In the past few weeks, we have seen big businesses crumble and stagger because of tweets. The bird can really sing. It is not the first time that local nightlife businesses have proven to provide poor services, but this time they were playing out of their league with mediocre players.

We are in an era where the inter-generational gap is unprecedentedly wide. (If you don’t believe this, try explaining to your parents what you do, if your job has anything to do with computers.) Now, business executives and leaders of institutions are trying so hard to embrace this Internet shift (beyond sending emails), yet very few are willing to pay the relative price.

Everyone out here wants to have an online presence, so they look for a younger person in the company and tell them to manage their social media accounts, mostly because they have some online followers, but little do they understand that followers are not the end game. I have seen contracts where online presence performance is measured based on followers accumulated over a period of time but not the content produced, let alone the context.

It is about time business people and institutions understand that branding and social media marketing goes beyond a person holding a phone and tweeting or posting on Facebook. It is an area that requires professionals, just like any other serious business, who actually understand how things work – and they are not cheap. The results of hiring incompetent branding and online publicists, or leaving it to anyone, can be catastrophic. (If you doubt, ask PiliPili or Cocobean, just to name a few of the latest.)

Quick advice: Next time you (as a business executive) want to hire an online publicist, take time to interview them, see if they relate to your business spirit, check if they understand the company values and evaluate how they manage conflicts because you are hiring the face of your company. Also, and this is equally important, prepare a budget for it because photos, videos, graphics, and words don’t fall from the sky.

At the end of the day, an online presence is nothing but a community that understands and would like to stay updated on what you do. If businesses and brands are not ready to commit, they’d rather not have the presence at all and stick to old school.

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