People often ask me if it's OK to have multiple accounts on a single social media platform. The answer is - it entirely depends on the platform.
Individuals should only have one Facebook profile and one LinkedIn profile (as per their terms and conditions). A business can have a LinkedIn company page, and use showcase pages for specific products, brands or business units.
Over time, some users have inadvertently created multiple Google+ accounts - often because Google has made so many changes to its products. My advice is to keep your interaction with Google+ as simple as possible, with just one profile and one business account.
Best practice on Twitter
However, many firms opt for multiple Twitter accounts and there are often very good reasons for this. If you have disparate messages to send, creating separate accounts can be a great way to show a human side to a business and be more relevant to the various needs of your audiences.
You could consider having:
- A corporate account to provide updates on your company as a whole;
- A customer service account to answer questions and respond to comments;
- A product-led account to provide specific product news and information;
- Audience-led accounts focused on the needs of a target audience: for example, this could be location-specific if your business is international, or subject-specific.
It's a good idea to ask key individuals within your business to tweet. For example, messages from the business owner are great for thought leadership positioning and for raising your brand’s profile. Richard Branson is excellent at this.
If you have a number of customer-facing staff members, you could consider a unified approach to usernames, such as @CompanynameJohn and @CompanynameSarah. I believe that people-led accounts are important in building trust and relationships, but they should not replace a corporate Twitter account.
Do you really need several Twitter accounts?
Multiple Twitter accounts do require time and effort to manage so it's important to establish whether there's an appetite for them among your audience and if there's a business case for creating them in the first place.
If you're not sure how to progress, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Do they have multiple accounts? Review the type of responses and messages you are receiving from your audiences - what do they need from you? If you think it might be too complex to manage multiple accounts, consider how you might unify your content.
How to make one Twitter account work
I once facilitated a workshop at an event venue to discuss its social media presence. The venue hosted a variety of events from weddings to corporate conferences. Having different Twitter accounts for each type of event would be too time-consuming to manage, but to share wedding information alongside information on corporate events could alienate an audience.
The workshop concluded by deciding to focus on content-sharing and emphasise the versatility of the venue - highlighting events and key features such as food, staff and service, which make the venue the right choice for any occasion. That way, the Twitter account remained manageable but was able to meet the interests of a wider audience.
Copyright © 2017 Luan Wise, Marketing Donut's lead expert contributor on social media.
She is passionate about best practice and knowledge sharing and is the author of Relax! It's Only Social Media and a course instructor for Lynda.com, LinkedIn's online learning company.