Strategies for juggling multiple Twitter accounts

March 23, 2011

Another question from a reader!

Emma writes (I’m sharing this with her permission):

I am a regular reader of your blog (The Traveling Writer), and I would love to get your opinion on managing multiple social media identities.

For my day job, I am a co-author (with two psychologists who are professional colleagues) of The 8 Dimensions of Leadership: DiSC Strategies for Becoming a Better Leader, which is being published by Berrett-Koehler next month. At work, we’re trying to figure out the best way to manage multiple twitter accounts. Two co-authors have their own (I’m @emmasota; Jeff is @jeffreysugerman), we have a book account (@8dimensionsbook), and we have a corporate account (@everything_disc). Any thoughts on how best to coordinate? For example, is it preferable to have the book account retweet the authors, or vice versa?

In my personal life, I am writing a memoir (hence my interest in your blog) and have a personal blog (www.emmawilhelm.com). Does it make sense to promote our business book there, too, or is it better to keep those worlds separate? I have mentioned the business book on my personal blog, but not at any great length.

Here’s what I told Emma:

Congrats on the book launch! And kudos for using social media to spread the word.

Have too many Twitter accounts?

Have too many Twitter accounts?

First off, your goal should be to have as few Twitter handles as possible. Partly because you have to update them, so more handles means more work for you, and partly because having more than one handle can work against you by splitting your audience. If you are going to have more than one account, make sure you’re tweeting entirely different content, because no one wants to follow two accounts that tweet the same stuff.

My question to you would be — because I don’t know enough about what you do to answer this myself — do you really need the book account? Do you really need the book account and the company account?

Especially for the book, consider folding it into your personal account. In most instances, I don’t see a book alone having enough Twitter fodder to grow a wide audience, and people prefer to follow a person rather than a book anyhow. (Of course, there are always exceptions, especially if you’re doing something creative.)

Without a doubt, mesh your personal and business worlds if possible. It all depends on what’s appropriate for what you write about and who your audience is. For some industries, meshing works well, while in others, it may not be a good idea. But why not take advantage of your followers in both places? People who follow your personal account probably care about your book, too. (This is another reason why you should consider having just one handle.)

For coordinating with team members, I like Hootsuite, which makes it easy to see who’s tweeting what under a joint account. If you really feel you must keep all these accounts, tweet info from the one that’s most pertinent, and then RT that from the other accounts. But if you find yourself RTing every tweet, that’s another sign you should just have one handle, your name.

I deal with this myself because I tweet as both @alexisgrant and @USNewsCareers. Occasionally I RT career advice under my personal handle that I originally tweeted from my work account, but besides that, I generally tweet about different topics in those two places. While I’m almost always a fan of sticking to one account and mixing personal with professional, in this case it just didn’t work because @USNewsCareers is all career advice, and I didn’t want to overwhelm my personal followers — which tend to be writers, travelers, journalists and social media types — with job-search advice. It also allows me to build both the @USNewsCareers brand and my own brand. But if your book or your company is you or you and one other person, why not focus on building the brand of you? And people who know you will buy your book or hire your company.

That’s more than my two cents. Anybody have any advice to add?

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