Mashable says brands don’t belong on Twitter

Mashable sparked an interesting debate on Friday when Dr Mark Drapeau made the bold statement that Twitter should ban brands from the site.  In the post “Do Brands Belong on Twitter”, Drapeau stated that:

Thinking about what might be best for people, in my opinion Twitter should not only not charge brands for membership, but also ban them altogether. Not unlike Facebook and other sites, every account would represent a person using a real name, location, and picture.

Drapeau explains his stance by arguing that a brand must have a person behind it:

Twitter is about people sharing information with other people. So how do one-dimensional organizational brands fit into this mix? When you really think about it, they don’t. As an analogy, when you call customer service, a human answers the phone (eventually) and tells you their name – and you’re not talking to “Sprint” or “Dell” but rather “Steve” or “Danny.”

Now while I completely disagree with that statement that Twitter should “ban brands altogether”, I do see the rationale that Twitter is about sharing information with other people.  I actually think the brands doing Social Media right are the ones that base their strategy off of this simple point.  If you just throw up your brand logo on Twitter (or any Social Media platform) and expect to have a conversation with consumers, you are doing it all wrong.  You are just trying to act the easy way out with one-way communication.

Brands belong in Social Media, but you need to humanize the brand

On the same day that Mashable said brands should be banned, the folks at iMedia highlighted “How to be a Twitter All-Star.”  Focused on brands like Flying Dog Brewery, Zappos and Southwest Airlines, the article proves the point that brands can enjoy great success on Twitter or any other Social Media platform.  But doing so requires them to humanize the brand by putting a person behind the logo.  And requires them to work with a different set of rules.

Christi Day, the Social Media face for Southwest Airlines, explained their approach as follows:

“Twitter empowers us to be authentic.  Getting real means being empowered, engaged and prepared. It is necessary to have the person in the Twitter role equipped to handle news management, customer communications, to be able to write compelling tweets and be willing to be engaged at all times.”

Let’s face it, this isn’t the type of marketing approach that most Brand Managers are use to.  But Twitter is just the latest technology to force us to think about change in our jobs.  If you haven’t sat down and thought about the impact of Social Media on your brand (and your career), maybe it is time you did.

NOTE:  Michael Brito from Intel joined in on the discussion with a great post on why brands do belong on Twitter.

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6 Responses to Mashable says brands don’t belong on Twitter

  1. [...] Mashable says brands don’t belong on Twitter [...]

  2. Andrea Hill says:

    I think there is a place for brands on twitter. I follow digsby, twittad and a few others. I do this because i like the ease with which I can get information from the brands. I don’t want to hear from “John” from DIgsby. I don’t actually care about that person, I am specifically looking for product/brand info.

    This is twitter, part of the joy of it is that there are no rules. Let people use it as they wish..

  3. Hey Dave — thanks for the mention. I appreciate it.

  4. [...] entities on social media such as Twitter.  Dave Knox sums up the sides of the issue nicely here. The crux of Mark Drapeau’s argument for banning brands from Twitter seems to be that Twitter [...]

  5. Holly says:

    I agree with Andrea. I think if the company can share information about its products or services without flooding, it can absolutely be beneficial to both the consumer and the company I think SouthWest Airlines is a great example of a company that has taken full and well advantage of Twitter.

  6. [...] if you don’t genuinely get involved and play by the rules, norms and social common sense. Post from Hard Knox [...]

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