Thursday, April 8, 2010

Getting Help Going Social (Media)

David Reutimann is a name known to NASCAR fans if few others. He drives a car sponsored by Aaron's and Best Western among others in the Sprint Cup series.

By his own admission, Reutimann is no social media maven. In an era where personal interaction between performer on any stage, be it some field of entertainment or sports, is becoming almost a given, what to do?

Making lemons out of lemonade, Best Western got together with Michael Waltrip Racing, the team for which Reutimann drives, and put together a contest for three lucky tweeters to attend this weekend's race at Phoenix and tweet on Reutimann's behalf. No, they don't get to ride in the car during the race, although that would certainly elicit some interesting tweets:

  • "YAAAH! The car really does get three inches from the wall at top speed!"
  • "David! Does your mother know you talk like that when someone bumps you?"
  • "If I promise not to spill, can I get an ice cream during the next pit stop?"

Anyway, the notion of an employer (to be technically correct, sponsor) reaching out to the social media community in order to promulgate the brand is interesting. If not closely monitored it can be fraught with peril, since the person or people are visibly representing you. Would not be a good thing if an individual tweeting on your behalf started dropping f- and s-bombs when you're a family-oriented business. You also need to make sure the person or people has solid working knowledge of what they're talking about. Although the individual isn't a corporate spokesperson per se, the last thing you need is someone with a tangible connection to your organization telling the world your core corporate philosophy revolves around an unshakable belief in the moon being a gigantic dusty grapefruit.

Such possible horrors aside, the advantages of having help when it comes to social media far outweigh the potential pitfalls. A skilled writer who is comfortable with social media's parameters can and will do wonders to spread your message. It's impossible to overestimate the power of direct communication. Think of it as hiring a corporate spokesperson. The big boys have one. Why can't you?

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