Two Twitters better than one?

There’s an interesting post over at The Good Agency arguing that many Twitter feeds could be better than one. The principle being that one-size doesn’t fit all.

I take a slightly different tack. As a friend of mine says, “I’ll tell you for why”…

At Whizz-Kidz, we tried two Twitter profiles – a main profile (@whizzkidz) and an Events specific one (note I call them profiles and not feeds – because we’re not ‘feeding’ our followers, we’re engaging and conversing). But in honesty, the Events one wasn’t really ‘working’ so we ended up just using the one.  The reasoning was this; people who follow and engage with charities do so for many different reasons (I know I do), and these reasons change. Why pigeon hole someone who may have done an event – and only ‘feed’ them events news, when they may be triggered to volunteer, campaign, or even work for your charity?

You’ve also got to keep up the content, and keep building and talking about topic-specific subjects…it could be creating a huge social media rod for your back!

Whereas from @whizzkidz, I try and talk widely about every area of the charity – from fundraising, to campaigning and also ask questions and create debate (I hope!). I signpost to different spaces (from Flickr to Youtube to Facebook to our website pages) and hopefully provide a friendly and upbeat voice with which to be consistent and holistic regards our communities.

Because I listen (and respond) to what these followers / friends are saying in their tweets, I’ve been able to create Twitter Lists to identify ‘fundraisers & volunteers’, ‘families we’ve helped’, ‘PCTs’ and ‘NHS friends’ – and so I know who to call upon when making specific asks and favours.  I use DM’s and @’s to engage with different people and ‘groups’ at different times, and for different reasons.

It’s certainly also a resource issue. A twitter pal at another charity tells me they use multiple feeds in order to engage more staff and teams. This is is a nice idea, but also a luxury that only a larger charity can afford to employ.

Personally, I think one profile used intelligently – and evaluated regularly – is worth five different ‘feeds’… But that’s just my opinion 😉

I do agree with the author’s point that charities can harness staff’s personal twitter profiles more. In fairness though, of the tweeters that are using their own names (like me) they mostly make it clear who they work for and occasionally tweet news from their employers, so there is a lot of good practice already about.

Would love to hear others’ opinions and examples, as ever.

4 thoughts on “Two Twitters better than one?

  1. Thanks for this interesting perspective.

    Most of the organisations that I’ve worked with have gone with the ‘one size fits most’ approach and this suits them just fine. I’m not against organisations having multiple profiles so long as they’re reflective and needed by their users; in fact, there are some organisations that I sometimes wish had more profiles. For example, I unfollowed one organisation that I financially support because they used their one profile to live tweet minute-by-minute from their fundraising events (mainly marathons and fun runs), so I signed up to their blog’s RSS instead.

    Where I have seen organisations that have multiple profiles poorly used, it’s often the result of them looking at Twitter in complete isolation to the work of the organisation, their strategies, goals, or needs of their service users, and setting them up because they think it’s simply the thing to do. In order to be effective, Twitter profiles should be a living-breathing part of an overall organisational strategy that must be even more mindful of the end user.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Rochelle. I can definitely see where you’re coming from, although personally I love it when I see charities tweeting from events – it doesn’t bother me; rather the enthusiasm, sense of excitement and community makes me like them more 😉

    I guess for me I don’t mind a plurality of messages, links and calls to action coming from one place. Just from my own perspective, I get annoyed if I have to follow 2,3 or more profiles from the same charity. It makes it feel disconnected somehow? (Plus it’s compartmentalising me in terms of a ‘channel’ of interest, whereas I may be a service user, but am also interested in taking part in an event – with a keen desire to volunteer. I may even be able to introduce them to a company or high profile individual who could help promote a current campaign).

    I think the devil is in the detail of good, strong content – and conversational – as opposed to ‘broadcasting’. I encourage tweeters to ask us anything about Whizz-Kidz and endeavour to find the answer (just as if they were to ring us). This negates the need for lots of feeds. Just my preference though. I guess you always have the website or RSS, as you point out, if you prefer straight info and news or blog posts.

  3. I think sometimes multiple Twitter accounts are fine, but generally it’s best to have just one. I also really dislike it when people refer to Twitter ‘feeds’, unless they’re talking about the RSS feed of a Twitter account.

    I disagree with The Good Agency’s concerns about a job posting being off putting to a donor – this would only show transparency, and having a separate Twitter account for potential employees could just as easily be discovered by donors if they looked for it, who may then feel deceived upon finding this information was intentionally being kept separate.

    However, I’ve advised clients before that a campaign account can be useful if there’s a lot of campaign specific content that needs to be tweeted which would effectively spam the main account – particularly if there are multiple large campaigns running at once. The main account can promote the campaign accounts by retweeting key tweets. This also allows people who are really passionate about a niche issue only to follow a campaign account without having to listen to generic news from the main charity’s account.

    If campaign accounts are used temporarily though, I always advise that the final tweet and the bio inform people that the account is not being managed currently, and direct people to the main account in order to continue the conversation there.

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