This year I have been working as a brand ambassador for the Amazon Prime Student brand. One of my responsibilities of this job is to manage a Twitter account for Prime Student at Pitt along with my co-brand ambassador (aka Jenna Stearns in this class!). In other words, I need to completely represent the Amazon brand when posting on the Amazon at Pitt account.
I am not someone who keeps quiet, including on social media. I love posting weird, funny, and at times controversial things. If I had to represent my social media presence overall over the years, I would describe it as standing on the line between acceptable and risky but never crossing over it. (However, to clarify, by unacceptable I do not mean the “combative behavior, harassment, and bullying” that Blanchard mentions to avoid! I just tend to stick to being weird and funny but a little outrageous.)
The relevance of my brand ambassador role in relation to Chapter 7 of Social Media ROI falls under Section 10 “Social Media Guidelines for Agency Partners, Contractors, and External Representatives”, as I am technically a “contractor” for Amazon. Though Amazon’s brand ambassadors are not official employees, we were still required to be briefed on “do’s and don’ts” of social media. We have strict guidelines about the nature of what we can and cannot post on our assigned Amazon Twitter accounts. Though I consider myself to be someone with a good sense of humor, I sometimes struggle to come up with funny tweets for the account because I am so used to my own sense of humor. I like to post things that have relevance to current events whether they be political or pop culture, and during the election, I thought of so many hilarious tweets I could make on the Prime Twitter account. Obviously, I could not post them because I am representing a corporation that may not want to be associated with a political party. Even though a post may seem innocent, the engagement and attention a post may create is not worth the risk of being accused of libel, which Blanchard defines as “a written or pictorial statement that seeks to damage someone’s reputation”. Aside from my own uneasiness about tweeting anything even remotely politically tied on the Amazon Twitter, the leaders of the program that manages Amazon’s brand ambassadors sent out a message in months ago explicitly asking us to leave any political references out of our social media usage on the Amazon accounts we are in control of. As Blanchard discusses, the program leaders want to ensure that all workers have clarity about what is acceptable and what is not.
Though I know I never would tweet out anything offensive or risky on the Prime Twitter account assigned to me, I sometimes see tweets from company accounts and wonder what guidelines they have about posting. For example, the following is a funny tweet from Taco Bell that jokes about getting their ideas from a drunk person:
Though there is not anything actually wrong with the tweet, it could be viewed as “unprofessional”. I also found some tweets where the Taco Bell account uses strong language, once writing “Doritos Locos Tacos are f***cking good”, including the asterisks to possibly lighten the blow of the strong word. However, Taco Bell must have unique guidelines for the employees in charge of representing the brand on Twitter. Every company has a different voice, and this funny and light voice aligns with Taco Bell’s brand.
For my brand ambassador position, the difficulty of moving past my controversial sense of humor quickly faded, and I now make posts like this one on the account:
This post completely aligns with guidelines, had relevance to the Thanksgiving holiday at the time, and used humor. All I had to do was figure out how to work with policies rather than seeing them as restrictive.
Blanchard, Olivier. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2011. 83-94. Print.