Would you pretend to be your client in a radio interview? Of course not. So why ghost Tweet for them? Yet, ghost writing services for high profile Twitterers are already lurking online. It's one thing to Tweet for a logo, as a company's spokesperson, pushing out general information. It's another matter all together to serve as an imposter. It's only a matter of time before you are ghost busted and labeled inauthentic during a time when trust is a brand's greatest potency. Here are five reasons why ghost Tweeting will come back to haunt you.
1) Brand ambassadors will feel betrayed
I was dismayed to learn that Guy Kawasaki, the author, venture capitalist and columnist who is a social media celebrity, has three Twitter ghost writers. I wasn't alone. Web sites mocking his ghost Tweeting ways have been launched. Backlash from the blogging and Twitter communities continues.
2) Reporters won't trust Twitter to source stories
Innovative reporters like Del Jones, who covers leadership for USA Today, are using Twitter to interview sources. If Twitter becomes infested with ghost writers, reporters might be leery of taking risks that invite a community to become part of the story, killing an opportunity for the newspaper industry to innovate.
3) Ghost hunters are out in full force
Everyone on Twitter is a potential ghost hunter. Twitterers can tell when someone is being inauthentic and they talk about it. They ask us questions all the time about who is real and who is not. If they don't know for sure, they base their assumptions on the quality of interaction they have with the celebrity.
4) Followers will bail for more authentic sources
On Twitter, you are restricted in how many people you can follow. Twitter forces the number of “following” to remain in proportion to the number of “followers.” So, you can't follow 10,000 people while only 100 are following you back. I am constantly fine-tuning my follow list. If I need to unfollow someone for someone else, I make a beeline to the most unauthentic account and drop it.
5) Dialogue with customers is dampened
Twitter is a new opportunity to have an engaging, ongoing dialogue with customers that breeds collaboration that leads to enhanced customer satisfaction. But that can only happen if there is an honest exchange.
Amy Dean is a public relations consultant and co-creator of Tweetexorcist.com, an online community that monitors Twitter for inauthentic accounts. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amyjdean.