Neil Midgley, The Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor (media) really hit the nail on the head for me at PR Week’s PR and the Media conference this week regarding the different functionalities of various social networking platforms.
Midgley urged public relations professionals to recognise the more personal nature of Facebook:
‘It’s my network. I won’t post details of my sex life on it, but I can post status updates on there that I wouldn’t post on Twitter. Don’t talk to me about work on it,’ he said and encourage PROs to use ‘magic’ Twitter instead, which was ‘both a professional tool and a personal pastime’ (source PR Week).
I had to restrain myself from jumping out of my seat and applauding noisily (perhaps getting too excited on a Friday afternoon). What many PROs, and indeed businesses who are delving into social media marketing, forget is that the very nature of social networking (emphasis on the networking) does not begin and end on a business level. Facebook and Twitter are also used for and exist on the basis of personal interaction and if you don’t tread carefully you can run the risk corporate trespassing on personal ground..
That is not to say that there is not a use for corporate interaction on Facebook, but this must be broached delicately, appropriately and after much research – users may like to sign up to your brands ‘fan-page’ to signpost their love of your company/product/scheme but journalists are unlikely to welcome your approach in the form of a ‘friend’ request in their inbox…You have been warned…