I put a post on my personal Facebook page comparing Tweets by two opposing political candidates on September 11. Here’s the story (minus the names):
Candidate A posted a compassionate, caring message about the significance of the day.
Candidate B posted a volunteer recruitment message.
In full disclosure, I happen to support Candidate A. A friend of mine, who apparently supports Candidate B, challenged the veracity of my post and source.
I quickly defended it: While I had linked to someone else’s blog with images of the two Tweets, I had actually seen the Tweets on the respective candidates’ Twitter accounts and knew the images to be accurate.
Then another friend commented that candidates probably don’t write their own Tweets – and that’s the point of this blog.
Just as many business leaders hire ghostwriters (like me) to write their blogs, they also delegate the writing of their social media posts. But when something goes out over your name, you are responsible for it! End of discussion.
While it’s true that many business leaders have personally embraced social media and are active on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, the reality is that maintaining an effective social media presence takes time – time that busy executives don’t always have. For those executives, the choice is to miss out on the opportunities offered by social media or to “staff it out” – have someone else do it for them.
If you are going to let other people write for you, you must choose those people carefully. I have seen executives turn over their social media functions to interns or low-level staffers because they think it’s just not that important.
They need to be sensitive enough to manage the process so that the risk of putting out wrong information or offending anyone is minimized.
But if they make a mistake, you’re the one who has to live with it. If something goes out over your name that was ill-timed, ill-conceived and ill-crafted, and you say, “I didn’t write that,” your credibility is shot. So be sure the people who are writing your material appreciate the huge responsibility they have – but also recognize that the final responsibility is yours.