You’ve heard of “ghost writers”- people who write books or articles but someone else gets the credit. “Ghost tweeters” are paid to act as someone else, with that person’s permission, and to tweet for them. How does that make you feel? To help you decide, here are some pros and cons to “ghost tweeting.”
PRO – Time Management
The CEO of a major company has much more important things to worry about than the company’s Twitter account, but the marketing department knows people will respond more if they think they are hearing from someone at the top of the company, not a marketing assistant at the bottom of the company. The CEO gives its marketing department the okay to act as him or her on Twitter, giving the CEO time to focus on the actual business. Fans and customers interact with the “CEO” on Twitter, and never know that they really aren’t speaking to him or her at all. Even if some people do realize they aren’t hearing from the actual CEO, as long as the content presented is good, some might not care who it is.
PRO – Your Followers Feel a Personal Connection
It’s only natural that people connect with people better than people connect with a business or brand. A ghost tweeter, or multiple ghost tweeters, can act as the personal face of a brand. The tweeter could be the president of the company, a general manager, or simply anyone who seems like a “big deal” in the company. Think about it: say you had a question about a meal at your favorite restaurant. You head to the restaurant’s Twitter page to ask. Would you rather ask your question to the restaurant and a logo, or to the head chef whose photo is smiling back at you? People love to interact with other people, but those people don’t always have the time to do so. Ghost tweeting allows customers to interact with a “person” instead of a logo or brand.
CON – You’re Busted and You Lose Trust
Sometimes, execs don’t advertise that they’re employing ghost tweeters. People who interact with the ghost tweeters have no clue that they aren’t really speaking to the person in the photo. A customer and/or fan might think he or she is forming a relationship with someone really important at the brand. Even Martha Stewart was duped on her show when she looked at her Twitter feed and thought James “Buster” Douglas became her follower. She invited him on her show, though she was unknowingly tweeting with Douglas’ publicist.
What happens when the fan and the real person meet? The real brand exec won’t have a clue about the Twitter conversations the fan might refer to in conversation. After all, it was actually someone else who formed the connection with the customer. Once this is discovered, the fan may feel used and misguided causing a lack of trust. Ghost Tweeters is a Twitter account with 148 followers that goes as far as to call out those celebrities and brands that ghost tweet. Conversely, Ghost Tweetings, with over 8600 followers, boasts, “Twitter Done For You. All of the benefits, none of the work.”
Con – Ghost Tweeters Gone Wild
If you’re the CEO of a company, and you’re giving a ghost tweeter the power to be you, be sure you trust that person. Your ghost tweeter is literally posing as you to all of your customers who follow you on Twitter. An accidental non-politically-correct Tweet could ruin your personal reputation.
Some believe that outsourcing the job of keeping up with the Twitter page for a “brand” is acceptable, but not for a specific person. It will likely continue, especially in the world of entertainment. If your favorite celebrity is tweeting all hours of the day and night, it’s highly unlikely that it’s actually them.
What do you think? Do most Twitter users realize that ghost tweeters exist? How should a celebrity or brand manage its social media accounts?
Editor’s Note: My Web Writers ghost tweets and writes website content for various brands. It’s our observation that most companies employ in-house and outsourced ghost tweeters and content writers and never promise that the CEO or brand hero is doing the interacting. In the cases where the ghost tweeters are working for individuals, it’s important to remember that most celebrities and CEO’s want to reach out, but just don’t have time to write every single one of their blog posts, Facebook posts, or tweets, though, they may contribute here and there. While most social media users understand that representatives might be tweeting and blogging on behalf of brand heroes and celebrities, clarity in the profile is always appreciated. Ghost tweeters serve their brands and celebrities well when Twitter summary reports are provided on a regular basis to account owners to eliminate the in person surprises Natalie mentions and to help CEO’s stay abreast of valuable trends and feedback.