4:00AM Sunday Oct 18, 2009
By Alice Neville
Often time-poor and rarely social media-savvy, New
Zealand CEOs are following in the footsteps of
celebrities and politicians and hiring experts to "ghost-
Tweet" for them.
Businesses are increasingly using Twitter - which, for
those in the dark, is a social networking phenomenon
where users post 140-character mini-blogs called
But even if executives realise they should be online for Britney Spears. Photo / AP
the good of the company, the concept often baffles them.
The answer for some is to get their communications or marketing people to run a brand Twitter account for
them using the name of the company - Telecom, Vodafone and Air New Zealand are examples.
Some other chief executives go for the individual approach and set up a Twitter profile using their own
name - but they get someone else to Tweet.
"I ghost a couple of CEOs in New Zealand right now," social marketing consultant Courtney Lambert told a
recent conference in Auckland. "I'm not going to tell you who they are, but I pretend to be them online. This
is a stop-gap method that we're doing for them at the moment because it's impossible to get them online
One of those executives is Bede Ashby of Momentum Consulting, who employs Lambert to manage the
social media side of his company.
"I have advice on it because it's such a new area," says Ashby. "A lot of senior executives just don't have
time to focus on it, but we will need to in the future."
Lambert contributes to the Twitter presence but he does have input, Ashby says. "I will write the content
and she will advise me and tweak it a bit," he says.
Lambert wouldn't say who else she ghost-Tweeted for, as some were in their "pilot" phase.
In the world of celebrities, ghost-Tweeting is common - 50 Cent and Britney Spears employ people to
Tweet for them, and Barack Obama has a team.