I have some concerns about PwC's social media practices. These concerns go way back, long before they followed and then unfollowed me on Twitter (pfft, I'm used to it) and it appears as though no one on the PwC social media team has had the guts to bring it up so I'm going to go ahead and go there. And I'm doing this out of the kindness of my heart even though my social media clients actually pay me for this kind of advice so let's just address the obvious before we address anything else.
First of all… what's with the hashtags? Seriously, I want an answer. Relevant hashtags that allow users of the tweets to sort by relevence are awesome but is it really necessary to tag every tweet with several, very-rarely tracked hashtags tangentially related to the topic at hand? In PwC's defense, they've improved their excessive hashtag use since the last time I called them out for this but it's still a bit much given the subject matter as I doubt there is a single person on Earth who really searches #insurance on Twitter. Or how about "US
#CEOs lead in making #talent investments for future #growth http://pwc.to/zNiGzO #PwC" – really, PwC? REALLY?! #CEOs? Hashtagging like that might get you a lot of CEO-seeking porn bots but I can't see the ROI in hashtag-baiting on that scale, no matter what PwC's social media department might say about that.
Now, let's examine the few accounts @PwC_LLP follows. With 15,818 followers as of the minute I'm writing this, PwC_LLP follows 56 accounts back. Among them? PwC Tunisia, PwC Serbia, PwC Japan Tax, PwC Venezuela, PwC China… anyone else seeing a pattern here?
By comparison, KPMG's official Twitter account follows 8,914 (including yours truly, well done, KPMG) with 14,511 followers. Deloitte follows 1,188 with 29,921 followers. Ernst & Young, meanwhile, probably hasn't gotten the memo either and follows just three accounts, all of which belong to E&Y (shock). We all know numbers aren't everything but when a business is on Twitter and refuses to follow anyone but their own multiple accounts, one has to wonder about their motivations and long-term goals for their social media initiatives. Notice I call it "social" media and not just "shouting at people on the Internet."
Twitter is not a one-sided marketing platform, it is a global conversation happening at all hours of the day, sometimes barely intelligible but global none-the-less. Excessive and reckless hashtag use is a forgiveable offense but what's the point in refusing to follow anyone on a platform built for engagement and cooperative exchange of information?
That was a serious question.