How Should B2B Companies Handle Twitter Handles?

Integrated Marcom Minute

November 2011

For B2B companies, Twitter handles can be a good branding tool.If you’re a B2B marcom pro considering extending your social presence to the Twittersphere, you need to think about how to set up your Twitter handles (the @name) to avoid future issues. I advise clients against using colleague names for two reasons. One, you need to consider what happens to that person’s handle when they leave the company and use their personal name to continue tweeting; and two, the handle offers a branding opportunity for the company.

Consider the following when setting up your Twitter handle:

  • Remember that social media is about people and not brands or companies, try to work the person’s name into the Twitter handle when it’s not awkward to do so, i.e., @companymike or @mikeatcompany
  • Some associates may prefer to keep their personal names for their personal Twitter use. It’s better to allow them to separate their personal Twitter profiles from your company profile. If you allow associates to post on the company’s behalf using their personal Twitter profiles, then your social media policy should instruct associates to include a disclaimer in their Twitter profiles. i.e., “I am [an employee of] [a Contingent Worker for] Company Name. The statements or opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Company Name.” I like @anetah’s disclaimer: “(btw: thoughts expressed here are solely mine)” @anetah is the social media strategist for Pitney Bowes. Learn more about Pitney Bowes’ Twitter activity and that of other B2B brands
  • If you plan to extend Twitter activity beyond marketing and PR, then you may wish to have a handle that describes the functional area represented, such as @companytechsupport or @techsupportcompany. This method allows you the most flexibility should someone leave the company. However, you may also add a person’s name. Such as @companytechsupportmike or @mikeatcompanytechsupport. The downside is that at 25 characters, nearly 20% of your 140 characters is taken up by your handle. This is o.k. if you can offer simple answers or if you can redirect customers to a help file or other resource that will solve their problem in 140 characters or less.
  • Channel partners’ Twitter handles can also provide B2B companies with extended branding opportunities. If your channel partners represent multiple lines and prefer to use their own brand, then at least have them add your company name in their Twitter profiles.

When it comes to images, my personal preference is to see a person; after all, social media is about people. However, when people are tweeting on behalf of a company or brand, it can be effective to use the company logo to help customers better identify with the brand. A good experience in the Twittersphere, can support and even elevate brand image.

Finally, if you have a number of people tweeting on behalf of your company, leverage the Twitter profile to describe the role of each Twitter account. Use keywords too. It’s another opportunity to brand your company and associate it with keywords on which your company wants to rank.

That’s integrated marcom!

More next time…