How to FAIL a Corporate Twitter Account in One Step

February 26th, 2010 |


Jeff Louis is a strategic media planner, brand project manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. He's intrigued by innovation overcoming adversity, survival of the fittest brand, history, reading, and similar fun stuff. He writes for sites and is the Public Relations and Advertising writer for the Chicago Examiner.

Out of the myriad of social media choices, the most simple and intuitive choice would have to be  Twitter. While I admit that figuring it out at the beginning was puzzling for about five minutes, there weren’t problems setting up my account or figuring out how to use the service. Minutes after I joined, I sent my first tweet and waited. Nothing. However, over time, my following started to grow. Then I learned out how to figure out which accounts were spamming me with porn links and others that were bots. That same night I learned out how to change the background, use the privacy settings, and interact with FriendFeed and Facebook. Simple.

I’m no genius, so I tend to assume that when a company begins to engage in social media, they probably have some idea of what they’re doing.

Wrong! On nearly a weekly basis, news of company’s botched foray into social media is posted on sites and blogs in cyberspace. I have to wonder if anyone reads the thousands of blogs written by the thousands of knowledgeable people on how to begin a social media account. It isn’t, after all, rocket science.

Companies begin social media engagement for a variety of reasons – they’re told to by a boss, it’s imperative for their business (ad agencies take note), or they’ve realized that there are several new marketing channels available for their products. It’s also possible that they dive in because they read, or heard, that it was important.

Thus, with little-to-no research or thought, off they go, creating Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and blogs until it’s so confusing that it’s easier to just scrap everything and start over than to fix the damage that’s been done. Then, there are those well-meaning companies that are just too damn cautious, waiting by the side of the pool until they’re sure it’s safe. Slowly building their courage by watching others, they leap head-first into shallow water…

This is exactly what befell Denny’s. The restaurant, known for their all-day breakfast and 24-hour operation, added their social media “cool” right onto their menus in every Denny’s located in the United States. Denny’s, now hip social media hep-cats, asked their customers to join the conversation, inviting them to follow @Dennys. Unfortunately, the link didn’t lead to Denny’s the restaurant, but to Dennys, a dude located in Taiwan.

Unfortunately, the Dennys in Taiwan is not open 24-hours (I don’t think…), and he doesn’t serve any food.

Not only was this accident a huge waste of money (menus in every restaurant!), but a marketing blunder that portrays Denny’s not as a cool social media company, but as one that seems to know nothing about social media whatsoever.

The lesson? Before advertising your Twitter account (or any account), make sure that:

  1. It’s registered to you or your company
  2. You’ve tested it, and it works

If there’s any doubt as to your account’s availability, use a web service such as KnowEm to find out. If you believe that someone is squatting on your brand name and is doing it for some sort of monetary gain, notify Twitter and they’ll toss Dennys right out of Denny’s

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Jeff Louis
  • Raymond

    Good article Jeff. It would be great to see more info on how to successfully set up and use a twitter account with a business mentality. Like how to communicate and build a following without appearing like an advertisement outright.

    Are there things that we should be careful to avoid?

    Twitter's power is becoming very vital to any company and I think we need to know how to use it as a tool that is more than posting what we are eating or to tell the world that we're bored…

  • search engine optimization

    I have an account with twitter but not only use it when i have something good to share. Though some clients heard about how many people are into it and so they also want to have an account there and use it as a way of sharing their website. But, i really want to know how to use Twitter the right way that will not show like you are spamming your followers/following twitters. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Digital Marketing

    Yes, if you don't have something valuable to share, then you should not be posting about it IMO. It's a great marketing channel, but you have to provide value with it.

  • Digital Marketing

    Yes, if you don't have something valuable to share, then you should not be posting about it IMO. It's a great marketing channel, but you have to provide value with it.

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  • Раскрутка сайта

    Social media is a future. Thanks for article.