MEMO: Being on Twittonary during office hours OK!

Ahhh … the charming chirping of co-workers’ iPhones receiving yet another tweet! A year ago this could have lead to a dreary and somewhat Draconian discussion regarding personal versus work time but, oh, how things have changed. Thanks to the recent explosion of corporate usage, Twitter is no longer just for techies, teenagers, hip-hop artists and TMZ anymore. It’s now an essential part of corporate branding and public relations with its ultimate potential only barely being tapped. As they say… with great power comes great responsibility. Corporate Twittering is no different. Here are some basic, safe rules of thumb your company needs to keep in mind while joining the fray. Otherwise, you risk ostracizing those same people you hope to further your relationship with:

  • Walk the walk if you’re going TRY to talk the talk

Don’t start Tweeting to just simply not be left behind. Develop a strategy the same as you would for an outdoor, direct mail or broadcast campaign. If upper management does finally come around and accept the need to do that “Twitter thing” and finally assigns time and resources to the project, you need to do it right from the beginning.  Learn the lingo and how the system works. This audience, as much as any other, can smell a fraud from a mile away. 

  • Refrain from falling into myopia!  

Twitter is for relationship building and this objective remains intact when using it from a corporate perspective.  Don’t fall into the trap of making this a medium for sending out endless streams of press releases about your own company.  Sure, you want followers to know about promotions and events. But at the same time, it should help you position yourselves as a trusted industry source. Don’t be afraid to post general industry articles and commentary on the things most important to your audience. It’s routinely agreed that one tweet about yourself to five or six topical tweets about your industry is optimal. Remember, it’s not always about you.

  • Remove the corporate smile. 

I was once told this during an interview and, sadly, knew exactly what the interviewer meant. If Twittering is all about relationships, then you’re not going to get very far if you remain behind the proverbial corporate wall. This applies similarly to corporate accounts as it does to personal ones. Don’t be afraid to let your company’s true personality shine through. Avoid the spamming of “lazy-links,” as I call them, and take the time to provide personal commentary. The value of this medium can be lost if you don’t share a conversation with your audience. Personal anecdotes by company heads can go a long way to establishing a more engaging relationship with your followers.

So, don’t be afraid, be yourself and take the dive! Take a flyer and simply log on to to read about the basics of getting started along with dozens of case studies of companies that were once in the same position you’re in today.  Now go and impress your boss AND your kids at the same time.  Good luck!

— Steve Iaconis

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