When you go to the theatre, it’s a given that the words of a playwright are being channeled through the characters on stage. Every line uttered is steeped in the identity of the person speaking, but placed there by the author, whose goal was to make a statement. It’s a fake-me-out that we all accept, a creation that we all buy into, because that’s the very nature of the thing, right?
So now, imagine Shakespeare was on Twitter.
Would he tweet as himself, or as one of the many personalities he created? Would the context of his 140 characters be different depending on “who” says it, even if the source is literally the same? And what about audience – how could he reach the right one given the many personalities he has to chose from?
Welcome of the murky and challenging world of creating a clearly branded and effective organizational identity online using Twitter as your vehicle.
In these days of social media madness, identity as a concept is already tenuous & intangible at best, yet more important than ever. Is it possible for an organization to express itself within the limited construct of Twitter without losing the context of its brand and reputation? Will the syntax and character limit make you look unprofessional? How can you tell is anyone is really listening, let alone caring? And if they are, how critical is it to be “on message” all the time?
It really boils down to this: Who the hell are you out “there”? Let’s turn to the immortal words of the Bard for guidance.
“To be, or not to be: that is the question.”- Hamlet
Should you even Tweet? If you want to make your brand more accessible, expand reach & leverage your audience, yes. If you’re “Keeping up w/ the Jones’s”, don’t bother.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”- Juliet
Select an @name that reflects the organization, not the person doing the tweeting. An identity crisis can negatively impact your brand & loose you audience.
“All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”- Jaques
Dress up the place! Design a background graphic that reinforces your brand and identity & create a custom icon that is more than just your logo, but not a personal photo.
“This above all: to thine own self be true.”- Polonius
Define a voice & stick to it. Consistency in tone paired w/an engaging style will gain you respect, credibility & above all else, followers. Your brand will thank you.
“Nothing will come of nothing.”- King Lear
Tweet regularly but be picky. If you only link to blog posts or RT people, no one will be interested in your tweets. Add value but don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet.
“Listen to many, speak to a few.”- William Shakespeare
Dedicate a staff member to monitor your account & do searches for interesting people & discussions where your organization can engage. Be deliberate in your choices.
“Brevity is the soul of wit”- Polonius
Think of Twitter as an exercise in focused expression. An elevator speech in 140 characters. Getting right to the point w/out fluff. (& URL shorteners can help alot).
“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”- Macbeth
If you have nothing to say, don’t. Your tweets should interest your followers & reflect your brand’s skill with the medium. No one cares about your lunch order.
“The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation” - Mowbray
It’s very easy to dilute your brand & damage your reputation on twitter by not being strategic or careful about future impact. Think before you tweet.
“O brave new world that has such people in’t!”- Miranda
Twitter is powerful tool & a great way to reach people directly so take advantage of it. Grow a loyal following, show the human face of your org & you will reap the benefits.
For those still skeptical about getting an organization’s point of view across on Twitter without looking it like a 13 year old’s text message, don’t be. It’s totally doable. How do you know?
Each one of the points above was 140 characters or less.