Does More Than One Corporate Twitter Account Work?

MarkEvans
Mark Evans Principal, ME Consulting

Posted on September 21st 2010

I came across a company recently that was excited about getting launching itself into Twitter; so excited, in fact, that it talked about having multiple Twitter accounts: one for corporate activity and others for products and services.

My advice was this was ill-advised because it would dilute its efforts by splitting activity between different accounts. Instead, I recommend the company focused on a single account out of the gate, and then roll out new accounts once it had gained some traction and got some experience in using Twitter.

On the surface, this seemed like a good recommendation. But was it the right advice? We are talking about a major company with lots of products and millions of customers. Despite its inexperience with Twitter and social media, the company does deal with a variety of audiences that could be served from multiple Twitter accounts.

My reluctance to suggest a multi-pronged approach was mostly due to the lack of available resources. The last thing I wanted to see was the company blast out with several Twitter accounts, only to see its efforts fail due to poor content or a lack of activity and engagement.

It does raise the question about how many Twitter accounts a company should or could have. Dell, for example, has more than 80 Twitter accounts. The big issue is there are enough audiences to justify multiple Twitter accounts and, as important, the resources available to support them.

At the end of the day, having multiple Twitter accounts can work as long as each account serves a specific purpose. For example, it may make sense to have a corporate account, an account for specific products, and an account for customer service. And, of course, you need people to power these accounts.

That said, most companies should probably walk before they run on Twitter by starting with a single account. It gives a company with first-hand experience on what’s involved, the content it should be providing, and the audiences it wants to serve.

Armed with this knowledge, a company can then determine whether having another account makes sense, and what audiences it needs to serve next.

(Mark Evans is director of communications for Sysomos Inc.)

MarkEvans

Mark Evans

Principal, ME Consulting

ME Consulting is a strategic communications and content consultancy that works with start-ups and fast-growing companies looking to drive their marketing, communications and content activities. Our services include core messaging, content development, business development, social media strategy and tactics, corporate videos and pitch creation so companies can effectively deliver messaging and stories that engage and resonate with target audiences. We’re hands-on and collaborative, and see ourselves as honest brokers and a trusted partner who bring a unique set of skills from working in the traditional media, start-up and social media worlds.
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Comments

Posted on September 21st 2010 at 11:40AM

I think you're absolutely right.   Multiple Twitter feeds are great when you're at a point where you can begin segmenting your tweeps but it pays you to listen first and take that action later when you know what expectation your 'audience' has of your feed.

Entering the social media arena isn't just about blasting a load of tweets out there.  The first few weeks - if not months - should be spent 'listening' in on your audience and then developing a strategy that fulfils those with a 'need'.   

Multiple Twitter feeds work for large companies like Dell because they 'speak' to a vast variety of communities and feed their 'needs'.  Multiple Twitter feeds also take dedication and time to run and when you start out on social media it makes more sense to concentrate your efforts into single 'streams' of activity to raise your overall online visibility while you listen to your 'market'.

Twitter is great for that and can often give you a direction in strategy for social media that you didn't think of.

My advice?  Start with a single Twitter feed and participate but, listen too.

Posted on September 21st 2010 at 1:58PM

Making more than one account was my first error when I started planning the social media strategy of my company.

I basically thought that making an account for each business unit was the way to go, to be a little more specific in audience and goals.

Of course, you then notice it's hard enough to find people to man even one of those accounts or content to fuel it, and the suggestions of running a good one rather than several bad ones immediately appears sensible.

I guess for most small businesses one corporate account is more than enough. Key figures in the company, like C-suits or whatnot, can keep a personal/corporate account to give a more human side of the company, that's actually what I encourage but of course that's easier said than done, as well.

DamienSaunders1
Posted on September 22nd 2010 at 7:23AM

Hi Mark

great article --- I was also writing about the same topic and do suggest clients to have 2 twitter accounts if the active Twitter users in that country is big enough.

I think you are saying that if the client does not understand why they are using Twitter - they should not have a multi-account strategy (same would be true about starting to use Twitter and Facebook).

I like the Dell Offers or Vodafone Deal Twitter accounts - their purpose is to meet the customer needs for potential shoppers - very different to a brand trying to use Twitter for marketing promotions or customer service

thanks

 

Damien

 

 

Posted on January 16th 2011 at 4:58PM

This, to my mind, is another case in which one size does not fit all. Like most things in life, it's a case of different strokes for different folks.

The classic advice would be to run a single account so as not to dilute resources, but might it not be more prudent to see how the company seeks to use the tool called twitter.

I know of a one man band where the owner has a personal account but which clearly identifies the company, and also a corporate account run on strictly business lines by an outside 'consultant' and between these 2 accounts, they appeared to have conquered the twittershpere at least till the next big thing comes along.

Posted on March 23rd 2011 at 11:15AM

Mark this is a great post!  I was working with a client a few weeks ago and we came across the same issue - he was wanting to launch into social media and was planning on starting 5 different accounts (Twitter; Facebook) for the different segments/markets that his company serves.

After some time spent in discussions we came to the conclusion that it would serve them best to just start with a single account and use that to get accustomed to using these services and begin to shape their social presence and then after that has been done, if they still feel that it is necessary then they can branch out to other accounts.