Thought I’d share some thoughts on how I use and manage twitter accounts both personally and for the organizations I represent. I’ve always been an early adopter, and I’ve been a Twitter user since 2008 (Twitter was launched in mid 2006). Since joining Twitter, I’ve set up quite a few accounts for myself, friends, family, c0-workers, and organizations, and I still maintain quite a few accounts. So here’s some thoughts & ideas that might inspire you in how you’re using your personal account and accounts for your organizations:

Personal Account

I use my personal account, well, personally. I believe people should be generally real in person and online. I tweet a lot about my thoughts, my family, my work, fun stuff, news, etc. I work at a church – so the lines blur a lot between work and life.

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I also try and use my personal account to “mention” (use the @account) “re-tweet” (RT) things in my areas of interest which include leadership, design, church, worship, music, tech, etc. This is a great way to build connections and network with like-minded people around the world.

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I use my personal account to tweet out my posts from my blog. I have a plugin on my blog that randomly tweets out old posts – just in case someone might be interested in a post.

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I try and be positive and share things that will be encouraging, fun, useful, and thought provoking. There’s quite a few articles on basic twitter etiquete online – just Google it.

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Business/Organization Accounts
I use our organization’s accounts to try and push information out that would be helpful and inspiring. For example, when our Church has a volunteer team work at the Outreach Farm Project, harvesting food for the local Rescue Mission – I want people to know about it, so I’ll send a tweet like this:You’ll probably notice that that Tweet was sent from Facebook. I have our Facebook Page setup to update Twitter every time there’s a status update. It works pretty well. (So obviously that tweet originated from a Facebook status update, not from Tweetdeck, or

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I also use our organization’s accounts to mention (use the @account) about or re-tweet (RT) other accounts that are putting out good, helpful information, like this:

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You can see how helpful it is for our main Church account (@ranchocommunity) to mention @antiochTV – when we do, a link is available in the tweet that will take them right to the account, where they can see all the tweets from @antiochTV and learn more about that ministry.

Here’s an example of a re-tweet (RT) of our worship ministry:

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As you can see, when I re-tweet that tweet from @ranchoworship, it gave me a tweet with a lot of helpful information, including how many times the original tweet has been re-tweeted, and by whom.

I also re-tweet certain staff members and church-goers, like this:

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This is a tweet from one of our Tech guys, with a picture, that we re-tweeted with the church account, so those following the church account could catch a glimpse of what our staff see. It’s just a cool way to connect the dots.

Some common (or not so common) sense rules I have for organization tweeting:

  • Don’t use personal language. Don’t as an organization say “I hope you can make it to church this morning, we’re talking about grace”, rather say something like, “Join us this morning as we talk about grace”.
  • Right on the heels of the last point: Let people know WHO is tweeting. Obviously someone is behind the screen – let people know; it makes it much more personal and real. I have a little tag I put on our accounts for who is tweeting that is a simple, “@alexmclean tweeting”. Then followers know who it is that is sending out the content and they can choose to interact or not.
  • Don’t re-tweet irrelevant information. It’s nice that your worship leader is talking about his new pair of Tom’s – your organization’s followers don’t care about your worship leader’s shoes and if they do, they can follow him.
  • Asking questions is ok. Again, don’t use personal pronouns.
  • Understand your audience. Are you getting feedback? @ mentions? re-tweets? If not, maybe you’re not sending out good content enough, maybe your sending out too much? Maybe your content is bad, boring, unhelpful?
  • Try and think about leaving room for re-tweeting. Don’t always use all 140 characters; remember, when someone re-tweets, it’s going to add a handful of characters to the original tweet.
  • Try and have some fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously – check out companies like Mailchimp for examples.
  • Don’t be afraid to follow your followers… what’s it gonna hurt? So what if you don’t read their tweets? People like to feel connected and important – a little follow goes a long way, plus you never know what you’re going to get.

Tool of Choice: Tweetdeck

  • I use Tweetdeck on both my computer and my phone. Tweetdeck has a very nice (although not immediately intuitive) layout and user interface (i.e. I looks & feels good).
  • Tweetdeck allows me to manage all my accounts from one place. I simply add my Twitter accounts and the application allows me to tweet from several accounts, either one tweet at a time or simultaneously.
  • I use Tweetdecks “Columns” to organize and compartmentalize Twitter to what/how I want to see. For example: I have a column for “@alexmclean replies” so I can see who is replying to my personal tweets. I also have an “@ranchocommunity replies” column to see who is responding to that account, and so on… I’ve actually changed the way I watch the accounts now, rather than using the @ranchocommunity as the search query, I use just “ranchocommunity” so I can see much more activity (just try it and you’ll see.)
  • You can manage a lot more from Tweetdeck, like adding people to “lists”, which you can then call up in a column, ex: I have a “locals” list and column – the list is managed by my Twitter account – the column is what shows up in Tweetdeck. Confused yet?
  • You can follow, unfollow, block, and manage accounts within Tweetdeck as well.
  • WARNING: When using multiple accounts you have to be very careful before sending tweets, that you have the right account(s) selected. Don’t want to send that personal tweet out of your organization’s account.
Managing multiple accounts is not too hard to do – you just have to use some intentionality, creativity, and time to do it right.
I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve had some fun Twitter experiences. Tell me about them, and tell me about how you use and manage Twitter accounts.
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Designer. Communicator. Solutions Architect. Husband. Father of 4. Friend of God. I've dabbled in building, graphic design, worship, music, media, communications, connections, leadership, and now I'm an executive pastor at Rancho Community Church in Southern California.

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