business man at office

Should I tweet as myself or as my business?

It’s the Internet-age-old dilemma: Company Presence vs. Personal Presence. When choosing a Twitter handle, writing a profile, and posting a profile picture, entrepreneurs must decide between appearing as a business entity or a flesh-and-blood human.

For many business owners, their intention is to use Twitter to promote their companies. So while it seems like a slam-dunk to use the business name as the Twitter handle, the choice is not as clear. On Twitter, as well as many other social media platforms, people prefer to connect with people, and not businesses. Companies are one-dimensional, non-feeling, soul-less entities; and people are, well, people!

What I am getting at is that in most cases, entrepreneurs will be better served by creating a presence and a profile as themselves. As a small business owner, you will have greater success promoting your company as you than you would as your business.

This does not always hold true for larger companies. Nationally recognized brands need to have a strong company presence on Twitter. But while @Microsoft is the official Twitter account of Microsoft, @BillGates also maintains a personal presence. Larger corporations are expected to have a brand presence; entrepreneurs are not. If you run a small business, embrace the personal touch and tweet as yourself.

Here’s an example. If you received a notification that you have a new follower, which account would you be more likely to follow back?

Choice A:

Twitter Name: @JohnsonParkingGarage

Profile Photo: Picture of Johnson Parking Garage

Profile: The largest parking garage in the tri-state area with 12 locations to serve you better. Established in 1962 and winner of “Best Parking Garage” in 2015 & 2016.

Choice B:

Twitter Name: @TheParkingGenius

Profile Photo: Picture of owner Phil Johnson sitting in the driver’s seat of a 1962 Corvette

Profile: NASCAR fanatic, die-hard Patriots fan, and owner of Johnson Parking Garage. Posting pics of #ClassicCars & horrendously #BadParking. Join me!

To me, the choice is clear. I’d be very likely to give a follow-back to someone with passion about his business and hobby, than to a dry, personality-less business. Who on earth would consider following @JohnsonParkingGarage? What possible value could this account provide? The last thing I want to do is fill my Twitter stream with parking promotions, parking data, and the spirit-less Johnson Parking Garage.

On the other hand, @TheParkingGenius will likely put a smile on my face, as I see him post pictures of people parking on sidewalks, cars taking up two or three spaces at a time with wisecrack notes on them, and cool photos of sports cars.

In our social media agency, we advocate for a personal presence for almost all of our small business owners. We have seen dramatic growth in engagement and followers once clients make the decision to convert their business profiles to personal profiles.

Tweeting as yourself doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business; on the contrary. While you are providing content that appeals to your audience, you are building trust and naturally attracting people who will want to work with you. Plus, you are able to sprinkle in tweets from time to time about your company and current promotions.

With a personal profile, you are engaging directly with prospects, customers, and the public on a human level. A business profile can never achieve the important connection that attracts and retain followers.

You like the idea of tweeting as a person, but you still want a stronger connection with your company? I get it. There’s a great way to feature your company, while still maintaining a personal presence. Here’s what I do: I use my name as the account owner (Robert Mandelberg), but use my company name as my Twitter handle (@StreambankMedia). This way, when I follow someone, Twitter users will see “Robert Mandelberg is following you,” and when I tweet, my company’s branding is attached to my content. My profile picture is of me and not my company, and I tweet and engage as me. My personal presence is the primary reason why I have 35,000+ followers (and counting).

Want more information on how to optimize your presence for you and your business? Register for our free Twitter Webinar here.