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Managing Social Media

A lot of people have asked us recently how we manage and run the Phil Young social media account, so we thought we’d put together an article explaining how it works. There’s no big secret, of course, just a lot of organisation and really hard work.

Choosing an identity

As everyone knows, tweeting from a personal account is so much more powerful than a faceless company, so it was pretty much a given that we would use an individuals name. Rather than choose a name at random we selected Phil Young for a number of reasons, and it was ranked highly by our marketing agency for strength, brevity and memorability.

Phil is, or was, a real person. He worked for us some years ago in a relatively junior position, which gave us instant credibility when we acquired his name – it’s got to be authentic, right!. We assume he’s still alive as we still pay him the small retainer for use of his name as agreed in his compromise agreement, and no-one has advised us to the contrary. Hopefully, the money has assisted with his recovery.

This does give us occasional problems when posting photos. Anyone with a pair of eyes will have noticed that we’ve used several different models over the years, as there’s lots of continuity errors. We know it’s a bit unrealistic, at the moment he’s sporting a beard. Our current model, Rafael Rico Himenez, says playing the role has made him a minor celebrity in his native Venezuela.

Creating a personal brand

Everyone needs a personal brand. How would we survive without one? It’s not the same as a reputation for a number of reasons, which we won’t list. We workshopped the various ideas everyone brought to the table, facilitated by our marketing agency. We came up with a short list of ones we liked:

  1. Stinking bishop

  2. Relaxed Nazi

  3. Aubergine shotgun

  4. Ezra George

Our IP lawyers ruled one out as it was the name of a Bristol based singer/songwriter and another as it’s a type of cheese.

And ones we didn’t like:

  1. Hairy fairy

  2. Real-time racist

  3. Spunky backpack

It’s important to come up with two words – an adjective then a noun, not one. If you just have one adjective that would be a brand value, and we didn’t have enough budget to stretch to those as well.

In the end we settled with ‘responsible arsonist’.

Planning activity

Whilst we have various social media accounts, we use twitter most. As you can imagine, it takes quite a lot of planning to keep everything relevant and in one with our strict brand guidelines.

We typically begin the day with a kick start meeting at 7.45 where we discuss the ‘on trend’ topics and ideas for industry ‘thought leadership’. We like ‘thought leadership’, and talk about that a lot.

Ideas will often go to our external creative department, we outsource all our creatives to an agency who take our brief, come back with something often very different from what we asked for (they think laterally) and we push it backwards and forwards several times until it’s right. It can take time, and they bill by the hour, but it’s a fulfilling process, and we’re encouraged to express ourselves. There are posters in the office telling us to.

Being ‘authentic’

It’s vital so show some of your personality online so we use the ‘classic’ ratio of using one business tweet for every 7.39 personal tweets issued. No more, no less.

Managing risk

Each and every word is carefully considered by the whole team. That can be up to eight people who work and sign off on every tweet. As you can imagine it’s quite a task just co-ordinating it. Fortunately, we have an extremely efficient workflow management system which only costs a few thousand pounds per month. It’s invaluable, and means we can have a tweet signed off and ready for submission in literally weeks. Goodbye lengthy turnaround times.

Collaborating with other professionals

It’s important to share experiences, and we meet up regularly with the teams that run the twitter accounts for @dom_justintime and @BankersUmbrella. They’re far more successful, but then again we’ve only got a small team of eight working on the Phil Young account, we’re always envious of the huge resources they have at their disposal.


For most of our blogs we don’t want to be direct in saying what we think, so we use an analogy instead. Sometimes that can run to three or four pages, with just one sentence at the end hinting at the point we were trying to make. Also, we only ever issue a blog on a Friday afternoon, as people only read things then when they are ‘winding down for the weekend’. We have a checklist we work to for blogs; it has to be light hearted, include a lengthy analogy, mention ‘the kids’ and what your ‘other half’ has planned for you for the weekend, and end with an upbeat statement with an exclamation mark at the end! If it’s a big announcement, two exclamation marks!!

Driving shareholder value through online ROI via strategic and differentiated personal brand management which creates added value capability, strategically.

That’s what it’s all about.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. See you on the information superhighway. Don’t forget to say ‘Hi!’.

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