Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a concerning trend on Twitter. I’ve spotted PRs tweeting about their clients without disclosing that they work for them. Well, maybe it’s not a trend, but i’ve certainly noticed more and more of it.
Why does it matter, and why does this concern me?
The premise of Twitter is that it is an open platform and content sharing is done by users if they think that a blog/website/image etc is cool and that their followers and other people may like it. This means that brands can potentially have their content shared between many different people, if it’s compelling enough. This my friends, is what we are in the business of.
However, these social transactions are slowly becoming more “valuable” and brands are seeing this as a profit making opportunity. So, if I tweet about xxx brand of tea, my followers retweet it and their followers read and retweet again, that’s three spheres of friend groups that brands of tea has been exposed to.
If however, I do this for a client I am working for and don’t disclose that I work for them, I am essentially fooling my followers into accessing that content, because they trust that what I am sharing is of value to them. This is, in my book, not transparent and smells almost fraud-like.
Now we all know that a tweet with the word ‘client’ in it as a disclosure is likely to be ignored by the vast majority of followers, especially if it’s irrelevant to them. Good.
I want the brands that I represent to be genuinely adding value to the communities they want to engage with and become a part of. I don’t want my followers clicking through purely to boost site visitor numbers and retweet figures. This threatens my integrity and theirs, as well as skewing the end of campaign results I will deliver to my client.
I will always disclose in a tweet if I work for a client – the reason I’ve tweeted it is because I want YOU to decide whether or not to click on the link within because it will be of value to YOU, not because I want to falsify the impact of my work to the client.