1. By putting the name of the messenger, it ties up the employer a bit don’t you think? What if they change community managers often for some reason?
    I am all for personalizing messages, tweets… having discussions, etc. But I think it depends on the company and their values.

  2. I’ve got a web design firm that I’ve started and have found myself making more updates via the brand than my personal account, even updates that seem irrelevant tot he business. They’re not just reinforcing my product but engaging people I follow and that follow me. But, I don’t find myself following brands either on my personal twitter.
    Mainly because most brands do twitter wrong and use it solely as an advertising platform and not as a way to communicate to people. They use to to communicate -at- people. Maybe if most brands took a different approach to their purpose for being on twitter, it’d be more suitable to follow them.

  3. I’m a huge proponent of this — so much so, that we don’t allow users on our network to post company avatars for their profile images. I find it highly impersonal. It is hard to relate to brands unless you’re an uber-fanboy — most people just have a hard time with it. On the other hand, it is quite easy to personalize Joe from Ford or Mike from Disney.
    I do have some twitter friends who use their company logo to connect, and while I find it impersonal, I know them enough that I’m ok with it. On the other hand, when some person I don’t know tries to interact and all I see is a logo, I typically put up a wall.
    Great post!

  4. I am the Social Media specialist at Freytag’s and I am a real person. I try to voice that in most, if not all of our companies tweets, fb posts, blogs, etc. As a local, family owned business I speak for a family, a culture, a company, a city and an industry. I try to embody all of this in 140 characters tied to a name and an itty bitty picture and sometimes struggle with balancing my voice with a proffesionalism that represents our company. Short of putting my name as the account it is me behind the curtain. I believe the way I interact is personal and of service sometimes to customers and non customers alike. I like to think I am building relationships with other businessses and individuals on line. Wether they use our services or not I am happy to interact, respond, give comfort, crack jokes, share media, stories and experience with folks who might not ever discover this wonderful company. I am a proud person behind a wonderful brand and not ashamed to tell you my name! I just don’t want you thinking of Danielle when you want to order flowers because you won’t find me…
    I’m hoping this opens you up a little to what some companies are trying to do which is expose you to our people, values and personalities through the online communities available to us.

  5. I am still torn on this one Mitch. Your points are all valid and if I could manage two separate twitter accounts I would, but I am just too dumb and lazy to do that.
    I know Chris Brogan completely agrees with you and two years ago we had this conversation at another event. As a result I changed my twitter avatar (my handle is @blogworld) from just our company logo to a photo of me kind of floating in an acid flashback way over our company logo 8).
    I do think that was an improvement and lets people know who choose to follow me that the tweets are really from me, but also to expect tweets about our brand / events.
    My twitter bio has always said: “Tweets from BlogWorld & New Media Expo, and its founder Rick Calvert”
    I think that is a pretty accurate description of what I tweet about. I can post photos of hikes with my dogs, or some update about the show.
    I realize the nature of our business makes me a bit of an exception but that’s a larger point. Every business is unique in its own way so applying the same rule to every brand doesn’t fit.
    Each of us needs to analyze why we are setting up a twitter account in the first place, what are our goals, what are we trying to achieve? Do we want to humanize our brand? Do you want to provide better customer service? Do we want to build our personal brand? Who are our customers? Are they sophisticated social users like you? or are they much more casual in their social media use and understanding of social tools?
    When you have tens of thousands of employees like Ford for example does everyone at the company need a twitter handle or should every employee’s handle have their real name?
    There are millions of other reasons to set up a twitter account / handle and every brand has their own unique audience.
    Btw your post brings up another point, should we all have accounts with our real name regardless of our job / brand goals?

  6. I’m WITH you Mitch, 100%. Isn’t SOCIAL media about being SOCIAL. I don’t socialize with brands.
    Yes, I follow my beloved Starbucks, but I can’t think of another Brand I follow.
    Look at Scott Monty if you want to know how it’s done… and yes, Ford is at his mercy, but if Social Media is about PEOPLE, and your company understands that… they’ll know why people have to do their social media.

  7. Mitch:
    I completely agree. This goes hand in hand with the ubiquity of the statement, ” Like us on Facebook!” Everywhere you look – billboards, signs, websites, print ads, tv ads, everywhere, companies are telling us to like them on Facebook, but only a handful actually go to the important next step of telling us why we should.
    I think one reason that they don’t personalize their efforts is that a) they don’t want to tie their efforts to an employee that may leave or b) no employees want their personal brand tied to the company. It takes a special company to inspire people wihtin the organization to be so tied to the company that they become that company in social media.
    I don’t know what the solution is, but it certainly isn’t working the way it is right now.

  8. Stop the presses. We agree.
    I am quite passionate about this idea and try to teach about this concept in my lectures and classes. Social media allows us to humanize our organizations and it just a bit difficult to creatwe an emotional attachment to a logo. Or a picture of a building. Or a delivery truck!
    Thanks for the great post Mitch!

  9. “The value for me, personally, comes from the real interactions between real human beings that takes place.”
    Okay, that’s a good principle. Somehow it disturbs me, though, that it’s now nearly 36 hours after the first comment, and the writer hasn’t found it “valuable” to “interact” with any of the “real people” voicing their opinions here.

  10. Hey, nice to see you here! No, not reply to every comment, but show up in discussions so commenters don’t have to just talk to each other. Oh… but you just did that! Thanks.

  11. I completely agree and so my question is how do you get your Csuite to see this point?
    I have tried to get this changed but they have said for brand integrity they did not want to use my name or picture.

  12. Interesting idea, but wrong! The key must be to prove that there is a real person behind the brand. Twitter represents a low cost vehicle that can really help small businesses a chance to compete with big brands. To say that such small businesses should not use their business names in identifying themselves is to neutralise one of the really great examples of the power of Twitter.

  13. WITH you Mitch,. Isn’t SOCIAL media.
    Yes, I follow my beloved Starbucks, but I can’t think of another Brand I follow.

Comments are closed.