The Corporate Twitter Account Spectrum

Sunday, 6 October 2013 § 0

As marketing students, we know twitter as a medium for brands to connect with consumers and build communities, but as a twitter user, I know it as a Pokemon binder of entertainers making social commentary, having ridiculous insights, and complaining about internal struggles. In flipping through my twitter binder of 570 accounts, I noticed that the corporations I follow fall along a scale from “Meh” to “Doritos Ontario…” I should explain.

The majority of corporate Twitter accounts I’ve come across are just that – corporate. Unless you’re a passionate brand advocate, it can get tiring following a corporate twitter account because their tweets feel more like advertisements than entertainment. As Brian Solis put it, social media is merely a tool. It is a platform to foster meaningful conversation between firms and consumers. In an AYTM survey, 63% of respondents followed corporate accounts and 26% of them preferred accounts with personality. So why are there still corporate twitter accounts out there that still fall under the “Meh” category?

A couple months ago it was revealed (to nobody’s surprise, really) that the region-specific @DoritosOntario twitter account was a fake. The account poked fun at hokey corporate accounts that lacked personality by aggressively promoting Doritos (in Ontario) to its 2682 followers, but that’s not all! The account (now inactive) was self-deprecating, questioned its mortality, occasionally referenced rap lyrics, and gave the best/worst advice to its followers.

And my personal favourite:

I know, the account was a parody and there is no way a real corporate account could pull this off, but the point is that Doritos Ontario had a personality. It engaged with its “consumers” in a humanistic way. Doritos Ontario put out content you wanted on your Twitter stream, not just static sales pitches. Firms that use a structured and traditional approach to social media will not develop meaningful conversations because their relationships with their followers will feel shallow and inauthentic.
And by the way, there are corporate accounts out there that are approaching the “Doritos Ontario” end of the spectrum:

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