Get Outta My Tweets (Don’t Get Into My Car, Though)

Is it annoying for a brand account to search/respond to indirect Tweets? Or is it in the name of good customer service, even a PR necessity?

Now, I discussed this with my coworkers in the marketing and events department here at NAPCO Media, all of us squarely in the ~millennial~ camp, and I was solidly in the minority. “You’re putting something about their company out into the public sphere, they have the right and an obligation to respond,” one of the events managers pointed out. My other colleagues agreed.

Okay, true. But there should probably be a right and obligation to not go all Big Brother on a customer who hasn’t asked to engage with you, right? As marketing and branding people, we always need to protect the brand’s image, but the customer’s reaction is important too. And I still can’t stop thinking: If I wanted your response, I’d @ you.

Just to get a final unbiased opinion, I took to Twitter itself. Now, my personal account is pretty much where I just geek out with friends about anime and post pictures of my cat, so that’s the kind of audience we’re dealing with. (Read: Often the kind of audience these brands are dealing with.)

I set up a simple poll that lasted one hour. Just to clarify, I made no comments as to my own opinion. Here are the results:

pollI even got a few replies that people have taken to intentionally spelling a company’s name wrong, or including a slash or other special character between letters (ie, U/ber) just to avoid the unwanted attention.

So, what do you think? Is all that engagement worth the possible negative reactions? Is it actually a great idea to respond to indirects on Twitter? Or is it just the internet version of the pushy salesperson?

5 thoughts on “Get Outta My Tweets (Don’t Get Into My Car, Though)”

  1. My vote: take it case by case. I assume most but not all Twitter users know direct v indirect message protocols… but if a customer tweet begs for an answer, and a direct message was not indicated, you might still as a brand want to close the loop with that customer on Twitter. I monitor a consumer mailbox for some clients and there’s a wide realm of digital sophistication out there. In most instances, though, one only needs to monitor the “indirects” (and certainly all the “directs”) for patterns — from which to create new Twitter content, on the account rather than 1:1, that may speak to those patterns.

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