Do You Trust Your Brand to Ghosts?

April 3, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Social Media

It really has been a busy few weeks of travel for the girls of Outspoken Media. To be honest, I’m still going through my liveblogging notes from PubCon Austin and SES New York in hopes of digesting the information overload. And with so many different sessions, so many different speakers and so many different ways of accomplishing the same goal, it’s always interesting to pick out the common themes and break them out for discussion.

One of the questions I kept hearing during both shows was, “So with all this social media stuff…can’t we just hire someone to do it for us? We have ‘real’ work to do.”

Poor social media. It just can’t get no respect.

What caught me was that they weren’t asking whether or not they could hire an SEO company to help them with their social media services. [cough] They were asking if they could hire ghosts to blog for them. To tweet for them. To basically be them online. The thing is, you can. Sort of. I guess.

[emo shoe kick]

In some respects, blogs and tweets are just content. And there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone to produce content for you or to help you push it out. Without that glorious fact, I wouldn’t have a job. However, realize that if you outsource your blogs, your tweets, and your online persona to generic ghostwriters, that you’re doing yourself quite an injustice. You’re missing out on what these types of content can really provide.

At SES New York, some of us learned that Guy Kawasaki pays two people to help him manage his Twitter account and tweet for him. That works for Guy because people have already fallen for the brand. Guy Kawasaki is like DunkinDonuts (only less personable). People follow him because they just want the association. The other reason Guy can outsource his Twitter account is because he doesn’t use Twitter as an engagement tool. To him, Twitter is nothing more than a way to push content.

You are not Guy Kawasaki. You can’t pull that off. And yes, there are different rules based on your order in life. There have been since kindergarten. No sense crying over that now. Hiring someone to ghostblog or ghosttweet for you may get you the content, but you’re passing up on all the other benefits that your lack of a silver spoon doesn’t automatically provide.

What can’t you get with ghostbloggers and ghosttweeters?

  • Genuine engagement
  • Real interaction
  • A single, trusted voice
  • Community
  • Growth
  • Credit for listening
  • Loyalty
  • The ability to capture the heart of your company

Ultimately, you can’t make people fall head over heels in love with you and your brand.

You need to blog and tweet as you in order to get that real conversation going and to build your own awareness. You can’t do that with ghostbloggers or ghosttweeters. They’re cold. They have no connection to your company. They’re not invested in starting that conversation. You may be able to have some luck if you pay one individual to do it all for you and make them part of your team, but you’d actually have to make them part of your team and most ghostbloggers aren’t in it for that. They’re only interested in the X amount of dollars you’re going to give them for 400 words of content. They couldn’t care less about you. They have no interest in being your voice or your heart. And that doesn’t work in social media.

If all you’re looking for is hole-filling content or cold articles, then ghostbloggers and ghosttweeters may work for you. But if you’re looking for more than that, if you’re looking to have a <em>real</em> blog and not just an article section, then I wouldn’t trust that to ghostbloggers. Ghost’s don’t have voices. Or hearts. They’re cold. Actually, they’re dead.

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