Monday, October 11, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Being a TwitterFace

You've been asked by your company or a client to do their Tweeting or Facebooking for them and, for better or for worse, you've said yes.

Here are some really good - and really bad - things to know about being someone else's Social Media mouthpiece.

Pro

Direct Interaction - You get to be the one who makes a difference. You get to set the tone, talk with people the way you want others to talk to you. Set the bar high, be the example other people use - this is your chance to shine and make a Social Media presence you'd want to engage with.

Influence - Everyone knows the adage "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." When your squeak has the weight of customers' opinion behind it, grease is sure to follow. Do the customers love the color green, want larger sizes, need more information? As the Twitterface of the company, you get to hear it first. Conversely, when the company shares good news, it's you who shares it. The customers will come to see you as their go-to, you as their voice and their inside man. The company will see you as being in touch with their market.

Promotion/Messaging - You know how it is. A company comes up with an idea that everyone kind of wonders..."yeah, but who is it for?" or "why?" You can be the person who shapes the messaging on both sides - let the company know what their customer base wants and let the customer know that the company is listening. If there's a promotional campaign, you get to make sure that it's relevant to the consumers and totally authentic from beginning to end. Every message and every campaign is a chance to show the consumers that the company "gets it."


Con

Decision Making - The biggest downside to being someone else's mouthpiece is that you don't get to chose what you say. Or when. If you're an outside consultant, you may even have to scratch at doors to find something *to* say.

When the decision-making is out of your hands, you have to hope that you've got critical support at the company, or you may inadvertently say the wrong thing at the wrong time or have nothing to say at the right time.

Reporting Facts - There is nothing more truly awful than being the person to deliver bad news. The higher-ups want you to tell them that you got 10,000 followers in a week for their high-end watch business Facebook page and they don't want to hear that the people who buy custom watches in the 6-figure range aren't *on* Facebook. Likewise the fans of that popular kids series of novels don't want to hear that the author is ending it with her next novel. The truth hurts, and unfortunately, you may be doing the hurting.

Customer Service - Putting a company out there means that that company becomes visible, perhaps vulnerable. Reasonable or not, there will be complaints. And those people will expect - perhaps demand - attention. There *has* to be a policy in place or you will be fielding angry fastballs with no help. Make sure you have a contact or a customer service number to direct people to - and hope that they can handle the pressure, or you'll be getting the rebounds.

Being the Twitterface of a company means that you can build great relationships from the ground up....as long as the company has got its own priorities straight.
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