Tag Archives: Twitter for Business

“Safety in Numbers: How to Fight Brand Hijacking on Twitter”

Last week a reporter asked my opinion on the state of brands on Twitter after the Exxon Twitter-jacking debacle.

“As more companies move on to Twitter, how are we to know who is real and who is a fake?” she asked.  “How can a reporter or a consumer know that this person can be a trusted source?”

With Exxon, someone named Janet had claimed to be the Exxon Mobil community manager.  Forrester Research’s Jeremiah Owyang got excited that Exxon was getting involved with Twitter–3 days later, it turned out Janet was a fake.  She hadn’t said anything negative about Exxon, and actually did a great job of addressing people’s questions…but she’d hijacked the brand.  Other big companies might not be so lucky.

Back in the old 1.0 days of the Internet, you could be pretty much anyone–a 40 year old man pretending to be a 13 year old girl–and no one would know otherwise.  In the Web 2.0 world, however, our identities are built on and confirmed by our relationships.

Using Facebook as an example, my identity is more-or-less confirmed by my friends.  Not that it can’t be forged, but by checking my profile, my friends, my work network, etc., you’d be able to make a fairly good guess as to whether I was real or not.

Nope, Twitter doesn’t confirm your identity–but you can still use the network to validate someone.  Jeremiah could have easily searched on Twellow for other Exxon employees on Twitter.  Had their been any Exxon employees (there aren’t), he would have been able to ask them about Janet.  Did they know her? Exxon is a big company, so maybe not…but I bet they have a directory in Outlook.

Companies like Dell, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft all have tons o’ employees on Twitter, making it easy to find a spokesperson. (Click links for Twellow searches).

A couple of steps any company can take to ensure their brand is protected:

  • Don’t just create a XYZCo generic Twitter account, get as many employees on Twitter as possible
  • Add any official Twitter names to the company’s main contact page
  • Encourage employees to mention company name in Twitter profile
  • Create a directory of employees in the company on Twitter and distribute internally
  • Encourage employees to add each other.  Even if they may not work together, Twitter can help strengthen the camaraderie within a company
  • Encourage employees to respond to any Tweets about the company they see — bonus if they search for the company’s name or industry keywords

There you go. Now whenever a reporter, blogger or consumer is looking for a company rep, they can find many to whom they can turn!  Oh, and it might not hurt to claim your company’s name–if it isn’t already taken!

What systems does your company have in place to validate Twitter screen names?  Do you have just a generic name? Do you let employees actively Tweet?

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[The above photo, “Kids at zebra crossing” by fiskfisk on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Community Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Social Networking

“Micro-Managing Out, Micro-Blogging In: A WordPress Prologue Review”

Today, all of us who have ever dreamed of integrating Twitter into the workplace have something to smile about; last night, the makers of WordPress unveiled a nifty new tool, to help pave the way towards a Twitterpated world. Prologue–like Twitter, but for Enterprise–is a group blog designed for efficient team collaboration and communication.

For me, Prologue is a great implementation of the instant communication, micro-blogging technology Twitter pioneered. It really seems to be a great tool for global companies with employees scattered across time-zones.

It works like this:

  • Leave a status update, comment, helpful link or question, so that everyone on the team can see the progress of other members on the team, answer questions, etc.
  • Tag each Tweet with a project-specific category to quickly filter through the other posts and find only information regarding a specific project.
  • Add an RSS feed for instant communication.
  • Better yet, add an RSS feed for each category tag to filter for project specific “news.”

Right now, Prologue is only available on WordPress. Make the blog private if you don’t want the world to see. (Personally, I’d love to see someone remain totally transparent and keep their Prologue Blog public.) Since the code is open, you should be able to adapt it to most enterprise scenarios.

Click on the screenshot below to see the demo blog set up by the WordPress team.

Do you foresee your company utilizing this for Enterprise 2.0 implementation? Will this be a Twitter Killer, or is it another testament to the greatness of all things Tweet?

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Recommended Reading:

“Twitterpated: A Twitter How-To”

“RSS for Success: A Primer”

“PR to Enterprise: Beam me Up!”

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Filed under Enterprise Public Relations, Future of Media, Internal Public Relations, New Media, Review, Social Media

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Mario Sundar, LinkedIn”

It’s Thursday afternoon, do you know where your Marketing Director is? Probably watching today’s “3Q’s in 3 Min.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This Thursday, socialTNT meets with Mario Sundar, LinkedIn’s Community Evangelist. For PR Peeps with clients on the fence about social media or those companies not quite sure about starting a blog, Mario’s interview might paint a better picture of the thinking behind entering the new frontier that is social media relations.

In the following video, Mario defines what a Community Manager (evangelist) does, discusses the current and future tools LinkedIn utilizes, and (my favorite) discusses how LinkedIn translates its brand across these various social media outlets.

The new era of branding leverages transparency to showcase corporate culture; if the culture aligns with the target audience (in this case, members) then they will want to be a part of the brand. Their participation is now their vote. In LinkedIn’s case, it presents a very professional, kinda business casual feel. Compare this to MySpace’s party-teeny vibe or Facebook dorm-room ambiance (don’t get me wrong, I love FB!). As a professional trying to network, which site appeals to you?

LinkedIn’s outreach influences maintains current members, harvests future members, and recruits future employees. Check out their blog, flickr feed, and YouTube channel. Keep an eye out for their Twitter feed!

Not included in the interview, but relevant: “The greatest benefit of a blog is the back and forth with the reader/user.” I couldn’t agree more, Mario.

So what do you guys think? Should companies hire Community Managers? Has anyone tried any community outreach that backfired? What about positive experiences? I’d love to hear your input.

More about Social media marketing or Enterprise PR? Check out good ideas from Dell and bad ideas from Whole Foods Market. You can also learn how social media can increase external and internal PR .

Once again, thanks Mario for a great interview. Also: Mad props for the Guy Kawasaki/Fake Steve Jobs event this week! (I got to meet iJustine!)

[DISCLOSURE: At a previous firm, I worked on the LinkedIn team. That firm (and LinkedIn) no longer has any financial pull on me.]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Community Relations, Enterprise Public Relations, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, New Media Masters., Public Relations 2.0, Video Interview