Corporate voice is inherently impersonal

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth


James O’Brien, quoting Alex Goldfayn:

“Most of the content that companies put out on social media doesn’t catch on,” he said. “It’s too corporate and promotional. Despite the money invested — and the myriad social-media marketing agencies that have popped up — there is no ‘conversation’ with customers. Bad, embarrassing material often goes viral. The good stuff isn’t interesting, so it doesn’t catch on.”

Much as it pains me to link to something called the “Evangelist Marketing Institute” (really?), I do think there’s something significant in that. The issue here isn’t about the social media agencies – wherever there are people willing to spend money, there will be people willing to take it, and not all of them will be skilled – it’s about the lack of courage and vision in big companies.

Big companies, by their nature, tend to attract people who like working in big companies – who like hierarchies, committees and a very slow pace of change. None of these things are conducive to genuine voice, an ability to not take yourself too seriously and the sense of fun needed to make really good social media content. It takes real vision from the top – and the courage to defy the self-protecting norms of committee decision making – to turn that around.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.