We have recently discovered that, in more cases than not, brands are creating multiple Twitter accounts. Indeed, a recent study by our team at Brandwatch found that the number of brands using multiple profiles has increased nine-fold in the last three years, rising from 7% to 63%.
What it is about the multiple accounts that makes so many brands feel obliged to create them? is it good for business or does it make it more complex for users?
Dell is an American multinational computer business, and owns an astounding 44 different Twitter accounts. These different accounts cover the different departments of Dell in order to provide a tailored service for each.
The main use of multiple accounts is for different branches of customer service, but it is questionable whether this number of accounts is in fact creating the opposite effect.
A concern that we’ve heard raised is that they make the customer service model more complicated and that too many accounts can be hard to make sense of, especially in knowing which one to direct queries or complaints at.
According to Richard Guerrero, the creator of the Dell Outlet Twitter Program, this is not the case. He says “if there are multiple and varied (i.e. unrelated) audiences that desire different information or engagement, lumping them together may lead to confusion and lack of satisfaction of those disparate desires”.
This view is supported by David Risley, a professional blogger, who suggests that you should have as many Twitter accounts as you need, adding to the argument that Twitter usernames are as valuable as domain names, and it is important to reserve handles for future branding purposes.
Considering these points, there appear to be a number of benefits related to managing multiple accounts for both the brand and the customer. In order to test this claim we contacted Vodafone via Twitter, where we were directed to the customer service account.
Not only was this experience more efficient but it was also personal. There was a fast response and each tweet was signed off by the person who wrote it.
Furthermore, the problem was resolved without having to sit on the phone for hours or spend a Saturday afternoon visiting a busy store. In fact, following the initial Twitter conversation, they contacted me.
Having different Twitter accounts makes a brand more human, as the customer knows it is a person on the other end and that they are specialists in resolving the problem you are facing.
This is a perfect example of how businesses are turning social, consumers are no longer passive to a brand’s message: we talk back, and we’d rather be talking to a person.
Within reason, multiple accounts are a great customer service portal, and their success has been proven through the rising percentage of brands adopting that approach.
However, to ensure the quality and effectiveness of these accounts it is important to establish whether there is an audience for them before they are created, and that there is enough driving force to keep them up-to-date with fast response rates.