Reflections on “the Tweet that took 2 months”

After reading my post about Social Media Douchebags, my friend Red sent me an article from Business Insider Australia titled “We Got A Look Inside The 45-Day Planning Process That Goes Into Creating A Single Corporate Tweet”. A lengthy title for a lengthy post.

In essence, the post describes how the copy for a single tweet is drafted, pitched, the media (image) designed, and the thorough approval process that accompanies the tweet before it’s born as a published piece of content.

As Business Insider Australia presented it, “Here’s the tweet that took two months:”

Now I don’t think it’s very kind on Huge, the agency who produced this lil’ labour of love, to present it quite so disparagingly.

The average internet-savvy, social media invested reader would probably roll their eyes at the content, “45 days?! For that?!”. Indeed, a quick search shows me the internet is full on hating on the tweet that took two months.

So what’s “wrong” with it? Why might the content be what it is? Let’s have a guess, but first let it be known that I totally get where Huge is coming from and I don’t roll my eyes at this tweet or the fact it took two months’ gestation.

  • “Sharing a Camembert with friends?” The age old social media engagement plea. Ask a question.
  • (How generous!)” a wee compliment for the reader.
  • Get the best flavor by serving at room temperature” the crux of the tweet, showing cheese expertise and sharing useful information. 
  • #artofcheese” hashtag, seems to accompany every “cheesy” tweet from President Cheese. (Had to use the pun, sorry)
  • And a pretty image. Good photo, product name, bright lighting, “aspirational” – honeycomb, marble serving plate… Posted through the Twitter platform itself so that users of Twitter’s own clients (channels for accessing Twitter, like the Twitter app or website) will see the image and are more likely to read the tweet. Common marketing ploy on social platforms – images tend to generate more engagement.

The pessimistic view:

  • Sounds like marketing speak, the tone is corny
  • Doesn’t actually invite any interaction (I’m not going to reply “yes, I am sharing camembert with friends!”
  • Nothing “in it for me”, at best, I learned that camembert is best at room temperature. 

So how was this tweet created? And why did it take 45 days?

For a brand represented by an agency, the agency has a lot of work to do. The tweet is a small part of a much bigger job to build the brand’s following and promote key characteristics of the brand, products, and generally build the image desired by the client.

The team who published this tweet know.

They know 45 days is a long time. They could probably push out far more engaging posts in seconds and generate some great conversation and gain more followers. They know it sounds a little cheesy. There would have been debate over every piece I bulleted out above.

For a tweet or any piece of marketing collateral in a campaign, it has to be drafted, pitched, refined, approved. The optimum time for publishing needs to be weighed based on when the audience is most active or responsive, and how the content fits within the overall content calendar of the brand. A lot of other work would have been done in those 45 days! At least a week’s worth of other tweets no doubt were written at the same time. Associated content for other platforms too. It’s 45 days turnaround not 45 days of solid work.

What our angsty, judgemental community often forget is that in business land there is a process.

Managers have to approve, the client has to approve. All these approvals avoid any major slip ups – like the wrong type of cheese mentioned or pictured, or the post going out prematurely.

It’s a new account – March 22nd was their first tweet. The client probably isn’t used to having their brand in this space and is likely a little cautious, needing approval and carefully picking over content – finding their feet on Twitter.

When a misstep can result in such a backfire especially online, can you blame the caution?

Kudos to Huge, from what I’ve read, their team are doing a good job in a harshly judged space, unfortunately their work was presented in a way that invited that famous internet vitriol.

It pays to think about what goes on behind the scenes before hefting a pitchfork.

Social Media Douchebag

A few years ago I sat in on a social media presentation from a well known (in Auckland/NZ) Social Media Expert.

This presenter was invited to review our brands (7 commercial radio stations), make recommendations and give examples for furthering these brands online (followers, engagement, driving traffic to websites).

What we sat through was more “this is Facebook, you can make a page” – as a media company well beyond that, for all of the presenter’s popularity (and many Twitter followers), it was underwhelming. Lacking all preparation and insight.

This is one of the main reasons I cringe when I hear about people who are “great at social media”, “social media gurus”. Being an “emerging” medium, I see too often fear, confusion, intimidation around using social media.

Nerds like me have had Facebook and Twitter accounts since 2006, that’s nearly ten years, I think we can drop the fear of the new.

So what does it take to be really great at helping businesses “further their brand”?

Understanding – the company, it’s resources, people’s skill levels and willingness to participate, the audience, the goals and a variety of tools.

Longevity – educating advocates within the business, scaling down or up to suit available resources of time, money and skill. A plan that stretches beyond a single campaign.

Creativity – using tools in new ways, relevant to the brand and it’s audience.

Sound familiar? Notice I said “further their brand”? This isn’t limited to social media.

Social Media: Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.


Social media are platforms that use the internet to allow people to interact and connect with each other one to one, or one to many. But they are just another channel for brands to get messages to their audience – like a website, magazine ad, radio ad, billboard. It’s communication, just like any other form of advertising or marketing.

What causes nervousness is the lack of understanding of the tools themselves. Social Media Douchebags know the tools well enough to intimidate those who don’t into believing that because they have thousands of Twitter followers they must be able to craft magic.

Why cringe about being called a “Social Media Expert”? It’s limiting. There is no secret sauce. Marketers should be stepping up, engaging their brains and filling this space, creating throwaway accounts and testing how to use the platform they are interested in, and recognising social media as just another tool.

Every marketer should be a social media expert. Add it to the tool box along with tv spots, radio air time, full page spreads, billboards, and do what you do best – focus on your message, your content, your audience.

In defence of email signatures

My contacts are at best, disorganised. An automatic email signature, in plain text, which lists direct dial and alternate phone numbers, alongside the position and company of the sender is my first port of call when my contacts list fails me.

Perhaps a little more information than that. I disagree with an email signature which regularly causes printing to span two pages, is attached to every message sent, and which contains images. Sometimes in corporate land these atrocities cannot be avoided.

Mobile specific signatures? I have one for both work and personal:

“Please excuse my brevity and typo’s, this message was sent via mobile.”

Some recipients think I write that after every email sent from my phone. Some don’t understand what “brevity” means. I like to think it excuses my email for being inarticulate and clumsy, by explaining it wasn’t written in ideal conditions.

Attach your automated email signature to the first message in a thread of email, not to replies, and preface it with your personal sign off of the message.

With respect,


Also for Monteith’s Single Source, kiwi director Zoe McIntosh is putting together a documentary about the process of producing craft beer. The documentary will be released on the site in eight parts, which will eventually be presented together as a short film – possibly by the time next year’s NZ Film Festival rolls round.

This is part 1.

We just put another site live today. This is for Monteith’s Single Source, a new craft beer which they have just launched today – it’s only available online, and by the bottle in the 29 Craft Bars from Friday.

Things I have learned from temporarily wearing my Project Manager hat again:

  • It’s really satisfying sticking with a project from the first ideas and planning right through to delivery
  • It’s also very stressful, as is my regular job, but in a different way. I don’t think I realised just how different it was, having had such a long transition period away from Project Management
  • Sometimes, Google Analytics code is actually supposed to go at the top
  • Our team here does a damn good job, both in design and development
  • Things always always take longer than you expect them to, so promise to deliver in double the time you expect to, and you will be about right (actually, I already knew that one, but haven’t actually put it into practice yet)
  • Check who is using IE6, make sure you’re nice to them
  • I am too optimistic when it comes to some things, and pessimistic when it comes to others. I need to swap those things.
  • If you have to work all weekend, it’s cheaper to feed your dev team on delicious things from the supermarket than spend too much on Thai
  • Sleep is underrated, don’t do without it