Organisational and personal on Twitter
Including initials or names in organisational tweets can help some personality come through, but could be a waste of precious characters, and may not mean anything at all to your audience.
Organisations handle this in different ways.
Save the personal for when it matters
“What's the thinking behind personalising the tweets? If they're from the organisation, it strikes me that they should be from the organisation in an organisational sort of voice. If there's a reason why a specific tweet should be more personal, say a staff member is tweeting from a key event, then I think prefacing with a name is better than initials which'll be meaningless to most folk anyway.”
“We share our account between several people but only name tweets if they are from someone notable - e.g. our CEO or refugees attending party conferences. Firstly we want a consistent voice, secondly we assumed that most of our supporters wouldn't know whose the initials were, & thirdly of course, every character counts!”
“we personalise the Bio (so 'X, Y and Z are tweeting for @Org') but don't personalise individual tweets. If we're helping a specific person with a question we'd put a first name at the end, but would never personalise a broadcast tweet.
"If referring to a blog post that someone from our organisation has written we'd say "Our Brian has written X." That way we keep it friendly (i.e. people know that there are real human beings tweeting and producing the content) without coming across as too distant. But it also means that our overall voice is that of the organisation. It also makes it easier to train staff to tweet from the account and keep them all on message - you don't get different styles coming in as different individuals take the reins.”
Corporate account 'clearing house'
“We encourage all staff to tweet and RT on their personal accounts (which then all appear on our website homepage. This works really well in helping people to get to know the personalities behind the work. We’re a small organisation though so it’s easy to manage, and we have some staff who are based all around the country so it means we can stay in communication with each other better too!”
“If your main account, with all of its followers, is regularly Tweeting and RTing your staff (rather than primarily vice versa), it channels people who are interested in what you do direct to the people who are, quite frankly, much more interesting to follow, can more easily engage, and still have all of the knowledge and expertise that the org account does.”
Given how many orgs have several different streams of work, this also makes sense in terms of using Twitter as a way of guiding supporters directly to the people working on the campaign, programme or service that they are most interested in. It also allows the organisation to give the more emotive and opinionated content (which works best on Twitter), a bit of distance, while still allowing it to be a part of a loser communications plan. Which can help with satisfying the managers who don't want any personality slipping through 'the brand'.”
This article summarises a discussion on the eCampaigning Forum email list. Thanks to everyone who contributed.