Brands are publishing an increasing amount of information on Twitter, and in addition they are also tending to make use of a growing number of separate accounts and platforms. But does this add any real value?

Just 62% of the 253 top brands in the US, UK and elsewhere surveyed by Brandwatch, a UK-based social media monitoring company, tweeted in 2011, compared with 97.6% in 2013. Nowadays brands are tweeting more – more than half the brands polled tweet at least 30 times a week – and at the same time they have been increasing the number of accounts they have with the microblogging site. However Tim Grimes, Strategy Manager at mycleveragency, scrutinises this growth more closely in a recent article. He stresses that brands should think about whether there is a real need to set up several separate Twitter accounts and argues that the multiple approach may not necessarily be appropriate when it comes to communicating effectively with the customer.

Multiple accounts on the up

The proportion of brands using multiple profiles on Twitter is now 63%, up from just 7% in 2011. A common approach is to have one account dedicated to customer engagement, mostly in the customer service field, and another for ‘broadcast’ communication, e.g. sending out offers and publishing company news. Some companies also create separate accounts for different departments. Computer firm Dell currently holds the record for Twitter accounts, with 44, each of them covering a different department. According to Tim Grimes, however, this has not yet proved to be beneficial, since brands are then likely to have fewer followers per account, which may make it harder to boost the brand image on the social network. On the other hand however, having multiple accounts can help to deliver more targeted messages. Separating the customer service team and marketing team accounts can often be useful, points out the mycleveragency strategy expert.

Other platforms supporting Twitter

Apart from multiple accounts, some brands are keen on using other platforms and tools, such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, for publishing their tweets. So while over half the brands surveyed currently use the Twitter web interface along with at least one other platform to send their messages, fully 38% do not use the Twitter web interface at all. Tim Grimes also points to the success of the two new players on the scene: Sprout Social and Conversocial, while use of the Twitter platform itself has increased only marginally over the last two years. Only a few of the companies polled were prepared to reveal the size of their team responsible for the Twitter community. Among the brands that did quote a number, each team comprised an average of four people, explaining the size of the team size by the number of accounts they have to manage and the fast reaction which is expected when working on this microblogging social network.

By Timothée Sicot
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