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President Obama and Mitt Romney’s Twitter accounts have a great deal of fake followers. The President’s account of 19 million followers has about 13 million fake followers. Romney’s account of under 900,000 followers has about 135,000 fake accounts according to Mashable. Their numbers are still large and the reach is even larger depending on retweets from the real followers. Just as long as the fake accounts aren’t casting votes, I don’t foresee the fake accounts having a huge impact on the election.
And now the Digital Influence Weekly…
Who can you trust? Trust is an important issue when it comes to creating a brand or presence online. Will your team represent your brand professionally? Will the public stand behind you in your moment of need? Will your partners respect your online branding goals and help you rather than hurt you?
Prince Harry’s recent private photos issue is a good example of knowing who not to trust. People who he may have thought he could trust took private photos of him and released or sold them for public display. In this same manner, when you put someone in charge of your social media program, you need to be able to trust their judgment not just for your company, but for the company they keep. Some social media managers are aware of this issue. They maintain privacy controls so that status updates, check-ins and photos in which they are tagged cannot be easily seen by the public. If you’re a social media manager and find yourself in unflattering pictures for example, it’s also ok to approach the person who posted the picture and ask them to remove it.
Online identities can also be created by the public. Can you trust the public to understand what your brand or objectives are and represent them to the public? Recently, Sweden had an initiative where they allowed citizens to use the national Twitter account, thereby adding the voices of Sweden to the account. It turned out terribly when a user posted racist comments to the national account. The state of Vermont is trying the same thing, however they are vetting the citizens they approach more thoroughly than Sweden had. They are taking steps to ensure that the citizens create a true and trusted image of Vermont.
And finally, you have to trust your social media managers. Just because they have a technical understanding of social media, doesn’t mean they have the maturity to use it. There’s the classic example of a firm’s account executive tweeting “…I would die if I had to live here,” upon arriving at the city their client was headquarted in. There’s the time when someone posted their drunken activities to the company’s account instead of their own. And, this keeps happening - using an historical event in which people are dying to relate it to product sales. Sit down with your social media manager and have a frank discussion to address your concerns and expectations. This may save you from crises later on.
Keep these items in mind when creating your social media department or program and yours should be a trustworthy experience.