#artificialswedener is the hashtag for Stephen Colbert’s campaign to become the curator of @sweden’s Twitter account for a week. The nation of Sweden is using Twitter to encourage tourism, and they’re accomplishing this by passing the account around to a new Swede each week.
The results have been… interesting. The chosen tweep just keeps on tweeting as he or she usually does, with a few thousand extra followers thrown in, perhaps. The current @Sweden talks a good deal about anatomy, as well as offering down-home metaphors like, “The dinner was horrible. It felt like eating your way through a shaved vikings chest, while he’s trying to kill you.”
It’ll be interesting to see whether this increases Sweden’s tourism this summer. Many people are surprised that the whole country of Sweden has a Twitter account, but Josepha’s other gig is a job with a global tourism marketing company, so I’m accustomed to that idea. Some days, she’s Germany and other days she’s the Bahamas. @Sweden, then, is just like your business Twitter account — if you crowdsourced it by passing it around to your customers.
If you have a large company, you may already have some of this going on, sharing the Twitter responsibility among a number of workers. We have three to four people on a social media account sometimes, but that’s not really a crowd. We stay in close contact. What if you have a few hundred people who could share the company Twitter account? Could it be done successfully?
I think it could. The key would be to maintain a consistent voice. @Sweden is openly passing the baton, using different pictures each week, so they don’t have to concern themselves with this. If your company Twitter account is the same persona each week, though, you don’t want a steady diet of news and information to be suddenly replaced with musings about shaven Vikings. Strive to keep everyone on the same page of music when you’re tweeting in harmony.
Alternatively, you could have your marketing division providing occasional promotional messages, and let other tweeps fill in around them. We have this arrangement with some clients, providing the news and information part while they do their promotion they way they like to do it. We still pay attention to their voice and keep the feeling consistent.
Another, and possibly easier, approach is to have staff tweet as staff members for the company, each in his or her own voice. This is a situation in which you really need a social media policy. If @Wendy is all business and @Gregory likes to talk about his cats, that’s fine, but when they’re recognizable as the voice of your company, you should make it clear whether or not eating Vikings is an acceptable topic.
Just for fun, here are the most recent tweets from Haden Interactive’s tweeps:
- Top 10 reasons to partner with someone [infographic] http://pinterest.com/pin/226165212507474202/
- Input/Output – Build a Machine http://bit.ly/wABbrq
- The smoke detector won’t stop chirping and I’m too short to reach it.. Hopefully they will help me down at the office.
- Really just needed the sangria recipe! hey is book on porch?
- To the older gentleman standing uncomfortably close behind me. Is that black licorice I smell?
As I said, it’s just for fun, but what image would this give of our company, if this were all you had to go on? Do this for your staff, if you dare — gather up the most recent tweet of each person who gives your company website as their link. Leave it in the comments, if you’re brave.
It doesn’t hurt to take this seriously, either, especially if you’re thinking about crowdsourcing your company Twitter account. Don’t look at your staff’s last tweet: look at the most recent day or two, since you’re not playing a game, and see what face your tweeps are presenting to the world.