I teach online PR for eConsultancy and cite examples of good and bad social media engagement in my course. One of those examples was Trocabrahma‘s profile on last.fm (since deleted) where they had indiscriminately spammed members provoking a range of negative feedback.
I explain to my students a few principles:
- Look for some common thread with people that you go out to friend: you do this by doing your home work
- Provide something that’s useful or entertaining
- Don’t sell, at least overtly
- Don’t be a jackass
Twitter makes similar kinds of mistakes a lot easier and consequence-free. I get at least three follow requests a day that are unsuitable or just plain spam, the latest that prompted this post was from @ukapprentice. They are not particularly worse than the rest, its just that since I received their request last, I remember them for this post.
Twitter is ideal as a set of training wheels in social media for a client: low cost, low involvement, easy to monitor: ideal for a PR agency to sell into their client. I am concerned that it is also training wheels for the account teams and leaves them open to not learn from their mistakes, instead reinforcing poor social media practices that could be rolled out with more consequence for both client and team in other channels additional budget is put into social media.
Rant over, carry on with your Happy Easter’s everyone.