Twitter: Who tweets in your organisation?

Using interns (Twinterns) to promote your business on Twitter may pay dividends (Pizza Hut) or it may cause you problems (Habitat). Or you may want to give the CEO a job to do… tweet tweet!

Two companies with very different results use Twinterns – interns who Twitter. I guess there is a point in using (temp) interns – they are young, presumably social media savvy, cheap, and bring a wealth of customer service, sales and pr experience with them. Oh wait…. anyway:

Case 1: Pizza Hut

Despite a lack of in-house experience—she worked for only one day in a Pizza Hut restaurant—Robinson pizzahutseems to be doing a fine job thus far. She has increased Pizza Hut’s Twitter followers from 3,000 to more than 13,000 and successfully executed a sales promotion over the Fourth of July weekend. And despite having only been on the job for a month, she seems well-informed about the company offerings. In response to a customer inquiry, she tweeted on Tuesday: “Currently the Stuffed Pizza Rolls are only available with pepperoni. I’ll keep you posted if anything changes.”

Case 2: Habitat

How much trouble can 140 characters really stir up? A lot, it turns out. In London, a twittering intern for home-furnishings retailer Habitat got in big trouble last month after he sent out misleading tweets that included commonly searched words related to the protests in Iran. He added keywords—called “hashtags” in Twitterspeak—such as Iran and Mousavi to messages so that people who searched for information about the protests would see his employer’s ads instead. His bosses were not pleased. “This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat,” a representative said in a statement. “We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused.” Habitat has since deleted the tweets and vowed to “do better for the Twitter community.”

You might want to be behind Door 1 not Door 2!

Read the full article at Reuters including;

“By letting an intern determine this, you’re putting your brand and reputation in the hands of someone who has no experience.”Some companies have gotten the message. Jet Blue’s (JBLU) official tweeter is its manager of corporate communications. McDonald’s (MCD) leaves its official tweeting to higher-ups as well. Starbucks’ (SBUX) Twitter feed isn’t manned by an executive but a former barista, who has presumably developed a good sense of what its customers are seeking.

not that I think CEOs make any more sense than interns, even on a good day.  Anyway, staff are on social networking sites, talking it up, whether you know about it or not. See 40+ Social Media Enterprise Guidelines for Staff.

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  1. Bad idea, not because of the risk, but because of what intern jobs are: Temporary and not core to the organization. The intern leaves and the social media effort gets put on hold and ignored.

    With social media, decide if you are in or out. If you are in, then incorporate it into each position that touches the customer.
    .-= Gerard McLean´s last blog ..How I spent my Monday evening =-.

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