Twitter: Just Because it’s Forever Doesn't Mean it’s Your BFF

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Every day, companies walk a fine line with Twitter — a tweet can be your best friend or your worst enemy. A carefully crafted plan can mean the difference between a well received message or a reputational disaster. And let’s be abundantly clear, once a tweet is out there, it’s there for history. Yet, every day we see examples of leaders across every industry using Twitter as an instant gratification tool versus a long-term strategic communications channel.  

Impulsive communication has its consequences. Just ask Elon Musk. His recent Twitter activity misled investors with false public statements and cost him $20 million in SEC fines and his Chairman role at Tesla — reputational damage done from just one tweet

With a little common sense and some relationship boundaries on how to communicate with your global audience, Twitter can be your friend. And what an influential friend it could be with roughly 335 million active monthly users in the second quarter of this year, according to the The Washington Post. Sheer numbers alone should make any leader think twice and think strategically about sending a tweet.   

How do you enable leaders to exercise transparency and authenticity on Twitter while preserving their company’s reputation? 

We’ve provided some refresher guidelines for leaders to develop and enhance their "tweet temptations”:

  • Always lead with a common sense approach - This may be obvious to most, however, using common sense means planning and thinking ahead about all of the ways your audience could react to your tweet. Unless you’re in a business where news is expected instantaneously, it may be best to build in/establish time buffers on tweets. A pause can help derail many impulsive behaviors.

  • Treat Twitter as a strategy aligned with your crisis communications plan - Play out real and unimaginable scenarios that could happen from a customer, leader or employee. Categorize topics and assign responsibilities for who will take the lead in responding. Think agnostically when crafting a message or delivering a response and ensure it’s aligned with your company’s values.

  • Implement a system of checks and balances - Elon Musk now has a dedicated communications team specifically managing and monitoring his tweets. Ensure your company has a robust review process that is efficient and effective for delivering real-time communications. Build in scenarios to test and retest the review process to avoid public mistakes that could have been prevented.

  • Know your audience - Understand what your audience wants to hear with topics that are relevant and memorable to them. Competitor name calling for example doesn't necessarily move your message forward with your audience, unless you’re Wendy’s. Consistently monitor what messages and responses have resonated with your audience.

  • Acknowledge and learn from mistakes - Take every mistake as a learning experience to train and retrain your leaders on how to use Twitter. Company social media policies should be reviewed and refreshed frequently to stay current with successes and failures as well as keep abreast of trends and sentiment in the broader landscape. Don’t wait for a mistake to update your policy.

A strong support system and the right people will encourage responsible and impactful practices on Twitter and other social media channels. Leaders can set the right tone for the entire organization and turn their friendship with Twitter into a long term sustainable partnership.

Need help creating or enhancing your social media strategy?  ModKaf builds customized communication roadmaps to make sure your voice reaches your audiences to deliver results.  Contact us and let us help you talk to your world.