When an organization other than Wendy’s or Taco Bell increases its Twitter sass, social media users might expect its been hacked.
That assumption isn’t always correct, however: Even serious organizations can have fun online.
On Tuesday, entrepreneur Mark Cuban took issue with tweets that came from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s official Fort Worth account, pointing out that they didn’t fit with what you’d expect from a government agency.
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) June 21, 2017
What Cuban failed to see is that the pun-riddled missives that pepper the @ FortWorth_SEC account are actually part of the team’s social media strategy. Specifically, they come straight from the mind of the organization’s top official, regional director Shamoil T. Shipchandler.
PR Daily spoke with Shipchandler about the Twitter account, which he took over in April 2016. The office’s mission, he said, is “to protect investors and to protect shareholders.”
Much of the content that Shipchandler and his team produces is geared toward industry or securities practitioners, and not necessarily, Shipchandler says, “the very people we’re here to protect.”
So, he started injecting some into the agency’s tweets. Here’s a sampling of his finest work:
Warning: if you are ever kidnapped by mimes, they may perform unspeakable acts on you.
— SEC Fort Worth (@FortWorth_SEC) June 21, 2017
Has anyone ever actually tried putting their ducks in a row? It doesn’t work. They waddle off. Maybe we’re doing it wrong.
— SEC Fort Worth (@FortWorth_SEC) April 20, 2017
Arch enemies. Do the catenary ones not like the parabolic ones, or what?
— SEC Fort Worth (@FortWorth_SEC) April 19, 2017
What if people trying to quit cold turkey are actually trying to quit cold turkey?
— SEC Fort Worth (@FortWorth_SEC) April 10, 2017
We accidentally misspelled a word by putting in too many letters “a.” Now we have irritable vowel syndrome.
— SEC Fort Worth (@FortWorth_SEC) February 23, 2017
Anyone who appreciates creative efforts—or a good dad joke—has to appreciate Shipchandler’s handy work. What started as an experiment more than a year ago has turned into a way to reach beyond the policy wonks.
“What I’m hoping to do is through social media reach a much broader audience of individuals who could be potential victims someday, or people who are going to be investors in the capital markets,” Shipchandler said.
He noted that the audience for the SEC Fort Worth’s Twitter musings are “just normal people out there who wouldn’t otherwise pay attention to the stuff that the commission produces but for [the fact that we’re] having a little fun with it and having something stick in their mind.”
You might be thinking: “That’s great, but is it working?”
The SEC Fort Worth account’s more than 4,800 followers are the most of any regional SEC office. (The Boston account comes in second at roughly 2,900 followers.)
We’re seeing tremendously more engagement in the tweets that we have, and we’re seeing a lot more people clicking through to the links to get to the website. That’s something that’s great.
Tweets still have to go through a review process, and the social media team is not allowed to respond to users, though Shipchandler does monitor the conversation.
What about the creative process? Shipchandler says he gets his best ideas on his commute to and from work.
“I just think of what would I find interesting or what would I find amusing and then I kind of take it from there,” he says.
Journalists have taken note of Shipchandler’s strategy. The Fort Worth SEC’s Twitter account has been featured in the December 2016 Wall Street Journal piece “How to Tweet if You’re in Government and Not Donald Trump: Write,Review, Edit, Seek Approval, Wait, Edit, (Maybe) Send.”
The account was also featured as the quote of the day in The New York Times’ Deal Book newsletter in November 2016.
Cuban had it wrong: The account is not, was not, and has never been hacked.
As for the dad jokes? Shipchandler plans to keep them coming.