While chatting with some buddies in Starbucks the other day an interesting question came up. Should a company tweet as itself on Twitter (ie @carsonified) or should the Twitter account be written from a more personal perspective (ie @ryancarson)?
If the Twitter account is written from the company perspective then followers might expect certain things; updates on what the company is doing and customer support, for example. Followers may not expect to hear that @carsonified is having coffee with its buddies in Starbucks – that might throw some people and feel a bit weird.
Similarly, if you have a personal Twitter account your followers may not want to hear about what your company is up to when they’re following you because they are interested in how you think and what you do.
This conundrum leaves businesses in a sort of limbo land – not knowing how to approach Twitter. Larger companies, I think, may have a particular problem.
If, as a company founder, CEO or manger, you have employed a marketing person to market your company and products then there’s probably a reason for that. Either you don’t have the time to do it yourself, or you’re not the kind of person who would be good at it. Both valid reasons. However, if potential Twitter followers will be more interested in what you have to say, on a personal level, then isn’t the best way to use Twitter for the founder or CEO to have his or her own Twitter account?
If you don’t think that the public at large is particularly interested in you (as the founder) then you might go for a ‘company’ Twitter account where you announce news and offer support to your followers but don’t talk about personal stuff since the account is meant to be the voice of the company.
Or of course you could do a mixture of the two where you have an official company twitter account which includes news, offers and support and a bit of personal input from the team. But the founder also has a personal account which gives an insight into his or her personal world while being also peppered with company updates.
Some interesting examples
Here’s how some other companies approach the problem.
@zappos – has 549,840 followers and is written from a personal perspective by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos but also includes some company data, including contact information.
@inside_zappos – has 2,239 followers and is the company Twitter account featuring behind the scenes photos, news and offers.
@threadless – has 407,000 followers and is exclusively a community for t-shirt designers who love Threadless
@jeffrey – has 2,248 followers and is the personal Twitter account of Jeffery Kalmikoff, partner at Threadless.
@woothemes – has 1,969 followers and is a mixture of support, news and a bit of personal team stuff thrown in.
@adii – has 2,608 followers and is the personal Twitter account of Adii, founder of WooThemes, with a bit of company stuff throw in.
If you do opt to have a company Twitter account and a personal account written by the founder/CEO there seems to be an inevitable amount of duplication which I think is unavoidable.
It’s certainly a conundrum and one that I think companies on Twitter are still feeling their way around. Some options work for some companies and some for others. There’s doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong way to do it just the one that’s right for you.
What do you think? Do you have any examples of companies that use Twitter well or do something interesting with this relatively new medium?
Main image by flickr.com/photos/fchouse