The article is written by Ronn Torossian, the CEO of 5WPR, one of the 25 largest public relations agencies in the U.S. and I think his comments hit home on a lot of point. It is a great reality check for most social media marketers.
Reality: CEOs are busy enough as they are and it is unrealistic to expect them to be able to tweet and engage with their following.
Yes, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos did it but there are always exceptions to the rule. Many social media gurus like to use exceptions and make them the rule.
Torossian says that Twitter is wrongfully percecived. Twitter is not instant messenging like Google Chat, AIM or MSN Messenger. It is a mix of social and broadcast media. Which is very true and it is a reality that many SM marketers forget or ignore.
I had a discussion with Julien Smith about how can you engage with so many people on Twitter and truth be told: you cannot. It is humanly impossible to engage with thousands, nevermind 10 of thousands, or 100 of thousands and more.
This is not to say that you cannot use Social Media to monetize nor that you cannot use Social Media to engage with your customers, target market and clients. Torossain discusses how there will be a business etiquette that will be different from user etiquette in social media and I agree. Social Media is still very young. In my opinion, it is in an embryonic phase – we will see a lot of stride in social media and social media marketing. Over time, people will be more comfortable and will learn to manage their expectations. Twitter and Facebook are still very new and are thus exciting. Let’s just give it time.
Meanwhile, brands and CEOs can still use Twitter to influence. As Torossian puts it perfectly:
When launched, Twitter was hailed as a microblogging site, a way in which individuals and/or thought leaders could share information with their followers, as opposed to the way in which it is mainly used today, as an instant-messaging service.
CEOs do not have time to reply on Twitter, but they can share information. If they read a great article they like, they can share with their following. They can take 5 minutes a day to peruse their twitterfeed and try to retweet once a day. Their level of engagement is just different. Retweeting is a form of engagement, sharing quality information is another form of engagement.
In an economy starved for lead generation, as long as they do not only push their own content, CEOs can definitely use Twitter to influence and demonstrate expertise. Expecting them to reply to every comments, however is ludicrous.
photo by: Antoine Lendrevie
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