Managing Corporate Twitter Accounts

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There aren't many things simpler than the concept of Twitter. You've got 140 characters to let the world know what you're up to...Simples right? Whether you're an individual or a company, there are a number of reasons why you should get yourself online and embrace Twitter.

From an individual's perspective, Twitter offers you the opportunity to communicate with your peers, keep up-to-date with all the breaking news and also find out what your celebrity idols are up to on a day-to-day basis. You can have a bit of fun on Twitter too, and you never know, you might even get your 15 minutes of fame as a result of the social platform.

From a company point-of-view, there are, again, a plethora of benefits associated with using Twitter. In short, with search engines basing an increasing portion of their ranking algorithm on social signals these days, how you use Twitter is pretty fundamental to how your website will rank within the natural SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

An interesting use of Twitter, which we've seen many times in the past, is when Twitter profiles are setup to deal quite specifically with their customer service enquiries, and this creative use of realtime technology has been rather successful to say the least.

Despite the numerous benefits, corporate Twitter accounts can prove costly at times. There are a number of things to remember when setting up your own company profile, and/or when you're managing a client's Twitter profile. I've composed a couple of tips in order to make sure you don't end up with egg on your face!

Choose a user structure, create user guidelines and stick to them!

Some companies choose to operate multiple Twitter accounts, rather than just one single, centralised account. Often, these multiple accounts will take the form of an organisation's name, followed by the individual's name. Laura Kuenssberg, ITV's Business Editor for example, tweets under the Twitter name '@ITVLauraK'. The problem with this naming convention surfaces when the individual in question, moves jobs - as Laura did recently, moving from BBC to ITV. Following her move, Laura needed to inform everyone that she has moved to a different name, and this, of course, takes time, and many of her 59,000 followers probably won't have caught her tweet.

The other issue with this user/naming convention lies in the field of ownership. Who actually has ownership of the @ITVLauraK Twitter profile - ITV or Laura? If Laura wants to tweet about something in her personal life, is she able to? What happens if the views of Laura and the views of ITV don't align? Who's views are we privy to?

If your company chooses to make use of this social media naming convention, then you must ensure that you have clear user guidelines so ensure that your brand doesn't suffer and that your employees all know that ultimately, the company has ownership of the account and that personal views are not to be broadcast through the channel.

If you're an agency managing a client's social media presence, always seek sign-off before posting to the social media platforms.

Ultimately, when an agency provides a social media management service for a company, the aim must be to appear as if the company themselves are managing the account. In other words, the agency should simply be an invisible conduit. As such, you, as an agency, must have your client's best interests in mind at all times.

The best way to do this is to ask for 'sign-off' against anything which is likely to attract attention. Getting a second opinion and passing the ultimate responsibility over to your client means that you, as an agency, are unable to put your client into a position which they don't want to find themselves in.

Recently, PR agency The Redner Group (@TheRednerGroup) lost it's biggest client (game publisher 2K) after agency founder James Redner posted the following comment:

 

Whilst the comment was published on the agency's Twitter profile (as apposed to 2K's profile), he did clearly reference his client whilst voicing his complaints and suggesting that in the future, he'd review who would get games to trial in order to avoid negative criticism. Of course 2K couldn't associate themselves with such behaviour, meaning they had to part company.

This example clearly shows just how damaging something as simple as a single tweet can be. For all those agencies out there looking after their clients' social media channels, be careful!

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