Should I have one or two Twitter accounts as an entrepreneur?

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Is it necessary to have separate Twitter accounts for personal and company matters? Before that question is answered, one should take these things into consideration. The first thing to do is to ask yourself what you are going to be branding your self as. Are you building a brand which is a standalone third party brand, or are you the name or the brand of the company? If you’re running a personality-based business, then the website domain name and social media accounts may all have your name, in which case, whatever you’re saying on Twitter, will be both your personality and your company offering. So, to begin with, determine what kind of business you are building. 

The second question to ask yourself is with whom you are looking to communicate on social media. If you have one audience that’s going to receive all information without any filtering, then you could have one account. But if you’re looking to have your own personal lifestyle commentary, or if you want to share things that are intimate and may be political, religious, or preference-based, then the question is if you would want your customers to see that. If the answer is yes, then that’s fine. Take the Kardashians for instance. There is no line between who they are in social media and who they are in their business lives. They are selling who they are and how they live. On the other hand, for businesses like airlines or restaurants, social media is meant for managing consumers of their services. So, who are you looking to connect with on your social media platform?

The next aspect is in terms the content. If the content is essentially personal, is it going to be of a quality that would ensure that someone would want to buy from your company? It could be content that is of the calibre that your company would like to promote when it comes to products or services, or it could end up being content that you find amusing and fun but is not of interest to the people that you want to be a customer. Personal Twitter accounts can be one-liners, they can be inaccurate, they can be something humorous that you like but isn’t verified, but a company account needs to have credibility. So, think about the quality of the content that you can share.

SPEAK|pr: Amplification

In the SPEAK|pr methodology of Storify, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, and to Know, the next element falls under Amplification. If a key part of the amplification of content is going to be other people, then the content could be social, and the hope is that other people like it and share it. But if the goal is for other companies to follow and share the content yet others do not find the content compelling enough to share or talk about, then ask yourself whether you want to have one personal and one professional account. So, if you want to amplify content, who would you want to amplify it? If it’s other people, use a personal account; if it’s other companies, use a professional account.

Another thing to consider is the workload. If the content is going to be different across the platforms, then automated amplification tools like Buffer, Zoho, HubSpot, or Hootsuite will not be of much help yet, because there is still the need to generate two different kinds of content, one which is B2B and one which is essentially personal. However, there are great tools like Lately where you can put in a podcast, a video, or another social media post, and they’ll automatically generate a number of iterations of that piece of content which can be used for personal tweets or professional ones. What can’t be done is blur the two, as this requires two content generation strategies, one for the personal account and one for the professional account. Because these will go out to different audiences, the content will need to be different. 

On the grounds that the average tweet lasts about 18 minutes, to get followers, one would need to tweet at least five times a day for companies under 100 followers. That is one way to build followership. That means one would need to create either five unique tweets per day or 10 tweets if you have two accounts. Again, with Lately, they can easily create that many tweets for you using technology for $200 a month, but you have to ask yourself the question whether it’s worth the cost for the amount of content for the amount of followers. 

Next, if you are going to be creating more work for yourself, then think about the ROI and how it will be achieved. If you’ve got two channels, you’ve got two amounts of content, but it’s not just the content. You’ve got to get followers, because content without followers is like speaking into an empty room. One has to actively engage by following, following back, and reposting content from other accounts that you would want to have a relationship with. You’ve got to be thinking about the amount of content, but also the amount of follow-up work that you’re doing in order to get that content engaged with the various audiences, and keep in mind the responsibilities and the activities when you do that. 

One, two, or three accounts?

Photo from Sprout Social

Some people set up a second account for a brand account, and they might then have multiple brands within a portfolio. For example, a restaurant could have franchises in different locations along with local events and local promotions for a particular branch. The main brand could be sharing common content, but then there are also Twitter accounts that post local information. Big companies often have one global account as well as regional and in-country accounts. Some 50% of the content comes from the global accounts, and then 50% comes from the local accounts, but it does take management.

Another aspect to having a second account could be the Twitter customer service accounts. More and more companies now have a customer service account on Twitter, and this is becoming a major platform for handling customer inquirie. It’s not just about making a phone call or filling out a form now. You could be using Twitter to manage your customer service, the result of that being a consolidation of all the service tickets sent to the company with direct messages where people have got questions about a product or service. 

In summary, one could have a personal account, a brand account with promotions, and then a third account for customer service. Having three accounts to manage seems like a lot of work. Luckily, you can get a bot to manage it for you. They are now fairly common, especially where people are just using those to repurpose content, but err on the side of caution as some customers might not find the automated responses helpful. But if done right, it’s like a glorified Real Simple Syndication or RSS feed but going out to Twitter. 

Photo from SproutSocial

Another way of using Twitter is to have an industry-curated account. In other words, rather than trying to generate all your own dedicated content, you could be an editor with a Twitter account where you’re going in and finding content using applications like Scoop that finds headlines according to keywords, and then you can just repost those. The reason people do this is because if it’s part of a suite of accounts along with the website and blog, this could position one as an authority or a credible source of information, and this may help with SEO, especially if other people start to retweet your content from your own curator account. 

Twitter is a hungry engine. Every 18 to 20 minutes, tweets could lose their relevance, and as mentioned in the SPEAK|pr program, it’s not just about how many accounts and how much content one has, but also when it’s going to be posted or schedule. For an account that’s sharing personal content, it will probably be read by people in their personal time as well. If you’re sending business content, people are going to be reading that during their business time. 

To answer the question on whether one should have more than one account on Twitter,  the answer is that you can, but only after thoroughly thinking through the workload implications. Remember that when using social media for business, the information shared needs to reflect the brand positioning of the organisation. It might be better to  start with one account first and manage it well than to have two accounts that are both managed poorly because they take so much time and the ROI in terms of revenue is not direct. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but hopefully these tips help you make a decision on how many Twitter accounts you need and what type of accounts those will be to share what you’re doing so that you get the value that you deserve out of the business.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo byBrett Jordan on Unsplash

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