If you manage a corporate Twitter account, the chances are that you’re going to need to hand it over to another member of your organisation sometimes. When you’re on holiday, off sick, or a colleague is live-tweeting from a conference; or maybe you want to ‘job-share’ the Twitter account to give it 24/7 global coverage – but with identifiable people behind it still? (To illustrate, you could have @phillipp working one shift concentrating on relationships with EMEA, and @louisakk will be talking to the other half of the world in a different timezone: the voices, topics and relationships will be distinct from each other, but the two people are both representing the same company).
The problems with sharing a Twitter account:
This is the most obvious problem. To avoid hijack, loss or rogue action the fewer people who know the company Twitter password, the fewer times it is shared and recorded, the better. And to change the password every time you want to give access to anyone else is inconvenient.
Many smaller enterprises will have the channel manager very visibly behind the Twitter account, with their own voice and relationship history with followers. You may be using that person’s image in your avatar: it’s a good idea when you’re trying to build up B2B relationships; we do it with @emoderation. So when someone else is using the account, it’s confusing for followers to have someone else tweeting unannounced, especially if they are in a different country, or even a different timezone.
- Simultaneous tweeting
You may need to have several people tweeting from the account at once, as per the 24/7 example above, or when several delegates are live-tweeting different sessions at a conference. In order to keep any kind of story or relationship going, you definitely need to use hashtags and sign off your posts.
The Group Tweet solution
We’ve found that the best solution to this ad hoc requirement – which also happens to have a freemium entry level, hoorah! – is Grouptweet, which enables users to tweet from their regular Twitter platforms (Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Twitter app etc), so there’s no need for training or installation.
The Grouptweet account is administered via the Twitter account log in and the account can be set up lots of different ways:
How you tweet
To enable a tweet to be set through from your group account, you have three options, of which you can choose one, two or all three:
- A hashtag that is custom designed for your account (for example, a conference hashtag, which can be left in the tweets)
- @mentioning the group account
- direct messaging the account
Who can tweet
You choose which Twitter accounts can tweet from the group account by assigning contributors so that only those named accounts will be able to tweet out via the group account, or you can leave the contributor’s box blank to run the account ‘unrestricted’ . This means that any Twitter user can tweet from the account via @Mentions , Direct Messages or hashtags. I can’t say I would personally feel happy about leaving it unrestricted: seems to me that too much could go wrong, and in the business cases I’m outlining, there should be no reason not to name all the Twitter accounts you would want to participate.
If you’re feeling a little nervous about the whole idea of having someone else tweet from ‘your’ account and would like more control, then the premium version of Grouptweet offers a pre-moderation setting via email, which I imagine would be useful for training purposes too.
How the tweet looks
You can leave in the hashtag if you’re using one, or strip it from the sent tweet. You can sign the tweet in various ways (and customise it in the paid version), or leave it unsigned.
There are a couple of other bells and whistles the paid version offers too – check it out at grouptweet.com.
A final tip for those who use their own picture as an avatar: it’s probably better to change it to the company logo when someone else is tweeting – it just seems odd not to.
If this has been useful, have a look at our advice about how best to live-tweet from an event. And we should have more about managing the social media profiles of SMEs in the following weeks.