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How to Effectively Manage your Twitter Accounts

How to Manage Twitter
Being handed the keys to a business Twitter account can be an intimidating prospect. Business Twitter accounts are much more complex than the average user account. They attract a wide range of people who are not just your friends or people who are interested in you personally.

Managing the Twitter accounts of a company takes some preparation from a social interaction standpoint, and from a technical standpoint. The first part of this article looks at the tips that will prepare you socially. The second part of this article will advise you on the technical tools that will make managing those Twitter accounts easier.

Part 1: How to be a better community manager on Twitter socially

A company is a “We,” not an “I”

Tweeting on behalf of a company means that you are now the voice of a brand, you are not “you.” The writing style you use will have to match that of the company. If your company Twitter accounts are not already using a clear style, you’ll need to establish one before moving forward.

An important aspect of this is changing how you refer to yourself when tweeting:

✘ Stop using first person singular – I, me, my
✔ Start using first person plural – We, us, our

Every time that you use the first person singular you’re taking away from the brand experience. A business Twitter account should be built so that users are connecting with the brand, not with you as an individual. I’m not saying don’t have personality, and fun. I’m saying don’t be a “me” when you represent a “we.”

Check out how oddly this tweet from Starbucks reads with the first person singular “my” in it:

Create a support account and direct people to use it

More and more Twitter users are going online to seek help, make complaints, and do the things that the telephone once did. Nearly every type of complaint you can think of is being brought to Twitter business accounts, and you’re expected to solve it. This, of course, is not possible: You’re a community manager, not a technician!

Since you always want to try and help, establishing a support Twitter account can be your lifeline. When a complaint or issues comes your way that is out of your range, simply refer people to that account and let them know that someone with the right knowledge will be able to help them. Connecting this account with your support team is, of course, a must.

This approach will help move product problems and other complaints off of your main account. Many major companies have a support account. Check out: Twitter Support, Blackberry Help, Major League Soccer Support, and Nike Support as great examples. With your own Twitter support account in place you can handle those difficult issues this easily:

Just because Twitter is 24 hours a day doesn’t mean you have to be

So you’re hired on to work the 9-5 shift in the Eastern Standard Time of Toronto. You’re there for all of your fans on Twitter during those hours, and you have great content going out from 9-5 EST.

But what about your fans in Los Angeles who want to hear from you? Even worse, what about your fans in Sydney who are being ignored? Are you supposed to wake up in the middle of the night to tweet for the Sydney rush hour? H-E-Double hockey sticks NO!

You need to start not only planning your tweets for a whole 24 hour day, but you need to start scheduling them using a tool like TweetDeck, or HootSuite. We’ll talk about those tools individually in the technical section below. For now, you need to realize that while Twitter is a 24/7/365 social platform, that doesn’t mean that you have to run yourself ragged keeping up with it.

Discover and nurture the influencers in your audience

As a community manager for a company, you will want to speak with as many of your followers as possible. To look at it practically, some companies have Twitter follower numbers in the millions. The most popular company on Twitter that sells a physical product (some web properties which sell a service are more popular) is Samsung Mobile. Can you imagine trying to talk with all 9.05 million of their followers?

Some quick math shows that if you gave each follower one minute of your time via a tweet, it would take over 17 years to speak with each one!

With this in mind, it is important for you to instead work to identify who your most influential followers are, and work to get them talking about you. You can try looking at their own follower numbers, or look at their Klout score to gain some more insight into this.

Respond to haters with silence when appropriate

This is a very delicate line which you must balance. There are going to be people who mention your @username and who hurl abuse upon you. Some are going to say thing like this:

Other fans are going to come along with anger in them, but say things like this:

Which do you think is really worth your time, effort, and worry? You guessed it, the second one! Responding to trolling, cyber-bullying, or random hate is a waste of time. All you do is give the hater the recognition they are craving. Ignore them and eventually they’ll move on.

Part 2: How to effectively manage your Twitter accounts with Twitter tools

Twitter is massive, you’ll need help from tools in order to harness it. Here are four Twitter tools that will help you accomplish the above five points.

Hootsuite-owly1. Hootsuite

I mention Hootsuite first as it may be the only Twitter tool you ever need. Not only can you manage your Twitter feed, but you can add other social profiles as well. The free version gives you the option to manage five at once, the paid account gives you unlimited accounts.

Use Hootsuite to schedule tweets, arrange columns of tweets for your mentions, hashtags, search keywords, and direct messages, and respond to everything without logging into Twitter itself. Hootsuite nearly does it all, and it does it in a very neatly presented dashboard.

BufferIcon2. Buffer

This content sharing platform allows you to share webpages easier with a scheduling feature. Stop going on a reading spree and sharing every URL right away. Schedule it out with Buffer so that you don’t Tweet flood your followers. Their analytics will also help you understand what your audience reacts to.

paperli3. Paper.Li

This app lets you collect the best tweets from your users and publishes them as an online newspaper. You can set it to do this automatically, or you can choose it manually. This online newspaper will then be shared with your followers, creating Twitter content out of Twitter content – how meta!

4. TweetDeck

I would be thrown under a bus by the Twitter mafia if I didn’t mention TweetDeck. This app was formerly independent, but was bought up by Twitter.

It functions nearly the same as HootSuite, but with fewer options for integration with other social profiles. It is still a powerful tool for managing your Twitter account, but it is not what it once was. You’ll enjoy using it if you only want to manage a business Twitter account without other social platforms on your dashboard.

Effectively managing a company Twitter account

Managing the Twitter account of a company takes the right set of social media skills, and the right tools in order to be effective. Remember the basics:

  1. Use first person plural
  2. Create a support account
  3. Schedule tweets for those in different timezones
  4. Discover and work with key influencers
  5. Ignore haters, but help those who are angry and frustrated

Couple these skills up with an effective Twitter management tool that suits your needs and you’ll be sure to create a useful and engaging Twitter experience for all the fans of your company!