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Corporate Twitter Entities - Yay or Nay?

There have been some interesting discussions lately - both online and off - around the business value of Twitter. As part of those discussions, we’ve noticed some varying opinions on whether or not corporations should establish their own entity on this rapidly-growing micro-blogging community.

When we first established @PerkettPR, we were immediately called out (coincidentally by PR/marketing competitors) for a few incorrect (on their part) assumptions:

1) That we had just joined Twitter without research, or a “lurking” phase

2) That we were only joining Twitter to promote our involvement in bringing TechCrunch MeetUp to Boston

3) That we would spam people (which in and of itself is an inaccurate label to use, considering the way Twitter works)

4) That we would not use our corporate entity wisely and that a “corporation” was not a “person” and therefore couldn’t participate in conversation

A few months later in March, some of these same naysayers have not only set up their own corporate entities (although most have yet to actually update/use them) but they have encouraged others to do so. That leads us to today and our questions to you:

1) Can a corporation participate in conversations on Twitter?

2) Are there certain types of businesses that should not establish a Twitter presence?

3) Do you follow any corporations on Twitter?

4) Why or why not?

Most, if not all, of our staff has individual entities on Twitter (mine’s @missusP if you’d like to engage). We spent months on Twitter watching, conversing (about business and personal issues) and getting to know the landscape before we established our corporate entity. We use @PerkettPR to share interesting developments that our constituents - those who choose to follow us - may find of interest. This can range from client news to agency news to events, interesting articles, blog posts and more. In doing so, we’ve developed new and stronger relationships with reporters, bloggers, clients - even new business prospects and competitors - as well as insightful feedback and new awareness opportunities for clients.

We believe our participation at an individual level helps us to truly understand the community and that we can engage both as indiviudals and as a team - just as in real life. This quote from Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang also reaffirmed this belief for us:

“I can't imagine ever advising a client to deal with an advertising, PR, or interactive team that doesn't get social media….agencies must demonstrate they can participate before they can ever help clients with it.”

We have several clients who have Twitter identities. @mzinga and @Q1labs are the two most recent to join. It remains to be seen if all types of corporations can participate in - and benefit from - Twitter as much as individuals do, but obviously we believe great potential exists. What do you think?

Examples of businesses on Twitter:

@JetBlue

@CNN

@ssldl (This is a local library in one of our staff’s Midwestern towns. How cool is that?!)

@mahalotravel

@hawaiianshirts

@suddenlyslimmer

@hockeygiant

@speedypin


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Join The Conversation

  • Apr 3 Posted 9 years ago TysonGoodridge

    That’s a great question and something we’re actually thinking about today, so your timing is pretty good…..Here’s my .02.

    I heard of twitter actually through, funnily enough, the guys at Mzinga and joined as an individual (@goodridge) a few weeks ago. After about 17 seconds, I thought to myself, Twitter could be another great way to build a little buzz about our company that’s going to launch about a month from now. But, in doing so, how do we not come across as a self-promoting bullhorn? So I sat tight until I saw two things happen on twitter ….

    First, the launch of @mzinga.  It was fun to watch these guys just pile up the followers who were genuinely interested in following this company. What made following them a lot easier was knowing @astrout, and @jstorerj and their personalities  behind @mzinga very well. They had fun with it too, gave out ipods, mugs, fleeces, you name it. And it seemed spontaneous, natural, like they were just doing it on the fly- and they probably were… So my point here is yes, a corporate twitter entity  works for them because it’s a natural extension of who they are, and they aren’t trying to be someone else. If Mzinga were someone like IBM, it would never work- they’d spend 3 months developing a twitter strategy…

     

    Second, the launch/following of @savvyauntie.  Here’s a case where a corporate entity and individual are the same,(at least it seems that way) and it works very well because we associate Melanie with @savvyauntie and vice versa.  The company name, image, color, everything seems right on brand with her personality. She’s funny, sincere, honest, and quite simply….. real.  I like that, and my guess is that another few hundred followers do too…

     

    So, some remaining early opinions on this matter to this (long winded )comment.

     

    -          If you’re a larger, well known corporate entity- stick to what you’re known for, nothing else.  I don’t follow cnn.com to hear the personality of some twenty year cnn staffer trying to be a hip tweeter.

    -          If you’re a small to mid-sized company, I think you’ll generate a lot more credibility by learning the space, establishing a few individual personalities first, then adding a corporate entity that tweets.

    -          If you’re a startup, be creative, take some risks and just be yourself, the rest will follow…

    So, I just started our own corporate twitter entity (@goodlifeshared) and we’re learning as we go.

    We’ll see what happens…

  • Apr 3 Posted 9 years ago TysonGoodridge

    That’s a great question and something we’re actually thinking about today, so your timing is pretty good…..Here’s my .02.

    I heard of twitter actually through, funnily enough, the guys at Mzinga and joined as an individual (@goodridge) a few weeks ago. After about 17 seconds, I thought to myself, Twitter could be another great way to build a little buzz about our company that’s going to launch about a month from now. But, in doing so, how do we not come across as a self-promoting bullhorn? So I sat tight until I saw two things happen on twitter ….

     

    First, the launch of @mzinga.  It was fun to watch these guys just pile up the followers who were genuinely interested in following this company. What made following them a lot easier was knowing @astrout, and @jstorerj and their personalities  behind @mzinga very well. They had fun with it too, gave out ipods, mugs, fleeces, you name it. And it seemed spontaneous, natural, like they were just doing it on the fly- and they probably were… So my point here is yes, a corporate twitter entity works for them because it’s a natural extension of who they are, and they aren’t trying to be someone else. If Mzinga were someone like IBM, it would never work- they’d spend 3 months developing a twitter strategy…

     

    Second, the launch/following of @savvyauntie.  Here’s a case where a corporate entity and individual are the same,(at least it seems that way) and it works very well because we associate Melanie with @savvyauntie and vice versa.  The company name, image, color, everything seems right on brand with her personality. She’s funny, sincere, honest, and quite simply….. real.  I like that, and my guess is that another few hundred followers do too…

     

    So, some remaining early opinions on this matter to this (long winded )comment.

     

    -        If you’re a larger, well known corporate entity- stick to what you’re known for, nothing else. Just like you're doing with @perkettpr.  I don’t follow cnn.com to hear the personality of some twenty year cnn staffer trying to be a hip tweeter.

    -          If you’re a small to mid-sized company, I think you’ll generate a lot more credibility by learning the space, establishing a few individual personalities first, then adding a corporate entity that tweets.

    -          If you’re a startup, be creative, take some risks and just be yourself, the rest will follow…

    So, I just started our own corporate twitter entity (@goodlifeshared) and we’re learning as we go.

    We’ll see what happens…

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