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Silicon: When Twitter is bad for business

October 5, 2011 - published a Blog of Dirk Schlenzig, CEO of the SITEFORUM Group about: " When Twitter is bad for business".
If the new social media heroes have their way we would all be tweeting all of the time. If “no publicity is bad publicity” then maybe there is no such thing as a bad tweet (common rules of decency aside).

Angela Merkel’s spokesman found this not to be the case earlier this year when he announced her visit to the US on Twitter. Why the problem ? He forgot to tell the press corps first and they were less than impressed not to be the first to know. In this case it wasn’t the content but the process they objected to.

The extreme solution to the problem is of course not to engage with social media. At the end of last year, 30 top german companies announced they were banning employee access to social media. Avoiding the issue won’t help – it would be a bit like saying “we had a customer support issue – lets avoid customers from now on”. Keeping employees away from social media is not only futile (many of them will have mobile access anyway) it is also counter-productive. How are you going to develop critical thinking and strategic skills if you are not engaged ? How will you be able to respond if someone else challenges you on Twitter ?

Many companies now use Twitter-like systems inside their organisations to encourage internal conversation and communication and this looks likely to become an important component of corporate information sharing in the future. Combining status updates into live feeds showing colleague and contact activities and assets looks set to transform productivity. Of course there has to be some care taken, especially in regulated environments, to ensure nothing is shared inappropriately.

One of the most interesting uses of Twitter we have seen is at Events. Many now feature a Tweet Wall which displays real-time tweets using a specific hashtag. Delegates can use it to arrange to meet between sessions, Vendors use it share news with everyone at the event and everyone can use it broadcast news and views to the world. It can be an amazingly rich useage of what is an essential simple channel.

Particularly for external communications, clearly the best solution is to engage corporate brain before opening corporate mouth. It’s easy now to automate your communications to keep all channels up to speed at the same time. You can focus on effective content and communication based on a smart corporate strategy and regular brand experience.

There may not be such a thing as bad publicity but powerful tools like Twitter can put you in a very bright spotlight very quickly. Be Prepared !

Read the article (Only German).

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