How do you run your social networks? While it’s common for a business to have social media presence on different networks, some businesses go a step further with multiple accounts that serve different business needs on each network.
Not sure why you might need multiple presences? Larger businesses, especially those with varied business focuses, may want to have multiple accounts for different business areas.
The Walt Disney Company is a great example of this. Because the company produces a wide range of entertainment products — movies, television, video games, toys, and more — targeted at a variety of age groups, it would be difficult to run a unified social presence for the entire business. Instead, different business divisions have their own branded social presences. Due to Disney’s size, the number accounts on offer is truly massive.
While the company’s social strategy isn’t one every business should follow, it is a great example of how a business might split its social efforts across multiple accounts. If you browse Disney’s social channels, you’ll find accounts for specific properties, from characters to movies to games to resorts. But you’ll also find more general presences, like Disney Animals or Disney Animation. Then there are corporate accounts focused on recruiting or internships. And because Disney is a large company with an international audience, a number of these accounts have regional variants for reaching out to local fans.
While Disney attacks social from all angles, another common use for multiple social presences is customer service, where businesses will have a separate social account specifically to address those support issues. Microsoft’s Xbox Support on Twitter is a good example of this. Several different support-centric accounts allow Xbox to have multiple service representatives answering questions, without stepping on one another’s toes. The system allows the company to easily address customer concerns online without cluttering up its primary feed or spamming users who don’t need support information.
But would your brand benefit from having multiple accounts? It’s not a strategy that’s ideal for every business. We’ll dig into the pros and cons of running multiple accounts to determine what’s best for your business.
When Multiple Accounts Make Sense
Maintaining multiple accounts for different business needs typically makes the most sense for larger companies. Not only will big brands have the social resources to manage multiple accounts, but their larger size may also make it challenging to meet all business needs with a single profile. If your business has divisions that target very different audiences — whether that means different product offerings or an active customer support presence — having accounts that focus on each audience could help you connect with the people you most need to reach.
When you’re considering opening a new social media presence for your brand, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Are you trying to reach a different audience that you aren’t reaching on your primary account? Take some time to consider who you’re trying to reach and what type of content you would want to share with that audience.
- Would the new account be distinct from your primary social presence? If it’s too similar, or would significantly duplicate content, you may not really need it.
- How will you brand the new account? When running multiple accounts, clear branding and account descriptions are important to prevent follower confusion.
- Do you have the social staff to properly manage new profiles? If you don’t have the staff to maintain an active presence, an account that isn’t frequently updated could drive potential followers away.
- How would your social team manage multiple accounts? Before you create an account, you’ll want to determine who is responsible for keeping it running.
- How will your accounts work together? There may be times when information posted to one account is relevant to both. Also be sure to consider how to manage followers talking to one account when they should be talking to the other — quickly directing followers to the right place will prevent frustration and confusion.
- How long will you be using the new account? If you’re considering making an account for a specific promotion, you’re probably better off using a hashtag or other branding to distinguish it from your other content. Creating an account that you’ll just outgrow won’t help build your brand. Plus, if it winds up being left unused, it could confuse potential customers in the future.
If you don’t have good answers to these questions, multiple accounts may not be the right strategy choice for you right now.
When A Unified Social Presence Makes Sense
Smaller businesses aren’t likely to have scaled up to the point where they need multiple presences to serve their audience. And whether large or small, a business with a singular focus might not find much benefit to multiple accounts.
JetBlue is a good example of a business that flourishes with a single social presence. This works for JetBlue because their focus is entirely on air travel: the company doesn’t have business divisions that might be better served by targeting different audiences, making a single presence is ideal. Even though JetBlue does customer service on their primary Twitter account, followers don’t see most of this activity since it is directed at specific users, which lets the account’s brand messaging stay focused.
The big benefit to keeping your brand in one place on social channels is a lack of customer confusion: no matter what a potential customer wants, they can direct their query to @JetBlue.
The Pros And Cons Of Multiple Social Presences
To break the discussion down, here are the advantages of multiple social accounts:
- You can better target different audiences or different subsets of your audience.
- You won’t spam your audience with content they don’t necessarily care about.
But there are disadvantages, too:
- It takes more time and staff to manage multiple social accounts, which makes this more difficult for smaller businesses to pull off.
- Multiple accounts can lead to customer confusion, especially if they aren’t clearly branded or aren’t very active.
Multiple accounts for different business purposes is a social strategy that can work out really well for the right type of business, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Before launching any new accounts, be sure to carefully weigh these pros and cons to make sure it’s a good idea for your brand.