My initial response was mixed. For someone new to Twitter, I am inclined to encourage them to get up-to-speed with one Twitter account before trying to manage more. However, if you have multiple reasons for using Twitter that don't fit neatly into one account, it makes sense to consider setting up multiple accounts.
Before going this route you should consider five key factors to keep in mind when launching any Twitter presence:
1. Building Your Listening Post
Creating twitter account that is useful to you requires that you spend the time to identify and follow people who post tweets you want to read. You can segment your audience by having multiple Twitter accounts or you can set up one account and segment by leveraging Twitter Lists or tools like Paper.li.
2. Establishing Your Voice
What kind of information do you want to share? What do you want to say? What original resources (blogs, infographics, videos, powerpoints) do you plan to provide about a specific topic? How does what you have to say reflect on your brand? Does your organization have social media policies that provide guidance to employees in the social media space? You can set up different accounts to reflect your different voices or set up one account describing what you tweet about. If what you have to say is vastly different
3. Building Your Community
The idea "if you build it, they will come" only works on Twitter if you are some type of celebrity or tweet about really useful content on a consistent basis. Just because you set up a Twitter account doesn't mean you'll get the right followers. While Twitter is an easy online tool to set up, make sure you are willing to participate in the online conversation. Just like growing a garden, you need to spend the time to feed and build the community. If you set up more than one Twitter account, assume you'll have to spend that much more time to build community around each.
4. Managing Your Accounts
Each Twitter account requires a unique email address. So, if you manage multiple Twitter accounts, you will need to setup and manage multiple email accounts as well. You will also want to select an easy-to-remember username for your Twitter account that reflects you, your brand, or the content you are tweeting about.
If you are working with multiple Twitter accounts you may also want to leverage some online tools to help you manage them. Here are two to start with:
- Twitterfeed.com will automatically feed your blog posts to your Twitter account and provides some configuration on how those feeds are posted.
- Hootsuite.com can help you manage multiple twitter accounts by providing a URL shortener, ability to schedule tweets, and analytics. There are also a number add-ons to expand this management suite of tools.
Finally, you will want to identify milestones to analyze the success of your account - growth rate of follows, retweets, clickthroughs, follower type, etc. On the issue of follow-to-folllower ratio, it is best to have your followers number close to or higher than the number of accounts you follow. This will help you avoid the dreaded 2000 follow limit.
5. Developing a Strategy that Considers Other Social Media Platforms
While this is listed last, you should begin developing your strategy first. And be prepared to modify your strategy as your online presence evolves.
You should being by acknowledging that Twitter should be just one of your tools in your online communications strategy.
Before you you jump into any social network, consider your audience: Who are you trying to reach? What social networks are they most likely to already be using? What do you want them to do? Are there existing social networks you can feed content to? Facebook (the largest social network out there), LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest are all viable platforms for communicating your message. And don't forget the opportunity to leverage email, the first online social network.
Once you consider these five points, the decision on whether you set up one Twitter account or several is up to you. Just make sure you have a strategy in place for long-term participation in the online conversation so that your account(s) don't go fallow.