The Corporate Twitter Discussion Continues at BusinessWeek

On April 3 I wrote a post asking the community for opinions on corporations establishing a Twitter presence. We have been pleasantly surprised at the continued reactions and comments to this post and we have learned about some really cool trials taking place within the community. A good deal of folks – including some from Zappos, Stanford University and Mzinga (client) – have all chimed in with opinions and examples.

The conversation continues today at BusinessWeek as Heather Green wrote a post asking for examples of creative business use on Twitter – for a pending cover story. If you know of some examples, please pass them along to Heather by posting a comment on their blog. We are very interested in reading the article when it comes out, as well as continuing to learn – along with the community – about the best way corporations can successfully get involved in the social media landscape.

This is a fun journey!

Corporate Twitter Entities – Yay or Nay?

There have been some interesting discussions lately – both online and off – around the business value of Twitter. As part of those discussions, we’ve noticed some varying opinions on whether or not corporations should establish their own entity on this rapidly-growing micro-blogging community.

When we first established @PerkettPR, we were immediately called out (coincidentally by PR/marketing competitors) for a few incorrect (on their part) assumptions:

1) That we had just joined Twitter without research, or a “lurking” phase

2) That we were only joining Twitter to promote our involvement in bringing TechCrunch MeetUp to Boston

3) That we would spam people (which in and of itself is an inaccurate label to use, considering the way Twitter works)

4) That we would not use our corporate entity wisely and that a “corporation” was not a “person” and therefore couldn’t participate in conversation

A few months later in March, some of these same naysayers have not only set up their own corporate entities (although most have yet to actually update/use them) but they have encouraged others to do so. That leads us to today and our questions to you:

1) Can a corporation participate in conversations on Twitter?

2) Are there certain types of businesses that should not establish a Twitter presence?

3) Do you follow any corporations on Twitter?

4) Why or why not?

Most, if not all, of our staff has individual entities on Twitter (mine’s @missusP if you’d like to engage). We spent months on Twitter watching, conversing (about business and personal issues) and getting to know the landscape before we established our corporate entity. We use @PerkettPR to share interesting developments that our constituents – those who choose to follow us – may find of interest. This can range from client news to agency news to events, interesting articles, blog posts and more. In doing so, we’ve developed new and stronger relationships with reporters, bloggers, clients – even new business prospects and competitors – as well as insightful feedback and new awareness opportunities for clients.

We believe our participation at an individual level helps us to truly understand the community and that we can engage both as indiviudals and as a team – just as in real life. This quote from Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang also reaffirmed this belief for us:

“I can’t imagine ever advising a client to deal with an advertising, PR, or interactive team that doesn’t get social media….agencies must demonstrate they can participate before they can ever help clients with it.”

We have several clients who have Twitter identities. @mzinga and @Q1labs are the two most recent to join. It remains to be seen if all types of corporations can participate in – and benefit from – Twitter as much as individuals do, but obviously we believe great potential exists. What do you think?

Examples of businesses on Twitter:

@JetBlue

@CNN

@ssldl (This is a local library in one of our staff’s Midwestern towns. How cool is that?!)

@mahalotravel

@hawaiianshirts

@suddenlyslimmer

@hockeygiant

@speedypin

Mzinga and the Power of Community

Grant Robertson from DownloadSquad.com interviews Aaron Strout (VP of New Media) from Mzinga at SXSW 2008. Aaron talks about how Mzinga helps customers leverage the power of community with their enterprise-class, white-label social media platform.


SXSW 2008: Mzinga from Download Squad on Vimeo.

[via downloadsquad.com]

PerkettPR Turns 10

Today PerkettPR is announcing a major milestone for our company – our 10th year of business! What makes this interesting though, isn’t just the years, but the resilience of the virtual model that our company was built on and that we continue to embrace – while companies and their employees are just starting to get comfortable with the idea of virtual working, PerkettPR has been pioneering the concept since 1998. Only recently, have other companies been warming to the idea of letting their business professionals work from home as marked by the recent articles in major publications touting the “new” concept that a central geographic location is becoming less of a necessity for the modern day web worker. But PerkettPR was built from the ground up with an all-senior team that physically spans both coasts and all regions in-between; with almost 30 employees located across nine states, we continue to thrive as a virtually operated company.

Our 10th year is beginning on the heels of our most successful year to date – 2007 was an extreme growth year for PerkettPR with an expanding client roster and a 50% increase in staff and revenue. We have added several new clients worldwide including companies in Web 2.0, healthcare, enterprise software and telecom markets spanning Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. – including businesses such as Aternity, Constant Contact, Mailtrust, Sosius and Mzinga and we have enhanced our Partner Program with marketing and design agencies, Internet technology experts, and international PR firms.

In addition, although we have always been first adopters of technology and concepts that will help us to more successful in working virtually, 2007 has been the year that we have truly embraced social media initiatives for both ourselves and for our clients. Jeremiah Owyang recently stated, “I can’t imagine ever advising a client to deal with an advertising, PR, or interactive team that doesn’t get social media. But with the power shifting to the participants, agencies must demonstrate they can participate before they can ever help clients with it.”

PerkettPR truly believes in this concept and agree with Jeremiah that “the agency of the future is a “connected” one.” We have taught ourselves first, and then helped our clients to engage at many level. In the past year and a half, we have made additions such as the agency’s corporate blog, PerkettPRsuasion, a corporate Twitter presence, @PerkettPR and Facebook group – to join and start engaging influencers in more meaningful conversations for the firm and its clients. We have also driven new media and viral campaign elements for clients including blogging, screencasting, viral videos, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn campaigns, interactive video channels and more.

We believe strongly in making sure we feel comfortable in the space so that we can help our clients – we even hired a Social Media Director, Jeff Glasson that works with our clients with how to participate in social networking and he comments on social media topics on our blog and on others.

PerkettPR has also embraced the social media and the tech communities by sponsoring several TechCrunch events in New York and San Francisco, and most recently, the TechCrunch Boston MeetUp where the agency executed the planning, promotion and sponsorship coordination – bringing arguably the hottest Web 2.0 networking event to Boston for the first time ever. PerkettPR also has worked closely with other new media thought leaders, such as Sarah Meyers at Pop17.

Our team is very proud about this milestone and the steps we have taken to not only be a “poster child” for the successful virtual model, but also for our leadership in social media initiatives for ourselves and our clients.

And 2008 is looking even better!

Mzinga Acquires Prospero – Come join the conversation!

Mzinga acquires Prospero

PerkettPR client Mzinga announced today that it is acquiring Prospero, a fellow Massachusetts-based social media platform builder. Both companies excel in the creating white-label social media platforms that allow companies to create feature-rich online communities. This merger clearly places Mzinga in the spotlight as the leader in business oriented social networking. The true question lies in how this will affect other white-label providers in this space.

Notable social media bloggers such as Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang and Scott Monty have already posted on the merger and shared their views on what the future might hold in this space. What is your take on the future of white-label social media platforms or even social media for corporations in general? To help answer that question, leaders from the newly formed Mzinga along with PerkettPR and Topaz Partners will be hosting a Twitter-based Q&A session throughout today (Monday, March 3rd).

Feel free to follow and converse with any of us on Twitter:

Mzinga/Prospero: Aaron Strout, Jim Storer, Colin Browing, and Heather Strout
PerkettPR: Jeff Glasson, Lisa Dilg and our corporate presence
Topaz Partners: Doug Haslam and Sandy Kalik

Additional Reading:

TechCrunch – More Consolidation in the White Label Social Networking Space: Mzinga Acquires Prospero

Mashable – Mzinga Acquires Prospero to Grow Online Community Solutions Sector

ReadWriteWeb – Enterprise Community Provider Mzinga Swallows Prospero

CenterNetworks – Mzinga Raises $32.5 Million and Acquires Prospero Business Social Networking Platform Provider

Aaron Strout, Mzinga – Red Letter Day

Jim Storer, Mzinga – Following the Mzinga/Prospero News

Colin Browning – Social Media: Working Behind The Scenes

Tech PR Gems – What do you do when a social media client has big news?

This event is a great example of social media companies actually putting social media tools to use and engaging in conversation to benefit the community. We look forward to chatting with you. See you in the Twittersphere!