Don’t get BrandJacked: Confirming Your Corporate Twitter Account

I’m hearing of more and more brands starting to venture into the Twittersphere to listen, influence, and support customers. In fact, I’ve had 3-4 inquiry (client calls) at Forrester asking about Twitter for marketing.

Challenge: Anyone can Create an Twitter Account and Cause BrandJacking
A few months ago, many (myself included) were fooled by a brandjacking of “Janet” from Exxon Mobile, (see examples of others brands who were punk’d) who in reality wasn’t who she said she was. I’ve also heard from other brands that name squatters were taking corporate names and registering them, and some are saying negative things. Slow brands are often behind, and as a result have to deal with cleanup.

I’ve heard from some brands that if you contact Twitter, they will disallow anyone from registering your corporate name, but I can’t confirm this is true, if someone from Twitter wants to discuss with me how brands can best work with the microblogging tool, please let me know.

If your brand is planning on venturing into the twittersphere, after you develop a strategy based on the POST methodology, you should then confirm your twitter address so your customers and community can confirm it’s really you. Until we get a single sign on and identity verification process across the whole web, we need a way to confirm twitter accounts.

Solution: Confirm tour Corporate Twitter Account

1) Link to your twitter profile from your corporate website: Since no but official employees can edit your corporate website, this is an ‘official’ way of confirming identity. If your corporate site is Hitachi, then perhaps on the Hitachi news site, or official Hitachi blog (providing you have one) link to the Twitter account.

2) Cross link from your Twitter profile page to corporate site: Since most won’t know of the link from your corporate site, you now must update your Twitter profile (where you describe yourself) and point back to the corporate webpage that mentions the twitter account. This is called a “cross-link” and will confirm that the twitter account is official.

Are you a Twitter user? Require confirmation from brands before engaging. Anyone in the Twitter community who runs into a corporate twitter account, should point brands to this very blog post, and ask them to confirm their identity, if they don’t, ignore them. Hope this tip helps brands, consumers, and the twittersphere. Good luck all.

Update: The reason I did this post as I engaged in a conversation with Bissell, yup the vacuum company, as I was recently discussing getting a steam cleaner to deal with puppy Rumba’s number 1 spots. They approached me on Twitter (@wemeanclean) and suggested a product to me (the SpotBot), and I suggested that they confirm their identity, they have, and now have linked to their twitter account from the footer of their corporate homepage at Well done, you’ve now taken one more step closer to earning my trust, and I’m more likely to engage in conversation and take a closer look at your products.

Now, about those steam cleaners… I am in the market…