Social Media Mistake: Up Close and (Not Very) Personal

Ann All

I just wrapped a story on corporate blogging and the role it plays in broader social media strategies. Intel, Dell, Lenovo and SAP were among the companies that generously shared insights for the story, which should appear on the site soon. (And if there's one thing they all stressed, it's that social media is all about the sharing.)


Another thing they and other experts I spoke with emphasized: Social media is about making personal connections. So it's best to employ a human voice, photo and personality rather than simply feeding headlines, press releases or similar content into blogs, social networks like Facebook or Twitter.


Said Paul Chaney, president of the International Blogging and New Media Association and author of the blog Conversational Media Marketing:


People want to do business with people, not with companies or brands.


Bob Pearson, president of the Blog Council and former vice president of Communities and Conversations at Dell, expressed a similar thought:


Lot of companies do RSS feeds to Twitter accounts and then don't have a personality. We all like the human touch about Twitter. People want to know who is talking to them. They probably won't pay as much attention to companies that just pump in all their content. Same thing with Facebook, where companies simply take their Web site content and put it into a Facebook page and try to attract fans. Why would people care?


D'oh. Take a gander at IT Business Edge's profile page on Twitter. Here's our Facebook profile page. That's our logo, and those are our glorified RSS feeds showing new blog posts.


I think the content is of interest to most if not all of our fans and followers. But personal? No. Personal is a little challenging in these instances, since we feature content from multiple bloggers and not just one. The company wants to promote our overall brand vs. spotlighting any of us individually.


What do you think? Maybe we should rotate and take turns adding some pithy comments or other more personal touches in these places? Or should those of us with our own Facebook and Twitter profiles focus on getting personal there? (Gulp. I have yet to import a photo into Twitter.)

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 30, 2009 12:58 PM dennis stevenson dennis stevenson  says:


Great point!  I checked out the twitter  page and it is little more than RSS content.  There is no way I would follow that because i've already subscribed to your RSS stream (and I am presently unfollowing blog-only twitter accounts).  But then 1300 people seem to find that valuable.

I guess we all have to make a choice... Use twitter as a broadcast channel or as a networking tool.  Both seem to have their place, but are ultimately going to be polarizing at  the audience level.

Another great example of "you'll get what you ask for".


Apr 30, 2009 1:23 PM Regina Regina  says: in response to dennis stevenson

How can you tell if Twitter posts are using only RSS content?

Apr 30, 2009 3:52 PM Iggy Pintado Iggy Pintado  says: in response to Regina

A great article which I've just RT (re-tweeted).

I've just written a book called Connection Generation which reviews the points you make about sharing and personalisation. The other factor is listening. RSS feeds are listening devices for what's being said about your company or brand. A lot of the value is in listening to what customers, prospects and stakeholders are saying so you can monitor your brand.

Book is on Amazon now: www.connectiongeneration.com

May 1, 2009 10:57 AM sherry heyl sherry heyl  says:

I think more and more social media is about personalizing what content people want to receive and how they want to receive it - which means RSS feeds into other channels is very important.

On Twitter I do not follow anyone who does not have some type of photo  - it could be a logo - but there has to be a photo for me to know that there is some care being taken to the account.

Giving the community an opportunity to respond to the content and also being available by listening and responding to the community is important.

But we do not have to turn the whole web into only conversations. Personalization/customization as well as conversations = social media.

May 1, 2009 2:55 PM Mike Cooper Mike Cooper  says:

Certainly some interesting conversations will arise out of this, and really looking forward to reading your full piece on corporate blogging soon - I've written a little response piece over at our blog highlighting what you've talked about and your interesting chats with Paul Chaney and Bob Pearson. Great post btw. -http://www.republicpublishing.co.uk/2009/05/01/corporate-blogging-and-social-media-is-it-about-people-or-brands/


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