Brandjacking on Twitter: Who is Tweeting in Your Voice?
We learn from The Cutline that, until last week or so, Cat Fancy magazine had no official Twitter feed –although Cat Fancy’s editor, Susan Logan, has been tweeting with her audience of almost 5500 followers in a very active way and in a more personal voice. Despite the minor industry ripples that have resulted from the matter, in fact, Cat Fancy’s level of Twitter use does not mark them out as remarkably different from many independent publications, many of whom have embraced microblogging skeptically, reluctantly, or (even) not at all.
I don’t really blame anyone that doesn’t want to go Twitter-crazy. Microblogging—social media in general—can become a black hole for time, a day sucked away and so little to show for it. But there are more reasons to embrace Twitter than to ignore it—it can give a bounce to your SEO; it can generate buzz with a really good tweet (Cat Fancy’s hijackers generated quite a buzz before they were shut down); it is where your audience (sometimes) hangs out; it links to other forms of social media and can become a hub for social media updates.
And, we discover, if you don’t claim your Twitter feed, someone else likely will. As evidence we have the playful Cat Fancy feed, having nothing to do with the actual publisher. The ‘faux feed’ revealed the Cat Pope ushering in a reign of hell on earth; cats ignoring ‘shrill cries for help’ while they sipped wine spritzers; cats declaring death to all dogs.
There’s a lesson there for publishers. Are you monitoring the discussion relevant to your topics and keywords? Do you have an “Alerts” feed set up so that you can track what is being said, and by whom? If your brand is being used on the internet, is it by you? If it is being discussed, do you know what is being said?
It isn’t tough to snag someone else’s brand on Twitter—it’s happened to Exxon, Coke, Heinz, BMW, Loreal—and now, Cat Fancy. All’s well that ends well for Cat Fancy, who got some amused publicity and regained control of the brand very handily. And perhaps, today, they are seeing more clearly than ever before the quirky possibilities the medium can offer.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.