lack of engagement by many companies with their followers or new established accounts that haven’t yet started sing the platform to build relationships.<br />
Excerpt: “Do Fortune 100 Companies Need a ‘Twitter’vention?” <br />Research Findings<br />Twitter Account Purpose<br />Among the fortune 100 companies examined by Weber Shandwick, 26 percent of their Twitter accounts were primarily used as one-way flow of information that offered no engagement with followers. Tweets did not provide opinions or encourage discussions. This contradicts the value of Twitter as a two-way dialogue to build relationships with customers and advocates.<br />
Excerpt: “Do Fortune 100 Companies Need a ‘Twitter’vention?” <br />Conclusion:<br />For the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. Many of their Twitter accounts, examined by Weber Shandwick, did not appear to listen or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts and event information<br />Web Shandwick prescribes a Twittervention to help:<br />Create a companywide engagement strategy; a set of guidelines with best practices<br />Demonstrate consistent and comprehensive brand presence<br />Build a dialogue that paves the way to new relationships with customers and advocates<br />Generate loyalty among new and existing communities<br />To maximize the benefits of Twitter, companies should offer opinions and encourage discussions, reach out to their communities of customers and advocates, build relationships with new customers and look for untapped supporters.<br />The full report can be found here.<br />
Takeaways<br />Visibility and provocative content is a great way to establish thought leadership on Twitter<br />Ignoring negative feedback, even if it’s consumer generated, not only appears passive but elongates the conflict<br />Also know it’s not necessary to respond to every negative comment<br />Consumers are not the primary audience, however it’s still important to maintain a conversational tone; Two-way communication<br />While keeping the media and investors informed is top priority, it’s conversations which keep them engaged and dedicated followers<br />Most Importantly: Don’t solely push information about the company. Post questions, interact, and re-tweet other content relevant to the industry. Engage!<br />
Additional Content<br />Fortune magazine<br />“Trouble @Twitter” by JessiHempel<br />MackCollier.com<br />“New research proves that RESPONDING to negative feedback online benefits companies” by Mack Collier<br />Mashable<br />“Audi Has the Most Engaged Fans on Facebook” by Todd Wasserman<br />“The Journalist’s Guide to Twitter” by Leah Betancourt<br />
Works Cited<br />"About." Twitter. 2011. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://twitter.com/about>.<br />Approved. Photograph. Social Media Edge: Plugged to Online Business. Active Rain. Web.<br />5 May 2011. <http://activerain.com/image_store/uploads/7/6/4/5/9/ar12564101595467.png>.<br />Do Fortune 100 Companies Need A Twittervention. Rep. Weber Shandwick, Nov. 2009. Web. 3 May 2011. <http://www.webershandwick.com/resources/ws/flash/Twittervention_Study.pdf>.<br />Freedman, Diana. "The 9 Worst Ways to Use Twitter for Business." Internet Marketing Blog | HubSpot. 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6696/The-9-Worst-Ways-to-Use-Twitter-for-Business.aspx>.<br />I'm a Thought Leader. Photograph. Services Marketing Blog. Web. 5 May 2011. <http://www.servicesmarketingblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Im-a-thought-leader.gif>.<br />Photograph. Baby Steps: Navigating My Way through Life's Inconviences. Blogger, 19 Mar. 2011. Web. 5 May 2011. <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sq16XBdnZwA/TYS1gZ3BsLI/AAAAAAAABYQ/gwujTMRwSNM/s400/ignoring-makes-louder.gif>.<br />
Works Cited<br />Photograph. CEOWorld Magazine. 27 Sept. 2010. Web. 3 May 2011. <http://ceoworld.biz/ceo/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Southwest-Airlines-logo.jpg>.<br />Photograph. Social Networking: Influence, Followers, and 'nexus Leaders' ZDNet. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://i.zdnet.com/blogs/social-networking-influence-followers-and-nexus-leaders.jpg>.<br />Photograph. WARNING: New Twitter Worm Rofl This You on Here Phishing Attack. CEOWorld Magazine, 24 Sept. 2009. Web. 5 May 2011. <http://ceoworld.biz/ceo/2009/09/24/warning-new-twitter-worm-rofl-this-you-on-here-phishing-attack>.<br />Sebastian, Michael. "Study: 25 Percent of Journalists Visit Online Newsrooms Daily | Articles." PR Daily News: Public Relations News and Marketing in the Age of Social Media | Main. 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 05 May 2011. <http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Study_25_percent_of_journalists_visit_online_newsr_7878.aspx>.<br />"Twitter." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 3 May 2011. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter>.<br />
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