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Use caution before committing to Twitter

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of

Acerbic New York blogger BL Ochman has compiled a list of reasons why organizations should think carefully before plunging into the use of Twitter for marketing and communication activities.

“Mainstream media is in an orgiastic frenzy of coverage about Twitter. Everyone's Tweeting, from celebrities to CEOs according to CNN, The View, Today, the NY Times, the Wall St Journal and just about everyone else. Each of them covers Twitter like it's an overnight phenomenon that came out of nowhere, although Twitter has been gaining traction for three years and now has 20 million users.”


“Should your company be on Twitter? Not necessarily. Top 10 reasons not to join Twitter:

  1. Every Tweet has to be approved by the legal department. Twitter is a social network where conversation is fast and interconnected. If you have to wait a day, or even a few hours for your 140-character Tweet to gain legal approval, Twitter will be the wrong platform for you.

  2. You plan to use Twitter like a giant RSS feed, broadcasting nothing but headlines and deals. People follow people they find interesting. If all your Tweets are a one-way street: Block!

  3. You think using Twitter is a social media strategy. It's a tactic, a tool, not a strategy. It works if you already have an online following who'll view your Tweets as a way to interact with your company on a human level.

  4. You think it's a good idea to have someone tweet as if they are the president of the company. Authentic and transparent are the keys. It's fine if someone besides the CEO tweets for your company, as long as they say that's what they're doing

  5. You are not going to respond when people direct tweets at you. Twitter is like the new water cooler. If you walked out to the water cooler and talked non-stop to people gathered there, they'd certainly be happy when you left. Ditto for Twitter.

  6. You think paying for followers might be a good idea. Followers are earned on Twitter. Be interesting, make only every 10th Tweet about you and you'll gain and keep a following.

  7. You think all that matters on Twitter is getting a lot of people to follow you. Quality trumps quantity.

  8. You want to protect your updates. If people have to ask permission to see what you're posting on Twitter, you're defeating the purpose - which is conversation.

  9. You plan to track Twitter with Google Analytics. Google Analytics won't give you true tracking. You need to track the urls you post with a service like budurl or and use one or more social media tracking tools so you can get real-time stats on Twitter

  10. You think you can market to people with whom you have no relationship. Listen first. Monitor what's being said about your brand, your organization and your products. Then join the conversation and become part of the community. Then your occasional marketing messages will be accepted, or at least tolerated, because you also add value to the community.”


About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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