Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TwitRules of Brand-Rep Engagement: How much YOU is TOO much?


Ok, so this deviates greatly from my usual posting style, but I had to get this off of my chest...

By now most, if not all of our favorite brands can be easily found on Twitter. Engagement with representatives of these brands is just a click away, and this is mostly a good thing. I believe that choosing the right person to represent you on the site-- engaging with customers, sharing stories, answering questions-- really helps to give the brand a personality and can help catapult the brand to new levels of success.

I also believe that there are limits, and within these limits a very FINE line of just how much of the rep's own "personality" should be allowed to show through. Too little and people will lose interest quickly. Too much, and well... read on.

Let me share a personal story:

I follow a certain brand who will remain nameless because my intention of this post is not to slander or influence anyone.... though I'm sure if you follow me on Twitter you can figure out who I mean. I've been vocal about it a few times (hey, I'm not perfect either).

Now I've never been a "fan" of said brand, as it's just not my preference or aesthetic. However my feelings until this point were neutral. I really had no opinion of the brand, and while I may not have actively sought them out I certainly would never turn my nose up.

By following this brand on the site, I've become increasingly annoyed by certain things tweeted by their brand rep. (To be fair, sometimes she is quite personable or informative, which is why I continue to follow.) But most times....in my personal opinion - Completely unprofessional. Sometimes moronic. And I'm not the only one who feels this way, as made clear by the engagement I've had with various followers of mine regarding this. To quote one of them, an extremely successful, high level PR company owner: "If she were mine, she would've been fired already".

It makes me wonder just how close attention the brand actually pays attention to what she is tweeting. Likely  they see the follower numbers and choose not to care. Sad. Anyway, I digress...

The other day while out shopping, I spotted a pretty cute item of clothing and picked it up to get a better look. I was about to add it to the "try" pile when I noticed it was a product of said brand and I literally RECOILED and dropped it. Just because of the brand name. Now I realize that this might be silly, but it was almost an involuntary reaction. It was then that I realized just how much their twitrep had influenced my entire opinion of the brand. She'd left such a bad taste, that I refused to buy an item I liked solely because she represented them, and I wanted nothing to do with supporting "her".

Ridiculous right? So just how much "you" is too much when representing a whole? (or yourself, but that's an entirely different post... yikes).

There are plenty of brands that DO do this correctly. Off the top of my head I can think of the wildly popular OscarPRgirl, who twepresents the Oscar De la Renta brand and engages the appropriate amount IMO.

She balances brand information and inside looks into a day in the life of the brand with her (professionally expressed) personal opinions and some fun twitpics of her personal style. She is well spoken, helpful, knowledgeable, and pretty much a shining example of the type of person that should be tweeting for a brand.

Another is Bergdorf Goodman's account. Their tweeter, while a smidge less informal than Oscar's, not only goes out of her way to research the answers to customer questions in a timely manner, but also engages with bloggers regularly and has become known for her fun tutorials showcasing her own personal style or beauty tips.

Both of these girls manage to shine on twitter without being catty, tweeting confidential business emails for laughs, or giving their minute by minute opinions of popular TV shows. And while the latter also seems to be very popular amongst her followers, it is maybe better suited for an alternate PERSONAL twitter, no?

So.... sound off below: What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Has your opinion of a brand or company changed due to an irresponsible tweeter? And what do you think can be done to regulate this? I'm dying to hear your thoughts...

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