Yesterday, I tweeted that I’d rather someone not have a Twitter handle than have someone else tweet generic stuff for them.
Suffice it to say, the reaction was interesting. I got responses that ranged from “a good [social media] specialist can tweet like the person without making it seem generic,” to, more amusingly, “Wouldn’t that put a lot of social media specialists out of a job?”
I replied that yes, good social media specialists may be able to do a decent job of ghost tweeting. But more often than not, they just tweet headlines and links, and maybe an occasional “thanks,” and that makes the real person look bad, like he/she doesn’t care. Ideally, people would just tweet for themselves. After all, it’s really not that hard.
And I meant that. People should be tweeting for themselves. This “ghost tweeting” stuff is for the birds. (Pun intended.)
Social media, more than anything else, is about authenticity. It’s about people communicating with and getting to know other people. So, given that, why would you want someone else pretending to be you?
It’s hard to fake “real” on social media. Even if you have the best social media specialist in the world, you’re not sharing your actual thoughts, and you’re putting up a virtual wall between you and your followers.
That’s why it doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a company or the CMO, an actor or an athlete … If you’re not going to tweet for yourself, then you probably shouldn’t even bother being on Twitter. What’s the point? People can tell it’s not you — especially if everything is written in the third-person and there’s no evidence of a personality — and they don’t really care if your handle just posts generic stuff out of obligation.
Consider Jay-Z, who has a (mostly dormant) Twitter account, hardly ever uses it, but decided to tweet for himself on Monday. The man had a new album out, and he didn’t use some stooge to populate followers’ timelines with promotional tweets in the weeks leading up to the album’s release like some other singers do. He tweeted what he wanted to say, in the way he wanted to say it, and it was awesome. Tweets don’t get much more authentic and genuine than his were.
So why are you using a ghost tweeter? Here are five of the most common excuses I’ve heard, and my reply to them:
1. I’m not savvy enough to use Twitter.
Do you know how to talk with other people? Then you know how to use Twitter.
2. I don’t know what to tweet.
Do you read articles online? Well, when you read a great one, just click the Tweet button. Nearly every blog and media site has one. (But see #5 below.) Do you have opinions? Tell us about the great or awful movies you see, the meals you eat, or even the weekend you had. Ask for your followers’ opinions too. Is your favorite team heading to the championship? Root them on. Did something bad happen in your city or town, or somewhere else in the world? Show your support for the victims with a message of encouragement. Be a part of the Twitter community. When you see something, or feel something, you should share it.
3. I don’t have time to tweet.
You don’t need to be on Twitter 24/7, and you don’t need to tweet 100 times every day either. If you use the Twitter app on your phone, not only will it separate out when someone mentions you in a tweet, you’ll get notified when someone tweets @ you or retweets you, so you can follow-up and reply. Other apps and desktop tools like HootSuite do similar things, separating out your @ mentions so you don’t miss them later. HootSuite even lets you pre-schedule tweets, so you can be “present” and tweet while you focus on other things.
4. I’m just not comfortable on Twitter.
Do you think I was comfortable when I first started using Twitter? I didn’t understand it, didn’t think anyone would care what I had to say, and had no idea what to tweet. But I kept at it, and little by little I got more comfortable. Today I have more than 2,200 followers, and I’ve gained a ton from using Twitter all by myself.
5. All I need is someone to tweet headlines.
Really? Which one of these tweets would make you more likely to click through and read: “17 Great Content Ideas” or “I love these 17 great content ideas, especially number 8.” One is generic, one is more personable and real. A ghost tweeter won’t necessarily be comfortable sharing an opinion (or making one up), but an actual person can do it more naturally.
The bottom line
What’s funny is that a lot of the people who hire ghost tweeters do it because they feel an obligation to be on Twitter, and they take it seriously when you question their need for a ghost tweeter. If they take Twitter that seriously, then they should be on Twitter. Seriously.
These days, people want to work with, buy from, and hire people they know, like, and trust. If someone else is tweeting for you, then people are going to have a hard time getting to know who you really are.
It comes down to this: Stop making excuses. Stop using a ghost tweeter. Do it for yourself. Please.
If you’d like help using Twitter, my coaching services are available. But you’ll be doing the tweeting yourself. Tweet at me at @martinlieberman and let me know if you’re interested.
And if you agree with me, tweet this article and tell the world!