The Multiple Personality DilemmaPosted: September 28, 2011
From the beginning, almost every business owner or blogger who uses Twitter finds themselves with a simple dilemma. A simple dilemma with far reaching implications…
ONE TWITTER ACCOUNT OR TWO?
Do you want to have a separate account for your personal “persona” and another for your business “persona?”
The fact that you most likely reached this blog from @MGoldman2_0 on Twitter and not @greenmind0428 (despite the latter having nearly ten times the followers than the prior) should tell you my answer to this question. Yes. By all means. Yes!
One tweet that a friend of mine recently sent sums up my reasoning possibly more concisely than the rest of this blog entry will:
Now my quoted friend is a very outspoken person. But the thing about outspoken people is that they often say out loud what a good plurality of people are thinking internally. And with a lot of people, you don’t get a verbal complaint before they unfollow you on Twitter.
The simple reason to have two account is that specialization annoys some of your generalist followers and generalization annoys some of your specialist followers.
To put it more positively, a specialized (business or otherwise) account allows you to generate deeper connections with your followers than you would with putting specialized information on a generalist account. For example, if you’re a marketing blogger, you can concentrate on posting links and participating in discussions about marketing on a specialized account. On a “main” account, this sort of in-depth marketing talk at regular intervals could alienate a lot of your followers.
In fact, they might even consider you a spam account who is posting nothing but links to topics that they don’t care about.
Not that having a separate personal account lets you off the hook for what you say on it vis-a-vis your business persona. If people know you are the “voice” of a corporate or organizational account, you must still maintain professionalism on all accounts you manage. There are no walls between accounts as far as reputation is concerned. Some people even use making sure professionalism is maintained as a justification for only having one account.
However, if someone wants to learn more about me personally (like my politics and my love of soccer) after reading my @MGoldman2_0 account, I encourage it! I recommend even, occasionally, posting a link to your other accounts to encourage users who might be interested to follow both.
Another reason the proponents of single accounts cite is that without “personal touches,” business or blog accounts seem almost robotic. And one thing that alienates potential customers or members a lot is the lack of an authentic voice. Therefore, don’t abandon your personality at the door of your business account!
A blog or business account should mirror the activities of a personal account. Participate in Twitter rituals like Follow Friday and, if you have a business specific Foursquare account, you should – sparingly – broadcast your check-ins. And, yes, feel free to post minutae of your day. Especially if these have to do with your “work” persona.
Any sociologist (or maybe even a Women’s Studies major) will tell you that a person puts on many different “faces” throughout their day in their offline life. Why should it be any different online?