How long does it take to tweet something? A few seconds? So, the decision to pull the trigger on up to 140 characters shouldn’t be too terribly involved. There’s no need for a lot of discussion. Yet, somehow big companies, with a penchant for policy, inadvertently wind up struggling over the basics. What should be easy winds up taking time and effort, all of which leads to soft-dollar costs. And it isn’t worth it. If you’re going to have multiple users of one corporate Twitter account, keep the following in mind:
1. Define the users up front: put together a list of authorized Twitter users. Keep the group somewhat small and manageable. You want to be able to keep track of who’s speaking to the public on behalf of your company.
2. Use a consolidated environment: don’t work through Twitter.com. Instead, use a platform like HootSuite, where you can share access to the Twitter account to people with separate HootSuite accounts. Each will be able to see the Twitter stream, making it easy to see what’s been sent before letting another tweet fly.
3. Automate when possible: if you’re tweeting blog headlines, automate it. This takes the thinking out of a routine tweet. Nobody will need to wonder if someone else tweeted the headline. The blog, quite simply, will take care of itself.
4. Take advantage of scheduling: for planned tweets – such as promotions – schedule them as far in advance as you can. Then, you won’t need to worry about people tripping over each other to make sure the right information is sent into the world at the right time.
5. Meet regularly (but not about Twitter): Twitter is just one aspect of communicating your company’s message. The people involved in your Twitter account should get together regularly to make sure they are current on your company’s message as a whole. This will make it easier for them to tweet consistently from a single account.
6. Put someone in charge: managing by committee is stupid. It doesn’t work. When something goes wrong, you want to make sure there’s one person you can talk to.
Now, here’s what you shouldn’t worry about:
1. Voice: I’ve heard people talk about “voice” for years – when it comes to Twitter, corporate blogs and other forms of marketing. Skip it. Nobody’s looking for a corporate Twitter account to be a real friend. Focus more on message consistency and accomplishing your objectives. Don’t sweat who uses contractions and who doesn’t.
2. Volume: you don’t need to worry about tweeting too much or too little. Tweet when you have something to tweet. This isn’t brain surgery.
3. Authenticity: it’s a corporate Twitter account. People will know this. Don’t try to turn it into something it isn’t. If you want to be personable, get your own Twitter account. This doesn’t mean you should be robotic (unless it makes sense), but you certainly don’t need to overthink your tweets in an effort to seem like the market’s buddy.