How Twitter is Being Used By Companies

I’ve been researching how different companies use their twitter accounts to help me make decisions on how to effectively manage Edublogs Twitter account.  Ultimately how a company uses a twitter account is dependent on what they are trying to achieve by using the account.

As an experienced twitter user I’ve never felt comfortable interacting with company twitter accounts.  Probably me but I prefer connecting with individuals.  So I’ve decided to share where I’m at to help others considering using twitter for their organization and to also get feedback.

Examples of how twitter is being used

Delicious takes the approach of only following a few people (follows 3 compared to 919 followers).  Their twitter account profile clearly states the person responsible for the account, highlights they sometimes talks back and provides a link to their support forum. Interestingly enough Britta Gustafson from Delicious actually talks back quite a bit; lots of conversation happening there.

Off track but — it is hard not to feel for Delicious.  Their name makes it extremely hard to monitor tweets about their company (check out this out to see what I mean).

Diigo takes a totally different approach; following 2,000 and being followed by 1,516.  From personal experience I know the diigo twitter account actively seeks twitters who discuss Diigo, follows them and engages in lengthy discussion with users. But tells you nothing about the person behind the company tweeting.  Voicethreads has taken a similar approach with their twitter account as does the Wikispaces twitter account.

While Diigo’s engagement with users is excellent I like how Delicious lets me know whose the person behind the tweets.  However including “sometimes talks back” in their profile wouldn’t make me want to talk or follow them.

To me TechSmith‘s is taking a good approach.  You can clearly see who is providing the tweet updates on TechSmith twitter account and includes links to their personal twitter accounts if you prefer to interact with the individuals.  Betsy Weber from TechSmith is in my Twitter network.  She has considerably more people in her personal twitter network than does the TechSmith twitter account.  Would love to know if that relates to the personal connection component?

Changes To Edublogs Twitter Account

Edublogs profileMy initial plan had been to unfollow people being followed by the Edublogs Twitter account and focus on using the account mainly for annoucements.

After examining the different approaches I decided to take the opposite approach and are now following everyone because:

  1. Not everyone’s going to want to follow my twitter account (apparently I’m a twitterholic); some users will prefer a company account
  2. Engaging in conversations with users who aren’t following your twitter account is probably best using the company twitter account
  3. I’m already dealing with queries and support via @replies and DMs in my personal account; this helps extend this assistance

Also changed the profile information to provide information about the account and so people know who is behind the tweets.  Also added a Twitter balloon to the right hand sidebar of The Edublogger (which is now suffering extreme sidebar clutter 🙁 ).

Probably the biggest downside of a company account is expectation of 24/7 updates; while nice concept but sleep is occassionally necessary.

Managing The Accounts

So here is how I see it.  Twhirl is used for my personal account; that where I’ll see most of the tweets.  Whereas I’m monitor the Edublogs twitter acccount for mostly @replies, DMs and new followers.  Although perhaps this account needs to engage in the great chocolate debate?

YOUR THOUGHTS?

Do you interact with many companies on Twitter?  Which ones and why? Or do you prefer interacting with individuals?

What have I missed?  Or should I have considered?

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6 thoughts on “How Twitter is Being Used By Companies

  1. Hi Sue – Thank you! Glad you like our approach. 🙂 We’re always learning.

    I started the @techsmith account with our Education Evangelist, Dave McCollom (@davemccollom), long after I started my personal twitter account. So, that might be another reason for less followers there? I also started the @techsmith account because I felt like I should not inundate my personal account with tweets mostly about TechSmith. I try to have a balance. 🙂

    So, there’s probably a couple things at play – the personal connection aspect, newer account, and less promotion? And, who knows what else. 🙂 Either way, it has a been a fun and learning experience!

    Thanks again!
    Betsy Weber, Chief Evangelist
    TechSmith Corporation

    Betsy Weber Reply

    1. Hi Betsy – definitely prefer your approach the best. I must admit my own twitter account does feel conflicted. With time more people have chosen to connect with me using my personal twitter account and it is hard since often they will ask questions relating to using Edublogs.

      So my twitter account has become a hybrid of my personal twittering and answering questions.

      Most likely most interaction in the company account will occur if there are issues and users want to know what is happening. Will just have to wait and see.

      Sue Waters Reply

    1. Yammer definitely has worked well for you Simon – maybe it is more similar to what they are used to? Whereas Twitter can be hard for people to relate to?

      Sue Waters Reply

      1. That’s correct, Sue. The Yammer invitation arrives in a work email, and the network has automatically been branded with “DETA”, so it looks authentic, whereas Twitter just looks weird to new users – as it did to us oh so long ago! Having a “DETA” brand, and a closed, secure community is attractive to n00bies. I’m happy to go along with that.

        Simon Brown Reply

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