Is your company on Twitter? Who is writing your tweets? On Facebook? Who's generating that content? Do you have a blog? Who's writing the posts?
Let me tell you, when it comes to my brand, there's exactly one other person I would let write under my brand banner on my social media sites - my twin sister. She gets my brand completely. And, she is a better writer than I am. (Something I've never forgiven her for)
Incorrect answers to the above questions are:
- our interns
- my son/daughter
- my brother-in-law (he understands those techie things)
- the IT department
- an outside social media company
Now, I know I'm getting some pushback on that last one. There are some companies that do an outstanding job. But there are a lot of pitfalls with that strategy.
Pitfalls of farming out your social media generation to someone else
- You don't know who will be doing the actual tweeting, facebooking, blogging
- There isn't a clearly defined social media strategy
- There aren't strict brand parameters conveyed so the person doing the writing knows exactly what to say and how to say it
- The social media efforts are separate from other marketing and branding efforts.
- The person tweeting thinks they are using their personal Twiter account and lets loose the F-Bomb.
I don't know how many of the above apply to Chrysler, but number 4 and number 5 are definitely true.
Here's what Ad Age had to say about the incident:
The dustup began yesterday when one of the agency's staffers tweeted from the @ChryslerAutos account: "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f-ing drive." (NOTE - the F world was fully spelled out in the original tweet)
According to those familiar with the episode, the employee thought he or she was logged in to a private Twitter account rather than Chrysler's account. The employee had access, along with a team of other agency and client-side people, and wrote tweets throughout the day as part of his or her job.
Oops. Just to be clear, the "agency" was New Media Strategies who Chrysler had hired to help with social media efforts. But it got worse...
Turf battles over social media between marketing and communications have been an issue at the automaker -- and other companies -- for a few years. Early in the day after the tweet went out, Chrysler's communications team was grappling to get hold of the details of the episode after bloggers and media began calling, in part because Chrysler's marketing department controls Facebook and Twitter social-media accounts that are "consumer facing." The communications department has separate Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr accounts that are meant to be "media facing."
When people see a communication go out from a brand - they aren't thinking, "Oh, that's just some person who works for an agency." They're thinking, "This is the brand talking to me" UNLESS it is clearly defined that it is a person at the brand.
For example - KodakCB- which cleary states it is Jenny Cisney, complete with her picture.
I have three recommendations for companies and their social media sites
- Hire a full time person or people whose only job is to be the voice of your social media presence. (yes, this may cost you more, but this is your brand that is at stake)
- Include the person's name in the twitter handle or the bio information to let people know there is a person behind this.
- That person needs to work directly with and under the marketing department.
Be clear who is doing the actual tweeting/writing. Have a clear strategy and constant communication with that person. Make social media a core part of your marketing and sales strategy rather than a one off effort.
Oh, and don't drop the F-Bomb while denigrating the very city your marketing department is using as the core of their new marketing campaign.