Company accounts are the death of Twitter

open-all-hoursDo you remember back in the olden days, when our high streets were packed to the rafters with independent shops, butchers, bakers, greengrocers …. when everybody knew your name and had a smile and joke. The big supermarkets, out of town shopping centres and coffee chains moved in and took it all away with their self-service checkouts?

OK, so I might be idealizing a little but you get my drift.

In my training workshops, I often use Open All Hours as a great example of how social media should work. Far from being a new fangled ‘modern’ thing, we have all been doing it for years – it’s called having conversations with your customers.

I’ll repeat, just so we’re clear. It’s called having CONVERSATIONS with your customers.

This is what Twitter does best, but so many companies are missing the point.  It is in danger of making Twitter (or just your feed) an incredibly dull place to hang out and causes people to turn off in their droves.

My Twitter streams are littered with Company feeds that send out tweet after tweet with links to their website, and lists of their services.  These company accounts never take the time to read what others are doing, comment, or engage.  It’s the equivalent of standing at a networking event and thrusting a leaflet into every passer by’s hands.   Many of them aren’t even there, having scheduled their posts and fled.

They never talk to anyone. Nameless, faceless, self-service checkouts.

Many complain they they “do social media but it doesn’t work”

Usually, it’s because they have adopted the following strategy

  1. Decide the business needs some Company social media activity
  2. Find someone in the office to sort this out
  3. Sit back and wait for the phone to ring.

Whoever that person is might be very bright, very sparky and really very good at their job. However, you need to ask yourself whether you have given them this role because a) you have faith in their ability to represent your company aims and values professionally or b) they know how the internet works. If it’s both – BINGO. However if it’s just b), you might need to think again.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”George Bernard Shaw

Social Media isn’t just another thing to tick off the list.  The aim is to engage, to make new connections and to build relationships.  So here are my 5 tips to make things better for you and your followers

  • Listen.  Follow people who interest you, read what they have to say.  Don’t just concentrate on yourself.
  • Talk to people.  Reply to people. Post on other businesses Facebook pages (as your business), complement others and get involved in discussions.
  • Schedule away.  There are many advantages to planning your activity in advance, but it shouldn’t be all that you do.  Get the bare bones scheduled, then dip and and out to read what others are doing.
  • Don’t be a work bore.  Just as in real life, you don’t just talk about work.  How many clients have you found because you both share an interest, rather than strictly business.  Same here.
  • Be yourself.  No-one wants a stand up comedian but they do want to see your personality come through, to see the kind of business you really are.

Remember, behind social media you are an actual person, not just a logo.


I run one-to-one training, and onsite workshops, to provide you with the right tools for you and your staff.  Get in touch to find out more.