Multiple (Twitter) Personalities

Today, on the Twooting podcast, we talked about having multiple Twitter accounts. It was a great conversation, and I’ve made it available for you here.

Figuring Out Multiple Accounts

There are several reasons why you might want to have more than one Twitter account.

  • You have several Twitter goals and you can’t meet them with one account.
  • You want to engage distinct and separate Twitter communities.

For example, you might want to have separate Twitter accounts for these conversations:

  • Peers vs. clients. You may want to talk shop and exchange advice or tips with other people in your industry. You may not want to have those conversations in front of your clients.
  • Clients vs. potential clients. You may talk more about benefits and the features of your services and products with potential clients, and talk nitty gritty details with your clients.
  • Friends vs. business. You may want to arrange tweetups or chat with people you met at a tweetup and not do that in front of your clients.
  • English vs. another language. If you speak more than one language, you may want to engage separate communities based on language.

Keep in mind that nothing you say on Twitter is ever private. So don’t get the wrong idea that if you have a separate account for peers and clients, for example, that you can trash talk your clients on your peer account, or vice versa.

There are also good reasons not to create separate accounts.

  • You like having one voice. You like the transparency of saying “this is me” and sharing both personal and business information in the same account. It’s part of who you are, no matter whether you are talking business or personal.
  • Your business is a personal business. For example, my friend @PhxREGuy sells real estate and has just one account because he believes his clients want to hear about his family activities interspersed with his real estate tips.

In the end, it’s a personal choice you make. There isn’t any right or wrong answer. It’s about what works for you, and that may change over time.

When I first started using two accounts (I have four today), I floundered and wondered if I had made a mistake about starting the second account. After some time where I experimented with different things, I found my groove with multiple accounts. I could have decided to go back to one account and I would have made that work, also. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what works for you.

Mapping The Differences

Two Twitter accounts are double the fun and double the work.

Two Twitter accounts are double the fun and double the work.

If you want to give multiple accounts a try, or if you have multiple accounts and you aren’t quite happy with the results yet, here are some things to consider with managing multiple Twitter accounts.

  • Account names. When possible, you want to have an appropriate name for your accounts. A nickname works well for a personal account, but might not help brand you with a business account.
  • Account profiles. With two accounts, you need two different profiles, and two different avatars for people who might follow both accounts. Create a different Twitter landing pages for each account where you explain what you talk about in each account, and give each account an appropriate bio. You want to make it easy for someone who doesn’t already know you to figure out which account they want to follow.
  • Follow policy. Decide whom you want in your community, in your conversation zone, and set up your follow policy accordingly. For example, I limit the size of my personal account to the number of people I feel I can know and engage. However, for my business account, I want to connect to a community of my peers, so I follow everyone I meet in my industry. This means I can’t know the business account community members as well or engage them the same way I do with my personal account, but that’s okay. I still meet my account goal.
  • What to tweet. Make a bulleted list of the kinds of tweets you make for each account. You may find there is a gray area, tweets that can go into both or either account. When you have a tweet in the gray area, think about the overlap between your communities. If you have a lot of overlap, I recommend that you make a choice and just tweet in one account. However, if you have little overlap, you can either:  a) tweet in one and retweet in the other, or b) tweet the same tweet in both accounts, or c) tweet in both accounts, but rewrite it so it isn’t word for word the same.
  • Figure our your tools. Unfortunately, Twitter.com doesn’t allow you to log into separate accounts at the same time. You must decide either to split your time between accounts, or find a tool that allows multiple accounts at the same time, such as Twhirl or Tweetie.
  • Make sure you have enough time. It’s a lot of work to maintain two or more Twitter accounts. Not only is the conversation to maintain, but you have community management tasks for each account. I found it was a bigger time commitment than I expected.

Using Multiple Accounts

For many people and many situations, having multiple Twitter accounts is a good strategy. The challenge of finding a good set of tools and investing the time pays off because of the goals met. If you are thinking about trying multiple accounts, start first with one account. Get your feet wet and get some Twitter experience with a single account. Take what you have learned with one account to set up your multiple account strategy. Be prepared to experiment until you get a set up that really works. As a multiple account person, I’m very happy with the results I get from this strategy.

Your turn: Do you have multiple accounts? Here’s your chance to share with us what works for you, and what challenges you still face. Use the comments to this post to share your experience.

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About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

7 Responses to “Multiple (Twitter) Personalities”

  1. May I also recommend Seesmic (www.seesmic.com/ )for multiple twitter accounts @GryphonDesign

    Dawn Vukson-Van Beek’s last blog post..Slipping up and Starting Again

  2. Charlene says:

    Dawn: Thanks for sharing. It’s always good to hear recommendations for tools.

  3. Rhonda says:

    Hi Charlene

    The two links you recommend at the end don’t work properly:
    * the Twirl one times out (it goes to thwirl.org too, not twirl as you spelled it, so I’m not sure if it’s a typo though I did try multiple variations of it with .com as well)
    * The Tweetie one goes to a Wikipedia page and then you have to find how to get to the app’s page (which is http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-iphone/), and then you find that it seems to only be for the iPhone, which is no good if you don’t have an iPhone! There’s also a Mac version, but nothing for Windows.

    Also that Seesmic URL never did display properly for me, but it looks like it’s a Twitter clone, not an app that allows multiple Twitter accounts (I could be wrong — as I said it took so long to display that I closed it each time I tried it on and off over about 4 hours)

    I’d love to find an app that deals with multiple Twitter accounts, and that works on Windows.

    Rhonda’s last blog post..Even everyday objects need clear writing

  4. Charlene says:

    Rhonda: I had the same problem with the Twhirl link (I did have a typo in the post). The link is correct, but the site is having problems. I linked to the Wikipedia page on purpose because the Atebits site wasn’t working when I created the post. It is a better link, and so I’ve updated it.

    I’m not sure what’s up with Twhirl’s website. My Twhirl software is working fine even though their site seems to be down. I use Twhirl every day, but if I could get Tweetie to work on my PC, I’d switch in a heartbeat. I’m still looking for good tools for multiple accounts.

  5. Amanda Blum says:

    While I know the majority worships at the altar of tweetdeck, since I have both mutliple accounts (personal, biz, clients) and actual work to do on my computer rather than just stare at the massive footprint of TD, I am a long convert to seesmic products. These include twhirl and newly: seesmic desktop.

    Twhirl has many advantages: each account gets its own window, with @ and DMs having their own tab. It maintains a very small footprint, and while minimized will continue to give you visual and audio clues that you have an @ or DM message. Awesome.

    The release of seesmic desktop worried me because it claims to be like tweetdeck, which again, I find annoying. I have instead found it to be a great tool that I’m enjoying. Since they will be phasing out Twhirl in favor of Seesmic Desktop, it’s a good thing. Instead of each account having its own window, you can easily tab between as many accounts as you like, and you have the ability to expand the window horizontally to as many panes as you like, offering the best of tweetdeck and twhirl. Personally, I keep it small. Easy follow/unfollow, creation of lists, and integration of Facebook updates, again, like Tweetdeck. Still have the audio and visual cues to @ and DM that Tweetdeck lacks and nicely tabbed access to them.

    Overall, Seesmic Desktop gets my vote for best client for multiple accounts. Its still in Beta, but so far, its more stable that Twhirl has been over the last year.

    You can download seesmic desktop here: http://desktop.seesmic.com/ – bottom right, big button that says “install now”. Of course, you must have Adobe Air already installed.

  6. Great feedback on the utilization of multiple account Charlene. While I try to practice most of what you had mentioned, I have decided to become a little more disciplined on the account management side of things.

    For example, I had been following whoever would pay attention to the baseball blog as a courtesy but, would get hammered with product marketing in my stream. I have decided to only to follow reporters, athletes and other knowledgeable fans with that account. That move has been a benefit to both expanding my point of view and my ability to manage responses.

    Paul Martinez’s last blog post..I Heart Tweetie for Mac

  7. Charlene says:

    Always great to hear from the amazing Phoenix peeps (and former peeps).

    Amanda: Thanks for sharing all of that info! I’ve avoided Seesmic desktop for the same reason. I will have to give it a try. Lots of good info here for people. Thanks.

    Paul: I hear you on the change of strategy. I have a different follow policy on each of my accounts, and being focused does make a big different. I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from your story here. Thanks.

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