As Twitter becomes more prolific we find ourselves incorporating it into more and more marketing plans for our clients. Once we get client approval, the next question is always “will the client make the updates, or will the agency?” The answer depends on what the objectives of creating a Twitter page in the first place are.
The client should make their own updates when building credibility is the main objective of the campaign. One of the biggest benefits of social networking is to connect with a large number of people and ideally to eventually translate that relationship offline. If this is one of the goals of the Twitter account then the page should be set up as a personal page of someone within a company, rather than a company Twitter page. This allows for a more personal connection that provides insights that don’t appear to be churned from the company’s PR team (even if they are). Even if the Twitter updater is an official spokesperson of the company, followers tend to take the information as more credible because they “know” the person from whom the information is coming. Like blogging, information posted to a Twitter page should be transparent. If the bio on the page is of an individual, then that individual should be the one making the updates. The instant that it’s discovered that someone is tweeting for them, especially when it’s the spokesperson for the company, all credibility is lost and it will be very hard, if not impossible, to regain.
The key thing to remember here is that although tweets need to be fairly frequent, ideally multiple times per day, they’re only 140 characters (including the all essential link). Tweets can be made while standing in line, sitting on the train, waiting for a meeting to start or in an elevator. Although it’s a real commitment, it’s not a real time sucker, which helps when selling the “client update” option.
On the other hand, it’s okay for an agency to make updates when the account has been created for a specific project or event with a definitive end date. We’ve found that creating a Twitter account is particularly useful when planning an event and hoping to build some buzz around it beforehand. Because these types of tweets aren’t necessarily company insight, but more facts about the event, it’s more accepted that someone other than a company insider might be making them. However, make sure the profile for the account is more general, with the name of the event rather than of an individual person.
Another example of when it’s okay for a Twitter page to be updated by an agency is when the page is that of the company’s and not a particular individual within the company. The key here is that the agency will need access to company information so that the tweets are relevant and insightful, rather than an obvious attempt to distribute key messages.
So, when you’re ready to build a Twitter account into a strategic marketing plan, make sure you define the objectives first, and the answer as to “who will tweet” will become more obvious.