Seriously: How Many Twitter Accounts Does a National Brand Need?
When a business expands, there is a tendency for it to build subdivisions in its marketing strategy. These divisions often result in social media fiefdoms based around geographical or departmental boundaries. While this seems like a good idea from an operational standpoint, the process is often unexpected and perplexing for customers.
There are cases where more than one Twitter account for a brand can be helpful, but there are many trappings and pitfalls to consider. What number of accounts is right for your brand? Let’s investigate.
Don’t Suffer From Account-itis
Some companies divide their social media presences up so much that it leaves little purpose for their main accounts. A great example of this is Epson. The printer manufacturer has different accounts for many different geographical regions and company divisions.
The company’s main account, @Epson, while being the most easily findable and recognizable, does little more than retweet the company’s other accounts. As a result, this account isn’t relevant or useful to anyone. Having a problem with something you bought from Epson? Who do you contact: @EpsonAmerica, @Epson_America, or maybe @Epson_Store? Maybe you’re an educator — can @EpsonEducation help? What about @EpsonProImaging? Who can honestly make sense of this? The only thing these myriad accounts offer is customer confusion.
Attack of the Support Clones
A common practice for businesses in the service industry is to have their support employees maintain separate Twitter accounts for their roles. This approach is used by Internet service provider AT&T. For example, when a Twitter member sends a complaint targeting the @ATT account, he or she might receive an offer of help from another AT&T account, such as “@ATTBob” or “@ATTMary.”
This tactic gives the customer an opportunity to feel like he or she is connecting with a real person. However, it creates additional risk, and opportunity for confusion. What happens when these employees clock out for the day and stop responding? It’s not uncommon for multiple support agents to respond to a complaint, unaware that someone else is already dealing with the situation.
Lastly, what is to stop someone from impersonating your brand and using it to steal customer information? This is a very real threat and your customers might not know any better. Keeping all of your business activities under one Twitter account may help prevent this.
Are You Local Enough?
Domino’s Pizza made waves in the social media press years back when one local Chicago chain owner, Ramon De Leon, took to Twitter to connect with his customers. Ramon made it his mission to find Chicagoans talking about Domino’s and to greatly improve their experiences.
By establishing himself as the face of Domino’s in Chicago, Ramon was able to help breathe life into a brand struggling with being regarded as generic. He was able to flip people’s perceptions of Domino’s in the process. While Ramon took these actions on his own, as a Domino’s franchise it’s a solid example of how breaking from a central account can be a useful tactic. This, however, is the exception, not the norm.
The opposite end of the spectrum is Groupon. The daily deals giant offers services in what increasingly seems like every city major city in the world. And it has Twitter accounts for just about every one of them! Many of these accounts serve as little more than glorified RSS feeds offering almost no customer interaction.
Consider that the simplest route is likely the one that will work best for you and your customers. Having fewer accounts will give you a strong brand image and offer an easy place for customers to find you. Whichever way you go, it’s advisable to have a strong social media management tool, like Sprout Social, to effectively monitor and track your various social media platforms.
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