Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » Who Is Tweeting Now?

Who Is Tweeting Now?



What do you think about someone tweeting on your behalf? For example someone tweeting with me @_Sians and then it’s not me answering,  it’s someone I’ve employed to keep the chat going.  For me Twitter is all about the personality with some business mixed in now and then – if you are promoting a business.  I appreciate that with big corporates like Eircom, Vodafone, o2 to name a few then it’s understandable that different employees will be tweeting – but then they are supplying a service with their tweets.  I posed this question on my Facebook business page a while ago and it created an interesting conversation. I’ve included a few of the comments below.

Barbara Edwards You’d need to trust the person 100% that they wouldn’t post anything that could ‘let you down’ if you know what I mean. Wouldn’t be a fan of it myself.

Maya Hanley I have done it on behalf of clients and found it can work quite well if you have a good and strong relationship with the client. That said, there is nothing like the personal voice of the real deal

Cathy Finnegan wouldn’t be a huge fan. As a customer, I’d want the actual supplier tweeting, not someone else! Plus doesn’t it build that personal rapport, if it is the supplier directly tweeting with customer?

Niall Devitt I think that it happens a lot more than we think and I’m not sure that there is a simple yes or no answer.

Barney Austen I’d say it depends. If you are tweeting as an individual then no – it’s your own space and your own language. If it is a “company” twitter account then this can be standardised in terms of language and content. Hope this makes sense

Frederique Murphy That’s a great question and I am with Niall on that one, not sure there is a clear yes/no answer. Personally, I don’t do it, but as you know I believe in tweeting my good vibes and reaching as many people as I can, so I am utilising some tools to ensure that while I sleep, people across the pond still get my messages (which in itself, is something that some people despise and others love, my followers love it); plus, they know that no matter, where they are around the world, I will always engage back, which for me is key. I would not be able to follow my mission should I not utilise extra help and even though it is not by employing someone, it is by utilising software. That’s for me and my business. I have heard of some people who are utilising ghost tweeters and it is their choice as some of you have said. I do believe it can work as long as the writing is in alignment with the company mission and values. I also think that it depends on the company size and on the objectives you have about your Twitter account. Twitter is a communication channel and before tweeting, particularly for business, a communication plan should be put in place with messages, goals, and responsibilities and resources.

Tori Hawthorne I agree with Niall, its not straight forward. Twitter has become part of the service we give, the only problem is finding time for another task (tweeting) on our ‘to do’ list. On behalf of yourself ie @BusinessTori (me) for example, it should be me (and is). On behalf of a business/brand I think there may be room for someone else to do ‘the job’. I’d rather employ someone to do the deliveries I have to do, so I can do the social media work ;-)

Elaine Rogers I have an idea. What about tweeting yourself to inject your personality, and use software to schedule tweets (still your own language) AND using a ghost tweeter to research your industry and tweet to the same account interesting content and links?? This means you get to connect with your followers in realtime, keep them up to date and also provide them with researched quality content.  A good professional relationship is vital and a strategy too of course :)

Ivan Walsh It’s fine if it’s for a biz a/c but if you were pretending to be someone else, then it gets a bit sticky. I know many people were offended when they found out Guy Kawasaki had a sweet little old lady doing some tweets for him. Oddly enough, no one cared until they found out which says something about his followers lol!

Michelle Gilstrap There are software instruments like Hootsuite that let a team work together, so if you are a business, then you can have team members tweeting on different responsibilities. This can be very effective. Customer Service, New Developments etc. Many companies can actually help customers quicker on Twitter than by phone. I do feel Twitter can be used in many ways and it can be effective personally, and corporately.

Frank Bradley I come down on the fence on this one. It simply depends on what you are trying to achieve. If your business grows to such an extent that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, then it might end up being an option. I think we’ve seen the same issue with ghost blogging, where certain people either don’t have the time, or the skill to put into words what they want to say, and ghost bloggers are brought in. I guess Tweeting isn’t as complex as blogging, however I guess it depends on what you are trying to do.

Christina Jennifer Giliberti I think it all depends – a large company may outsource or use a marketing dept in-house. Each will need to be clear on the strategy and approach and use a consistent voice. If outsourcing, both parties need to sign off content and the company should add personal message for use online. An agency will have experience that a business may not. Working together provides results. SM could link to a blog written by a company employee for the personal stamp. I agree with Barney however, that an individual is best tweeting themselves to connect.

Greg Fry Okay, I would say ideally no. But if the 3rd party truly understands your business and your objectives I’d say it is a better proposition than having no presence on Twitter at all.

Paula Flanagan I have to say it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Is it not a form of false advertising? The people you engage with on social media want to speak with you, not someone hired to speak on your behalf. I think a huge part of engagement is about personality, and it’s hard to hire someone to portray your personality.While I partly agree that it’s better than no presence at all, I also think that it corrupts the whole idea of social media. Who knows, maybe nobody on social media is actually who they say they are..

Sian From these comments the consensus seems that it’s acceptable if a big business but to get the strategy right. I still prefer the personal touch and until I become Sian’s Inc it will always be me that you’re tweeting with.  What do you think?



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The Author:

Sian Phillips is the Managing Editor of TweakYourBiz.com and a Moderator on Bizsugar.com. Sian is also the accountant for her clients Henparty.ie, (Dragons Den winner 2009), Clearwave.ie and Comserv.ie. With over 20 years’ worth of experience in business and accounting Sian provides help to the SME sector. The other half of Sian’s day is spent workIing in the Social Media space; writing blog posts and conducting interviews for TweakYourBiz.com, plus writing for clients globally about Social Business and Accounting. She is a qualified Accountant with an Honours Diploma in Journalism too. http://www.tweakyourbiz.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://twitter.com/fredchannel Fred

    When it comes to a personal account, I wouldn’t say it’s a good idea. I guess someone could tweet for you but of course not reply to anyone… at the same time you can schedule tweets so there wouldn’t be any need to have another person “talking” for you.nMany people have this impresion that they must live this second life on Twitter (they MUST be there, all the time) It’s ridiculous. nYou can be busy and send from your mobile two or three tweets a day if you want and maybe one of those is to answer a question or talk to someone else. What I just described, takes no more than 5 minutes and that’s much better that having someone tweeting for you…

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Sian, you asked a great question and the responses are very interesting. It kinda leads to another question in my mind, Is it better to be on Twitter (even if it’s someone representing your brand) than not be there. The answer for me at least is yes.

  • http://twitter.com/bigbluesquid Michael Thompson

    As a ghost tweeter for a number of small businesses I’m obviously in favour of the practice but the idea of giving your company brand and reputation over to someone else is not to be taken lightly. In many cases the passion of the business owner must shine through and to that extent I advise quite a few clients, especially new clients, to respond or tweet themselves. My role will be to filter spam, answer direct ‘customer care’ type questions, opening times, new product launch dates as well as highlight urgent queries and let the owners continue to answer the more personal questions. I also strongly advise on putting a policy in place, for myself and for the client’s staff, what can and cannot be tweeted under the company name. Over time I may be asked to take on more tweeting but again it will be within the policy we have agreed on.

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    Great question Sian, great answers too and still a devisive question. Since it is me that tweets and not someone else there are often gaps in my responses as there are times when I am just too busy and am not online. I wonder how you feel about Facebook and Linked In too then?

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie Sian Phillips

    Thanks Michael. It’s great to hear from an actual Ghost Tweeter and see how it is done.

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie Sian Phillips

    I don’t use Linked In enough to comment about that but on a Facebook business page it’s much easier to post on behalf of a company as its only business that is being mentioned really. I still think of Twitter as being more personal – like a Facebook personal page I guess

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think ghost tweeting is just for big business. For example Sian you write press releases for people yet this isn’t dishonest, we get people to prepare our accounts, we outsource marketing, we get media training. nnHowever I do have a problem with someone pretending to be someone else. That is dishonest. Ghost tweeting can and does work as part of a strong social media strategy but yes getting into personal chats as someone else is dishonest and if you are caught will damage your brand more than twitter can ever help.nnBe honest and I it works.

  • http://twitter.com/WebCare_IE Web Care Ireland

    My opinion: If you have a group of people tweeting for you – then do it under your business/company/brand name or a team/group/office name. You have a duty to let people know who they are (or may/may not be) talking to.

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie Sian Phillips

    I agree with you – it’s the deception bit that I was meaning. As long as you’re honest if tweeting for someone else and saying who you actually are that’s the key for me.

  • http://www.cgonlinemarketing.com/ Christina Giliberti

    Hi Sian,nI remember this conversation well!nI’ve been discussing with others how they converse on SM channels, and most are interested in automated feeds. Thats a real pity, because even if a brand name captures the attention, it’s the person conversing who keeps it. So – if someone is conversing on behalf of a client, they are sustaining loyalty. That being said, social media is seen as a direct feed to a person or business and people are interested in this proximity. For a business thats a number of people and I have seen companies successfully use various voices to connect with certain segments on a more targeted level. For individuals, I expect to speak to them directly because I’m not connecting with a brand, product or service, I’m connecting with a person.n