One of the things people love most about Twitter is its informality. Post a question to say one of Australia’s most affluent companies that have a presence on Twitter, and the response back may be more akin to that you’d expect when chatting to friends over dinner.
Some small businesses may take this a little too far and post strong, personal opinions, which may actually offend the very clients they are trying to attract. This is quite relevant to accommodation providers who are inviting travellers to stay on their property.
One example is the wonderful lady who runs a bed and breakfast which we advertise for her on the Travel Victoria website (we won’t identify her personally!). She’s quite a social media butterfly, however her political preferences are strongly conveyed in comments she makes using her business’s official Twitter account. As it so happens, the political leader she trumpets is currently “on the nose” with voters in recent surveys, so chances are more people will disagree rather than agree with what she’s posting. And for those people who live and breathe politics, staying at an establishment where the outspoken manager is clearly coming at you from the other side of party lines may actually be off-putting!
The best practice here is to have two Twitter accounts – one for business, and one for you personally. If the Gillard government’s carbon tax is the bane of your existence and you need to get that off your chest, then do so using your personal Twitter account. Use your business’s Twitter account for responding to queries, making announcements and commenting on the weather. That way, you won’t offend anyone or harm your business.
All staff here at Travel Victoria that have access to our business Twitter account are advised that if they wish to indulge in general social commentary or get on their soapbox to the world, then they must do so using their own personal Twitter account. Maybe your organisation should adopt a similar policy.