Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Over-Excited Federal Taxation Agency

Without naming names (I’ll give you a hint, it starts with I and ends in S), sometimes agencies get a little too excited when it comes to social media and make the mistake of jumping in head first without analyzing their target audience’s needs. In the case of the IRS, they’re forgetting that tax dodgers know they use Twitter and Facebook to track down tax evaders (hey, if you’re dumb enough to tweet about your five years of unfiled returns, you totally have it coming) and therefore also forgetting that this might turn a few potential followers off from their feeds.

Despite that, the IRS is happy to announce several new Twitter feeds, including one specifically for Spanish-speaking taxpayers. Hola!

The IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, provides the latest federal tax news and information for taxpayers. The focus of the IRS Twitter messages will be on easy-to-use information, including tax tips, tax law changes and important IRS programs such as e-file, the earned income tax credit and “Where’s My Refund.” Anyone with a Twitter account can follow @IRSnews by going to http://twitter.com/IRSnews.

Another important IRS Twitter feed, @IRStaxpros, is designed for the tax professional community. Follow @IRStaxpros by going to http://twitter.com/IRStaxpros. The IRS also tweets tax news and information in Spanish at @IRSenEspanol. Follow this Twitter feed by going to http://twitter.com/IRSenEspanol.

The IRS Twitter feeds will work in conjunction with IRS.gov and the IRS YouTube channels to bring IRS information direct to taxpayers. Since August of 2009, there have been more than 1 million views of videos on the IRSvideos (http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos), IRS multilingual (http://www.youtube.com/user/IRSvideosmultilingua) and IRS American Sign Language (ASL) (http://www.youtube.com/IRSvideosASL) channels.

What’s doing it wrong about this? Maybe the fact that the IRS keeps pumping out Twitter feeds a la PwC (who, last time I checked, had a good 30 – 50 Twitter accounts, each with a varying specialty) but still hasn’t learned how to engage, which is an important component to social media as any of us with half a social media brain already know. Twitter users don’t want to be shouted at, they generally want to interact! If I want tax news, I’m far more likely to follow Don’t Mess With Taxes and get it from her instead of wasting my time plugging into a spammy news feed run by our almighty Treasury Department.

Just sayin.

Without naming names (I’ll give you a hint, it starts with I and ends in S), sometimes agencies get a little too excited when it comes to social media and make the mistake of jumping in head first without analyzing their target audience’s needs. In the case of the IRS, they’re forgetting that tax dodgers know they use Twitter and Facebook to track down tax evaders (hey, if you’re dumb enough to tweet about your five years of unfiled returns, you totally have it coming) and therefore also forgetting that this might turn a few potential followers off from their feeds.

Despite that, the IRS is happy to announce several new Twitter feeds, including one specifically for Spanish-speaking taxpayers. Hola!

The IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, provides the latest federal tax news and information for taxpayers. The focus of the IRS Twitter messages will be on easy-to-use information, including tax tips, tax law changes and important IRS programs such as e-file, the earned income tax credit and “Where’s My Refund.” Anyone with a Twitter account can follow @IRSnews by going to http://twitter.com/IRSnews.

Another important IRS Twitter feed, @IRStaxpros, is designed for the tax professional community. Follow @IRStaxpros by going to http://twitter.com/IRStaxpros. The IRS also tweets tax news and information in Spanish at @IRSenEspanol. Follow this Twitter feed by going to http://twitter.com/IRSenEspanol.

The IRS Twitter feeds will work in conjunction with IRS.gov and the IRS YouTube channels to bring IRS information direct to taxpayers. Since August of 2009, there have been more than 1 million views of videos on the IRSvideos (http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos), IRS multilingual (http://www.youtube.com/user/IRSvideosmultilingua) and IRS American Sign Language (ASL) (http://www.youtube.com/IRSvideosASL) channels.

What’s doing it wrong about this? Maybe the fact that the IRS keeps pumping out Twitter feeds a la PwC (who, last time I checked, had a good 30 – 50 Twitter accounts, each with a varying specialty) but still hasn’t learned how to engage, which is an important component to social media as any of us with half a social media brain already know. Twitter users don’t want to be shouted at, they generally want to interact! If I want tax news, I’m far more likely to follow Don’t Mess With Taxes and get it from her instead of wasting my time plugging into a spammy news feed run by our almighty Treasury Department.

Just sayin.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles