What would happen if you used twitter like Ashley Cole?

Yesterday the F.A. announced that England players will be banned from making any match related tweets on Twitter for 24 hours before a game. The move comes as the FA introduces a new code of conduct, which has been motivated in a large part by recent high profile Twitter incidents.

These incidents include Ashley Cole describing the FA as a ‘bunch of t***s’ after the reliability of Cole’s testimony in the John Terry racial abuse case was brought in to question. Although the F.A. are not Cole’s employer, they run the game and making such a statement for millions to see was ridiculously stupid. Cole was fined £90,000 (less than a week’s wages).

This is not the first time footballers have fallen into hot water on social networking sites. Many have fallen foul by criticising the games officials, their opponents and even their team mates and employers.

What would happen to you, in the real world, if you called your employer a‘t***’? P45?

Social media has exploded over the last 5 years and many – especially celebrities – have jumped aboard to make themselves accessible whilst furthering the reach of their brand. Yet, in my opinion, many need to catch up in regards of how to use and what to say on social media.

Sites like Twitter and Facebook have allowed celebrities to build up huge online followings. The follower feels closer to their idol as they gain snippets of insight from their lives – whether real or fabricated – whilst the celebrity builds its fan base.

In my opinion many celebrities (especially footballers!) need to take responsibility for the fact they are role models to the younger generation. Some of the language, comments and criticisms they make are often, frankly, ludicrous. Many football clubs are understanding how powerful social media can be and are implementing social media policies.

A ‘social media policy’ is something every business should have, for the sake of the business and the individual. And many are waking up to this – often after an ‘incident’!

With a decade’s experience working for online retailer’s I’ve had a lot of firsthand experience with social media from a business perspective.

For businesses, social media provides a fantastic opportunity to connect and support your customers, network, build your brand and keep up to date with market developments. Every business has some kind of social media presence these days; however those that invest the time and resources to do it properly are those that reap the most.

A dedicated and engaged following takes time to build up and I’m a fan of the three pronged approach:

  • Make 1/3 of your posts about you or your brand (services or products)
  • Make a 1/3 of your posts about your areas of interest and expertise, but using material from an outside source
  • Make a 1/3 of your posts about yourself – after all, we are all human

This is good place to start, in regards to dictating how to go about managing your output. An over arching social media policy, however, will include details on what individuals should post, a code of conduct, a corporate style guide, legal compliance, metrics and monitoring.

If want to find out more about social media you can take a free trial of IT Governance’s social media toolkit here.

Right, I hear my boss didn’t like my last blog post. Well I’m off to twitter to call him a ….