Credibility or simply a fashion statement?

British ministers get Twitter guide

That’s the heading of a recent article in The Australian newspaper, link 
http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,25851720-15306,00.html

Apart from the endorsement and implied credibility for what is obviously becoming one of the most important broadcast social media channels of the day, there are a number of really interesting points here… but wait. Didn’t I just say “broadcast” social media? Isn’t that a contradiction and a pseudo blasphemous statement to use about any web related media tool? Possibly, but not for me and not for this discussion… 

What I find interesting in this article is stuff like this;

 “The 20-page document, produced by Neil Williams, BIS’s head of corporate digital channels, says that departments can use Twitter to communicate better with the public and it recommends that tweets should be “human and credible”.  

 The human and credible aspect is critical in effective communication in the social media space and our clients will recognise this from our briefing and training documents. In simple terms, don’t post something in writing that you wouldn’t say to to someone verbally. Avoid ‘corporate” speak (or bureaucratic speak I guess they’re saying) and just talk to people.    

The other interesting quote is;

“Though the account will be anonymous, it is helpful to define a hypothetical ‘voice’ so that tweets from multiple sources are presented in a consistent tone,” the guide says. “The tone of our Twitter channel must therefore be in informal spoken English and written for the channel.”

Apart from supporting the first point, it also mentions the “hypothetical voice” which should also resonate with our clients. The key is that the voice needs to be representative of the company, brand or organisation and effectively becomes the voice of the brand etc. That is both good and bad news as many learn at some cost to sales or brand value. I think the web and PR industry also refer to this as the “tone” of the text or message and that consistency of tone is critical in a good web site however getting the right tone in the first place is even more important.

And before the more left-leaning amongst us start reaching for their conspiracy guides and keyboards, the upside of a company “tone” strategy in our view, is ultimately better service and accessibility for the customer…. dare we say, more human?