Corporate Social Marketing – separate company from individual

More companies in the B2B space are turning to social tools to get their message out as well as improve their SEO. B2C companies, as usual, are ahead of the curve and have been doing so for a while now. The latest being the Old Spice campaign that has create the much buzz for the company. I am not sure Oracle or Dow Chemical could follow this path, however they can leverage many of the same concepts.

However one element of this has become more apparent as I have seen more firms using Twitter, Flickr, SlideShare, Facebook and a while host of other social media tools to push their message and thought leadership to the masses: how to separate company from individual? What do I mean by this? In the haste to set up your Facebook group or Twitter account some companies have a marketing person or some spokesperson from the company list in the bio. Not a huge issue at first, but as your social media campaign gains momentum it becomes confusing. Is that tweet from the Director of Marketing from Company ABC or is it Company ABC? I realize this might be nit-picky,  however when I read a tweet or a message from a company I expect it to be a representative of the company as a whole. If the person who is tied to the account has something to say I would go to their personal channel. For example – I follow the Forrester twitter which I look for general news from the company as a whole but I also follow specific analysts at Forrester as well as George Colony. Each of these channels, while representing Forrester at some levels, are each individual in their own right. The corporate Twitter is something I expect to learn more about big ideas and some of the latest thinking. The tweets from the analysts are more specific to what their focus is and I expect more opinions and thoughts from those accounts. I expect to be able to communicate with the individuals. The company account I expect any communications to be more formal and “traditional.”

My advice – if you are starting your social media program (which you should be if not already!) then ensure that the accounts that represent your company are clearly defined as so. The descriptions, image and content should be done as the company. If you want to do some communications as well, open your own account and clearly describe where you work and your role. The advantage – if you are the CMO of Company ABC you can leverage your twitter account to engage on a more personable level. Not a bad thing! But do not confuse me with corporate accounts that appear more personal!

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