Do We All Need Twitter Editors? [update]

This article first appeared on my blog 6 years ago, but I think it is still relevant with updates and insights for today’s environment.

In 2010 many companies were still not not open to the idea of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter because they couldn’t censor customer comments. But another important consideration is employee social talk with both the positive and negatives. Look at football players for example. Over the years there have been numerous examples of players hurting their team, university, the sport or their own personal brands through rash Twitter comments.

In the NFL the Philadelphia Eagles had a Tweetgate, where they had to apologize for Todd Herremans’ anti-homosexual tweet. And Raven’s Ray Rice tweeted about getting out of a ticket because he bribed the officer with an autograph for his son. In college football an Oklahoma player was suspended following inappropriate Twitter comments he made following a shooting incident at the University of Texas. A Utah player sparked a controversy with a comment he made about Boise State before the upcoming Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas. These NFL and college teams may have a Twitter communication plan, but these are players acting and reacting on their own. What is needed beyond marketing or PR involvement in social media is employee social media policies and training.

An example of a company with a Twitter plan that encourages employees to Tweet is In fact, there are just under 500 Zappos employees tweeting for the company. Sound like a management nightmare? They don’t seem to be tweeting off the cuff as much as football players. For example, two years ago the company had massive layoffs. Hundreds of employees reacted strongly on the company’s Twitter feed, but instead of a PR nightmare, it was something the company embraced. Instead of censoring laid off employees, Zappos remained as transparent as usual. In the end, employees appreciated it, management benefited and customers saw as a company from which they want to buy.

What’s the secret? Zappos invests heavily in employee training. They don’t just set them up with Twitter accounts and let them go. Zappos management equips employees with plenty of tools and guidelines to effectively tweet and represent the company online. The company also puts a lot of energy into hiring smart people.

Do you trust your company or organization’s employees with social media or could they benefit from some social media training?

Can Marketing Statistics Improve Your NFL Team?

Crosstabs is a popular statistical analysis in marketing research because it helps us see relationships between variables. It is a great way to see patterns in data that can lead to actionable marketing insights.

Since 1960 the NFL has rated its passers against a fixed performance standard called a passer rating. It is based on percentage of completions per attempt, average yards gained per attempt, percentage of touchdown passes per attempt and percentage of interceptions per attempt. The bottom is .000, the average is 1.000 and the maximum in any category is 2.375. The point rating is often converted into a scale of 100. In rare cases, it is possible for a passer to surpass a 100 rating – Steve Young’s 1994 season earned him a rating of 112.8. How do you ensure your home team gets a quarterback with a high passer rating?

Drafting and investing in a NFL Quarterback is big decision and long term investment for a team. That is why team owners, coaches and recruiters try to collect as much information as they can. Since 1968 the NFL has used the Wonderlic test (an IQ test) to measure the intelligence of would-be draftees. The Wonderlic test is scored from 0-50 points, and consists of fifty mathematic, language, and spatial problem questions asked in twelve minutes. A score of 24 is seen as average.

The Wonderlic test was in the news this last spring when Heisman Trophy winner and two time national championship winner Tim Tebow was reported as having a below average score of 22. The former Florida quarterback wowed evaluators on the field at the combine, but was seen as poor in his problem-solving abilities. Other quarterback prospects Sam Bradford of Oklahoma (36), Colt McCoy of Texas (25) and Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame (23) all scored higher than Tebow. Is this a real test of Tebow’s potential? According to reports, he graduated with a 3.66 GPA majoring in family, youth and community services.

Does the Wonderlic test accurately predict quarterback performance? That is the question I would like answered with a crosstab analysis. To do this you would gather Wonderlic Test scores and career average NFL quarterback ratings for the last 40 years and see if there’s a positive linear relationship between a quarter back’s Wonderilc Test and their actually performance on the field over the course of their career. What NFL teams could learn from this is whether or not they are using an accurate gauge to make this important decision.

The reason this is important is because there have been document cases of run-of-the-mill NFL quarterbacks with high Wonderlic numbers such as Alex Smith (40) and Matt Leinart (35). While Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Jim Kelly (both 15) and an established star like Donovan McNabb (14) have excelled on the field despite low Wonderlic numbers. Could this marketing research technique help improve our team?