December 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm #147243
Our agency has one twitter account that our Public Relations Office manages very well. Our followers love the information we post and the response time of our staff that manages the account. We have had multiple requests from other areas of our department that want their own twitter account to publicize their program or project. In my research there are different schools of thought here.
One twitter account allows for one place of authority for messaging the public by trained and competent staff members. the down-side is there could be a lot of useless ‘chatter’ for some folks that may be following our profile if we try to manage all of our messaging on that account. However, tools such as hash-tags can help manage that data flow.
Multiple accounts (in our case) means that there are several people managing several accounts. The people that would own these other accounts are not communications specialists and don’t fully understand the world of social messaging and what that takes to maintain a twitter following. With multiple accounts, you may also have a questions concerning what twitter account to follow for the authoritative information on our department’s announcements, news, etc.
So, what say you? What is your agency doing that is working? A single Account? Multiple Accounts?
Any discussion on this would help us determine our future communication strategies.
December 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm #147267
We have multiple accounts (http://usgs.gov/socialmedia). There’s a benefit to having multiple Twitter accounts in that you can follow specific information you find relevant. From time to time, we will RT certain tweets from our other accounts that could be relevant to wider audience but may have originated with a smaller, niche account.
However, if you’re going to allow multiple Twitter accounts, then you need to give set up a registration process that will include questions about their communications strategy–what are your goals, how will Twitter help you meet those goals, is Twitter even the right tool to use, etc. Some people that don’t think in terms of longer-term strategy or communications planning may not understand the consequences of setting up an account without a strategy. The registration process is a chance for you to present those questions to them and get their minds working. Those that are serious about having an account and have a good idea of why they want to have one will contact you and ask for your help/guidance. Then you can educate them on the policies you have in place, best practices, brainstorm ideas on how to manage the account, etc. It’s also an opportunity to compare their account idea to existing accounts to find duplication before it happens.
December 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm #147265
Like everything else in social media, it depends.
Our state agency (mdc.mo.gov) keeps everything in one account, but we are fairly focused in our mission and reach the most people that way. One Facebook page, one Twitter account. Our regions and facilities are too small to justify the amount of time and energy needed to maintain the beast.
For other agencies, especially at the federal level, it makes sense to segment out your markets. I wouldn’t want to follow the USGS, but I may want to follow their earthquake tweets or their hydrography tweets. If you can establish that there is a market for another Twitter account, then go for it. You can even start it and monitor it; if the keepers don’t post, or it doesn’t get any followers, kill it.
If you are a state agency with a broad focus, it may make sense to have multiple accounts. Missouri’s economic development agency does tourism, business development, etc. These are discrete audiences, so it makes sense to have separate Twitter accounts for each one.
December 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm #147263
Kevin, thanks for your input on this.
December 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm #147261
Scott, thanks for your insights.
December 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm #147259
Hi Erik – Thanks for asking. Here’s a related forum that may have some answers that help with your question:
– Dr. G
December 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm #147257
Carol A. SpencerParticipant
Morris County NJ adopted a policy that the county would have one primary twitter feed, but with the approval of IT and the County Administrator, where appropriate we can allow others. The best example is the prosecutor’s office. They tweet about trials and arrests, something we really don’t want streaming on our main county Twitter account. So, IT recommended, and the Administrator approved, a twitter account for them. On the other hand, we recommended and got approval for the Park Commission to have their own twitter account and no one is maintaining it.
We actually have six twitter accounts. I’m able to monitor and post to all of them. I retweet information that I think would be interesting to the broader audience on MorrisCountyNJ. We also have an emergency notification channel: MCUrgent. We only post to that during emergencies.
One other consideration is Twitter’s Fast Follow: those who sign up for tweets by text message. While we can’t yet get stats on Fast Follow, I think we have a fair number of people using it. Anecdotal, but our stats on MCUrgent during Hurricane Irene were huge and I’m pretty sure Fast Follow was a big contributor. If every library, MUA, Health and Prosecutor post were posted to MorrisCountyNJ, I think people would turn off Fast Follow.
Judiciously (the key word, here) using multiple accounts, and retweeting certain items to the main twitter feed, while tedious and time-consuming, has worked well for us.
December 13, 2011 at 12:33 am #147255
Great questions, and I face the same pull here toward multiple accounts. Usually the smaller accounts are for shorter term promotions.
In the case of short term promotions I usually recommend not having a separate twitter stream since by the time a sizable audience is established, the promotion will likely be winding down.
December 13, 2011 at 3:49 am #147253
We do multiple ones.
Our HQ has the ‘official’ one and they keep it for things like tweeting links to transportation related issues, news releases, new video content, etc. Only rarely does ‘traffic’ end up on there, and when it does its’ stuff like ‘I70 is closed because….’ Major stuff.
Each of our 6 districts has its own, and there are even some more beyond that, and it’s broken up to info relating to that specific area (for example, the people in Garden City could care less about gridlock in kansas City, so why sub to that feed?
I know there are other feeds for specific things.
In some ways, it might seem like too much, but in another it allows people to sub to info they want or need, and avoid some of the clutter.
December 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm #147251
One account would make my life so much easier!
December 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm #147249
It sure seems to me that an agency should have a main Twitter account — and then topic specific accounts, depending on audience
December 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm #147247
Hey Kevin – We just released a couple new Twitter Guides for Government here:
Check ’em out.
December 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm #147245
Saw those a couple of days ago. Very nice!
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