Corporate Eye

Integrating Twitter with the corporate site

Do you have employees who tweet on your behalf? Are you wondering how to authenticate them?

Wal-Mart's Twitter page

You should have a look at the Wal-Mart site, which is a great example of a range of best practices in this area.

Do click on this image to expand it, or open the Wal-Mart Twitter page in another window, so you can see it…

On this page, Wal-Mart clearly identify the twitterers by name, department and job title, together with a 140 character bio, an image and a link to their Twitter account.

It states that these – and these only – are the official spokespeople on Twitter for the company, and that anyone else you find tweeting is not speaking on behalf of the company. This is very clear, and does a great job of authenticating the corporate twitterers.

The page also pulls in their recent tweets, and uses tabs to separate the twitterers by country (US, UK and Brazil) rather than lumping them all in together. Again, this makes sense, not only because the different regions are likely to have different interests and projects, but also because the US/UK and Brazil teams use different languages.

The Walmart Twitter guidelines are available on the corporate site, and are clearly linked to from this page (top and bottom). The guidelines themselves are clear – and the copy neatly integrates Twitter with the Walmart purpose:

Twitter asks a very basic question of its users: “What are you doing?” And we know the answer to that question – we’re working every day to help people save money and live better.

The rest of the Twitter page is well done, too, incorporating related resources in the sidebar: images, video and a location map.

My only quibble is that it took me some time to spot the link to this Twitter page. I arrived direct –via Twitter, of course– and wanted to work out where the page sat in the corporate site.

And it took me a while to find, though the breadcrumb trail clearly indicates it is available from the home page. I was surprised by this — because very few corporates link to their twitter accounts from the home page — and spent some time looking in the main content on the home page and others, and failing to see it. I also checked the sitemap, and again, it isn’t listed as a main page.

However, it is there, and is available from the footer bar on every page, including the sitemap. My suggestion would be to include this as a link from the About section – perhaps in the sidebar – and list it as such on the sitemap. Incidentally, I wonder why these site services pages aren’t listed in the sitemap proper, only in the footer on that page (as on every page)?

Quibble aside, I think this is very well done, and demonstrates a number of best practices for integrating at least one social media outpost with the corporate website.

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