Twitter has a few of these, it’s true. Joe Loong mentions some awful Twitter moments on his blog, here: “Twitter + Child’s Funeral = Bad Idea” is one; and the Memphis/FedEx/PR Guy mashup last year, here.
Twitter is ephemeral. Each tweet occupies a short time frame. And since employees and managers will always screw up, because they are human, only a very few people will care if you’ve stuck your thumb – or your company’s thumb – in the sausage grinder. Seriously, if it’s legally actionable, it’s one thing; if it’s temporarily embarrassing, you’ll get over it.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Use the new tech. Use Twitter as a marketing communications tool. You’ll be in good company; a short Brandweek article noted this week:
Twitter usage exploded in 2009. US site traffic, which is only a partial barometer of how many people used the service, grew from a few million unique monthly visitors early last year to over 20 million by June.
Searching the Internet will give you anywhere from 1 to 100 ways to use Twitter to benefit your brand or your company. Four of my best start-up thoughts come from Heidi Cohen writing on ClickZ:
1. Listen before you leap. Your stakeholders are ready and willing to share their views about your products, brands and company. So use multiple forums (in addition to Twitter) to hear what's being said about your firm, your competitors, your market.
2. Plan for relevant content. Unless your personal or corporate brand is based on random thoughts (maybe, maybe not), plan for tweets that customers, prospects and thought leaders will find useful – and related to your product or service.
3. Support your social media effort. Use classic marketing programs and tactics to sustain online efforts: offline advertising, retail outlets, live events and your product packaging. ‘Cause if all you are is tweets, your market’s going to find out about it pretty quick.
4. Remember the conversation is multidirectional. Despite the Type A people you work for or with, no message is genuinely controllable once it’s left your computer, phone, Blackberry, what-have-you. You will hear back. As you begin to stretch your marketing with Twitter and other “new media,” don’t be afraid and do consider what social-media visioneer Seth Godin wrote:
Online interactions are largely expected to be intentional. On purpose. Planned. People assume you did stuff for a reason. Be clear, be generous, be kind. Can’t hurt.