I remember a Halloween party that I went to back in college. Great party, lots of friends, incredible costumes. Then the door opened and someone in a full body gorilla suit walked in. He/she did not speak, only made grunty gorilla noises. No one knew who it was, and the gorilla refused to reveal his/her identity. At first it was funny, but then we all started looking around the room to see which of our friends was missing from the group to try to ID this gorilla, but everyone was accounted for. It left everyone with a creepy uneasy feeling. Who was this person and why wouldn’t they reveal themselves? Was it a serial killer, a thief, a rapist, a crazed psycho? What did this person have to hide? It spooked everyone so much that we collectively threw the gorilla out of the party.
That story came to mind because I’ve been noticing that there are a lot of businesses hiding behind their own corporate gorilla suits on Twitter. Twitter, as most of us know, is a great place to connect with people, get the latest hot topics and find out what’s going on before it even happens. Those in business know or should know that Twitter offers up an amazing opportunity to connect with consumers directly, serving as a pipeline back and forth and building a community around a brand. One thing though that many businesses with a Twitter presence don’t realize is that it’s important to let people know who is behind the corporate tweets.
One of my pet peeves is when a company has a Twitter page and all that is there is the company name and logo, but no humans in sight. The tweets are coming from someone, but for some reason the company feels that it’s best that the person remain anonymous and just tweet as THE COMPANY. Bad move, in my opinion. It comes off as impersonal, and suggests that there is something hiding behind the mask of the brand name, like there’s some mysterious reason why they should be afraid to come out from behind the shadow of the giant logo and reveal themselves.
I always think in social media that if community and relationships are going to be built, then you need to show your face, if not literally, at least figuratively. People don’t want to connect to a company, they want to connect to a real person at the company who has some level of power to listen to what they say and to take action or at least interact. There’s an accountability issue that starts to rear its head. If someone from the company takes ownership of the Twitter interactions, then they might be put on the spot at some point and have to face what consumers have to say. It’s a lot easier to be anonymous than to show your face. I like to know who I’m talking to.
Another thing that a lot of companies don’t seem to get about Twitter is that no one wants to only read tweets or look at links to the company’s website or pictures of their products. Sure promote yourself now and then, but Twitter isn’t primarily an advertising venue, it’s a social media venue. Have a conversation. Interact. Promote here and there, but get to know your consumers. Give them a reason to follow you besides listening to you tweet on and on about your brand name and how great your products or services are. Let them know who you are and that actual humans who are not afraid to show their human faces are on Twitter ready and waiting to connect, listen and chat, and if need be, face the music if something negative comes up. If you are wearing a corporate gorilla suit, it’s time to take it off and show us who you really are.
Image courtesy of www.gorillasuits.com