This post was inspired by a question that appeared on one of my email lists this morning. I have retained the content of the conversation but the names have been removed to protect the innocent.
Innocent #1: does anyone know where to buy pre-written tweets organized around specific topics? For example, say I want to buy 100 tweets about beer, or autos, or whatever, that I can download and then schedule through <insert twitter client here>. Thanks.
Me: Why would you want to do that? It defeats the whole purpose of social media which is to be social and hold a conversation. As a social media consultant, I can tell you that anyone who would sell you that type of list or service is a snake oil salesman.
Innocent #1: Gloria, you’re right, social media is about holding a conversation. I’m looking for something to get the conversation started. Simple tweets that are relevant to my business and that my followers would find interesting.
Me: If your purpose is to get the conversation started about your business, then those tweets need to come from you and your business, not some generic service. People respond to people. People do business with people they like and trust. You need to be the one developing your company’s social media voice, not someone who knows nothing about you or your business. If you need assistance with that, it is fine to hire someone to help you find that voice and figure out how to use the tools, but not for someone to be that voice for you.
I’m sorry if I sound like i am preaching or on a soap box, but it is a subject that myself and most of the leaders in the social media community are very passionate about. There are people who are using the medium solely as a way to make money without keeping the spirit of the medium and the best interests of their clients at heart.
Innocent #2: God forbid someone actually make money on “_______” list.
Me: Not my point at all. I am all for all of us making money, but there is an ethical way to do it. That way means providing a good product or service, being honest and keeping our clients or customers best interests at the forefront of our minds. When you misrepresent yourself or your company, which is what “ghost tweeting” or “ghost blogging” does, then you are not being honest with your clients, customers or audience.
So my question to you is Who is your voice? Am I wrong to feel that the voice should come from the person or persons who know the business the best? What are your thoughts on buying a list of pre-written tweets?
I think it all depends on how it’s done. I have clients that need help getting started and managing their social media. If they hire a consultant to learn about their company and help them tweet or update their social networks authentically I don’t see a problem with that. If they’re buying “conversation starters” and using a service to schedule those tweets that’s probably not the best way to kick off the conversation – especially if there is no one there to reply when people start to respond.