Establishing an official company account on Twitter can be a tough job.
At its core, Twitter is a channel for social interaction and the majority of users are reluctant to follow an account which promotes a business. For many, Twitter isn't a site for business.
For most, the social network is a channel for talk; a place where people can find friends, share news and swap stories. It's a service which depends on conversation and, at first glance, a professional account can't hope to compete with the personal tales of mates and colleagues. Particularly when so many companies are reaffirming preconceptions of business on Twitter with banal and soulless updates. In short, users have a right to be sceptical.
With the odds stacked against them, it's imperative that corporate accounts offer as much personality as possible. Do away with the formal and bland; inject some humanity into your office feed with these five easy steps.
Provide a profile picture
Companies are often accused of being inhuman on Twitter; a robotic voice hiding behind a company logo. Combat this with a photograph.
One of the simplest ways to let people know that you're a living, breathing person is to add a snap of the account author in the profile box. It immediately establishes a connection with the audience and it's a lot easier for users to interact with someone if they know what they look like.
Take a look at Walrus Bar, Sweet Mandarin or Kelloggs for a good example of this.
People want to know who they're talking to.
Put your name in the profile biography so people can see who they're having a conversation with; users are far more likely to get involved with your brand or cause. Even if it's just a name or a reference to a personal Twitter account.
Take this example from the Creative Tourist team.
Introduce the team
If multiple employees are tweeting from the account, consider letting the audience know which person is responding at any one time. The simplest way to do this is to sign off each message with the author's initials.
A number of big brands do this very well, although a few Manchester Twitter accounts have also applied the strategy. Below, you can see the feed for local travel firm On The Beach.
Add your own design
Personalise your Twitter design with your own colours or branding; it'll go a long way in the quest to establish a personality. Add a background image and it'll give the account an individual character, making it more memorable.
Better yet, include a picture of life at the company (maybe a team photo or a shot of the company headquarters). This background space offers an opportunity to reveal the people behind the brand. Use it.
The Business Desk North West provide the following example.
Make sure your tweets offer a genuine insight into life as an employee at the company. Talk about your day, mention projects you are working on and share staff news. Include photographs of the team and link to relevant stories which you find interesting.
This insight offers users a human angle. Manchester Airport is a good place to start for an example of balancing work and play on Twitter.