By: Mark Macias
Imagine the pain of learning you lost 3200 Twitter followers overnight. It was a painful reality for a popular morning TV personality in Phoenix.
Tara Hitchcock was the morning show anchor for Good Morning Arizona in Phoenix a few years ago. The TV industry is a transient field, so I didn’t read too much into her departure when I heard the news until I read this in an article:
“She has started up a new Twitter account -@taratv- in place of her old one, which is owned by Channel 3.”
Tara spent her TV career in Phoenix, promoting that Twitter handle, but she lost control of it because she didn’t own the handle.
Own Your Twitter Handle
Tara Hitchcock is unfortunately not alone.
I have many close friends in the TV business and many of them associate their Twitter accounts with their current employer. It’s great to drink the Kool-Aid and drop ABC or CBS in your handle, but what happens when you switch employers. These reporters and anchors are harming their ability to brand themselves by giving away their influential Twitter power to the networks.
This doesn’t just apply to TV personalities.
There are many companies that will create a Twitter or Facebook account for any small businesses and for free. They even will help grow your fan base for a small fee, but when you read the fine print, you will see that you don’t own the Facebook page or the Twitter handle.
You don’t need to be a calculus major to see what will happen when you take your business to another social media provider: you will lose your account.
So before you go identifying your entire brand with one employer, or even one industry on Twitter and Facebook, think of what could happen if four years down the road, you decide to take a different path.
Use a Facebook and Twitter name that you can take with you. I’m glad I did that during my time with NBC and CBS, which is why you can follow me on Twitter/MarkMacias or on Facebook.com/maciaspr.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.