4 Thoughts.

  1. Sounds good, but no one solution ever works for each company. I think this is why the social media space and twitter are so special. In the case of zappos they have a ton of accounts and the manpower to do that. If it;s a two or three person team and the focus is to add valuable content it is difficult to squish in a couple faces and a logo into a 55 pixel wide avatar. I think it is most important that the company be using twitter in a way that adds value and puts downt their megaphone.

    All of this being said, it is my distinct feeling that a blended avatar. Logo w/ face is the best if it can be done. :)

  2. Good point — I was thinking about extending the discussion to the smaller company, but Olivier’s post was focused on the large corporation, so I decided to just concentrate on that.

    However, I am seeing plenty of small businesses in my area start using Twitter, and very few of them are using first names — they are, in fact, using Twitter as a bullhorn. Logos as avatars, nameless and faceless user accounts. I hate having to ask a local business twitterer “and whom am I speaking to? Owner? marketer? 16-year-old nephew of the boss?” but it keeps on happening lately.

    We need to have this conversation with small businesses even more than with large businesses because they are less likely to have the in-house marketing department (or whoever) to tell them that Twitter isn’t just another broadcast channel.

    I agree that small businesses often don’t have the resources to create nifty, branded avatars. All I’m asking for is that they balance the facelessness of a logo-centric avatar or handle with some personal information in the bio or landing page wallpaper, giving us at least the first name and title of the person or people who tweet under that account name.

    The point is precisely that Twitter is a place for *people* to converse. Unfortunately, many smaller businesses often feel like they need to assume a more “corporate” persona when they get online, when just the opposite is true.

  3. As an owner/operator of a small business trying to make a name primarily through social media…the etiquette associated with social networks emerged as one of the bigger learnings for me. When I first started tweeting and posting on facebook etc, I fell into the “novice” social media trap of repeatedly posting links to my site, developing a sense of satisfaction with temporary (short term) spikes in traffic. Little did I know that I was no better than the SEOs and spammers I had grown to loath. However, once I started developing tangible online relationships (yes, some contrived RTing was involved to get their attention), I found that not only was I learning from those around me, but a sense of joy came from these interactions. While I think that a plan is necessary to maximize the effectiveness of your social media strategy, I think that many of the principals of traditional interactions and relationship development are key (observing, probing, etc etc). Why would anyone want to develop a relationship with someone who only talks about themselves? Similarly, what’s so interesting about someone who tweets obsessively about themselves (@parishilton can you hear me?).

  4. You make a great point about how the principles of traditional interactions and relationships are what should inform your behavior on Twitter, even (especially) if you are trying to use it for business. Twitter isn’t another channel for marketing and PR. It is — first, last, and always, about actual, human relationships. That’s what makes it so powerful, and yet so hard for many businesses to grasp.

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