*This content was previously published on Social Conversations in December 2009. Social conversations was a product of Serengeti Communications which closed in 2012.
First a Little About the “Ethics” of Ghost Tweeting….
While at Search Engine Strategies Chicago I was interviewed by Web Pro News about the panel that I spoke on about Social Media and the ethics of “ghost tweeting”. A lot of people had a lot to say about Guy Kawasaki and his use of Twitter back in March when he was the keynote speaker at SES NYC, most of it was not good in the eyes of the search marketing experts speaking about his keynote. Granted, some of his tactics could definitely be classified as spammy, but at the end of the day, Guy Kawasaki is a marketer.
That being said, was his “Ghost Tweeting” ethical? I’m more of the opinion it’s not a question of ethics, its more of a question of disclosure and expectations. Knowing how busy Guy Kawasaki really is, most people likely wouldn’t have expected him to not be running his Twitter account by himself. He’s got staff, he’s got help. The problem with the situation was that he wasn’t disclosing it until Dave Fleet called him out on that fact. Was his audience in an uproar about it? Yes, some were, some stopped following, but since the disclosure, he’s gained more followers.
At the end of the day, its about the relationship you want to make with your audience. Are you forming personal relationships with your audience, do they expect that from you? Or are you just disseminating information like Guy does with his account? There’s no real interaction going on, so the expectations are much lower. So what’s ethical, what’s not? You’re audience is actually the one that will decide. If you are trying to “trick” them by employing other people to tweet for you in a personal way, it will show through eventually.
And Then About Measuring Your Social Media….
Abby then went on to ask me about Measuring Your Social Media Strategy because Serengeti Communications put on a session about doing just that at SES Chicago. Measuring has to be a key fundamental part of any Social Media Strategy you implement. Without measuring how do you know what’s successful and what isn’t working? What are you wasting your time on or what should you dedicate more resources too? Along with that is your agency – SEO, PPC, PR or Advertising – selling you a laundry list of social media tactics because they know how to set up those types of things or is it because there’s been significant research done and you are going to be actively engaging with people in those social media channels?
It’s certainly not easy, and there’s no cookie cutter approach!