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31 Mar

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Personal Tweets May Boost Credibility, Study Says

March 31, 2011 | By | One Comment

A CMO who tweets her picks for the NHL playoffs. The brand manager who Twitpics a photo of his award-winning garden train layout. Many PR pros still cringe at the idea of company personnel sending out social tweets to stakeholders. Yet this type of social tweeting may actually boost credibility, suggests a study by Elizabethtown College (my alma mater). Ars Technica shares the details:

  • 120 students were divided into 3 groups, each receiving a separate stream of tweets from a professor: one group saw only scholarly tweets, one saw only social tweets, and one saw a mix of the two. Participants were asked to rate the credibility of the professor based on the tweets they saw.
  • The group that saw only social tweets rated the professor higher in credibility than those who received only scholarly content.
  • The scholarly tweets did not significantly boost a professor’s competence rating. The study authors write that this suggests “caring, not competence, is the most important dimension when it comes to assessing perceived credibility on social networking sites.”
  • However, older students had a tendency to rate professors lower in credibility after viewing the tweets, perhaps because they were also more likely to think that professors who connected with students on social networks opened the doors to sharing too much information and creating awkward relationships.

Marketing Pilgrim’s Cynthia Boris shares the business implications of the study. She suggests that adding personal tweets to a corporate Twitter account may help create a human touchpoint between consumers and a faceless corporate entity.  

How do you feel about mixing personal tweets with corporate content?

Comments

  1. Dave

    I agree with this completely! Great Post! I have been incorporating a social aspect to my sales efforts for some time now. While it takes a while to start seeing returns on efforts, I am now realizing incoming sales inquires at a volume I would have never believed. Putting in a little effort on the social side reallly opens new opportunities in today’s “information” age. Mixing personal “Tweets” with professional information builds creditbility with your audience. You become a real person vs.a “sales guy”.

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