I'm amazed at the frequency with which I come across people discussing their Twitter Strategy, or their Facebook Strategy. Contrast this with offline terminology... we never talk about a Press Release Strategy or a Features Tracking Strategy.
Twitter and Facebook et al are one of many channels or platforms through which we wish to engage stakeholders in conversation. The strategy, then, is the plan we set ourselves for our use of social media to achieve our business objectives.
The strategy is constructed to meet our objectives and is informed by deep insight into best practice application of social media.
The strategy sets out the framework for our current and future adoption of social Web channels, platforms, services and gizmos. It helps us work out which of these to adopt and how they might work together. It describes the over-arching ethos and policies for social media use, organisation-wide, and clearly articulates how success is to be gauged, month in and month out.
There is no such thing as Twitter Strategy, and if you think there is then you are Twittering for Twitter's sake and not for business success.
But back to the corporate Twitter profile, by which I mean... @companyname or @brandname.
If I ask you to think about the last conversation you had, what comes to mind? Was it interesting? Did it leave a lasting impression? You will recall the characteristics of the other person or persons.
But it is always people. Try it, although perhaps you don't need to! Ask everyone you come in to contact with today about the last conversation they had, and see how many of them say "Yes, wow, great chat with brandname at lunch". They will say "John" or "Jane" but never "Levi" or "Porsche" or "Dell" or "Accenture".
Does this mean there is no place for @companyname and @brandname?
In many ways, although this is not a bullet proof assertion, Twitter is everything RSS aspired to be (at least for human use). It is simple, universally easy to create and delightfully simple to follow. The corporate Twitter profile is, then, a nifty way for Web-savvy and interested parties to keep abreast of your news.
As it stands, this approach is more monologue than the dialogue to which we all aspire, so we can't stop here.
Now, if you have some passionate social media trained members of your BrandX team, let's call them @john and @jane, your corporate Twitter profile @brandx should aim to direct followers looking to have a chat with real people such as John and Jane. Each Twitter profile should then refer to and converse with eachother.
This isn't rocket science; in fact it's much the same as real life, which of course makes sense when you consider that mankind hasn't undergone some kind of rapid evolution or psychological metamorphosis just because we have the Web or Skype or Twitter. In the pre-social Web days I might end up talking with John because I was a BrandX customer. The brand brought us together but the conversation, the dialogue, the interaction was person-to-person.
And it still is.