Posted March 28, 2011 5:57 pm by with 7 comments

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Do you mix business with pleasure – on social media, that is? A blogger at Ars Technica has just posted about a study that examines the relationship between professors who Tweet and their students.

The study had students follow a specially designed Twitter feed that was supposedly written by one of their professors. One group got only school-related Tweets, one got only personal Tweets and the third group got a mix.

After following the feeds, the students were asked to rate the professor’s credibility. The highest ratings came from those who saw only personal Tweets. The addition of school-related Tweets did nothing to raise the professor’s score.

The authors of the study felt that the higher rating came from the fact that the students thought the personal Tweeting professor was more “caring” which apparently is more important that competent.

The study also found that older students were more likely to be concerned about getting too much information, which might make their relationship with the professor awkward.

Though this study was designed for use with students and teachers, it’s easy to see how this would translate into the marketing world. The addition of personal Tweets (within reason) in a business Twitter account is a good thing. It gives followers something to relate to and makes the Twitter-er sound like a real person instead of a corporate mouthpiece.

Of the brands I follow on Twitter, my favorites are those that sound like they’re being written by a person I’d enjoy having lunch with. And if I stick around long enough, I may even see a picture of their lunch on TwitPic.

The caveat here is, of course, that you don’t go too far. Your followers might enjoy hearing about the party you attended last night, but they don’t want to hear about the consequences of one margarita, too many.

Do you include personal Tweets in your business feed? If so, where do you draw the line between being social and TMI?

  • I do and I figure what the heck. I am a person doing business so it’s just me being me. I doubt people pay enough attention to know the difference any way 🙂

    • Cynthia Boris

      Oh just say something out of line and you’ll find out who is paying attention! LOL

  • i don’t

  • After years of testing this, I have to say it does! People don’t like the same old boring story, when you mix it up and be you, people understand that more and get to know like and trust you. They want to see the real you, not the person hiding behind the computer, mix it up, be unique, be you 🙂

  • I think a good mix of personal and professional Tweets is a hard thing to manage. Too many personal Tweets and you can devalue the brand. Too many professional Tweets and the handle has no personality. Finding the sweet spot is tricky, but doable. There is a way to be personable, without over sharing.

  • lewis

    I would have to agree that a people who can work, and play together, will most likely make it in this ever changing world. Everyone is moving towards mobile devices.I am developing training facilities in a 3d world, join me. Sign up for a second life account, once your logged in, you can use the search tool to locate me, In-World I am known as Lewiz Zsun, I am working to connect my real life business to the Virtual world, Join me!
    here is an example of me at work In-world, yes, 3d development requires hours of work.

  • Mitchell

    I due not included personal Tweets in my business feed because i am still in college. But, i do think Tweeting is a great way for your customers, audience, employees, coworkers, followers, and who ever your doing business, to build a relationship with you. This relationship is the key ingredients to having a strong business. Tweet also builds up name recognition, people in today’s society are so focused on their social gadgets (facebook, Twitter, blogs) that the more they see your companies name with an activity that they love doing (socializing) they appreciate your company more and more because your simply their.