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Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

by Marian Schembari on July 25, 2011

I’m going to be completely honest with you. I failed epically when it came to monitoring two Twitter accounts.

I would have liked to come back with this massive success story… Shown you all that it just takes a little bit of effort and consistency to build a following from scratch.

Yeaaaahh…. no. It didn’t work out that way.

For those of you unfamiliar with my second-account-saga, I started another blog called This New Town, to chronicle my “adventures” (re: attempts to settle) in New Zealand.

To help promote this blog without annoying my already existing Twitter followers, I started a second account.

Tweets were about where I was going, what I was doing and how I was coping.

To keep this from turning into a book, here’s what I did wrong:

  1. I segmented my audience.
  2. I didn’t know my audience.

Don’t Segment Your Audience

Listen, I’ve said this before and for some reason I ignored my own advice. You are your own brand. Unless you’re a news site or a blog with multiple authors, people come back because of YOU. Your voice, your stories. It’s the same thing with Twitter. Just because you’re a social media blog doesn’t mean you can’t tweet about the weather, your dog or that weird rash. In fact, you SHOULD tweet about your personal stuff. That’s the whole point. Connecting.

Young House Love recently posted about breastfeeding even those John and Sherry blog religiously about home improvement. Part of the same niche? No, not really. Part of their hugely successful brand? Hells to the yes.

Know Your Audience

I’ve avoided writing about this topic since moving to Auckland because it’s a small, cliquey city, but social media is on an entirely new plane here. The group of people using Twitter is smaller, but they use it in such a different way. It’s more about talking to friends you already have, not making new ones.

So I started this new profile, trying desperately to connect with Auckland people, not realizing I wouldn’t get a response out of them because no one had any established connection with me.

It was a long, tortuous, and highly frustrating process.

Point Being….

Because I was so desperate to fit into this niche and so worried my Auckland-centric tweets would annoy my previously-established followers, I segmented myself, therefore alienating really interesting people on Twitter. And because New Zealand tweeting is so different from what I’m used to, growth was seriously limited.

Meaning? Unless you really have to, one Twitter profile is enough.

I’d be curious to hear what your thoughts are, if you’ve had success or failure with maintaining two personal accounts. I might have given up a tad too early, but in my gut it was definitely the right decision.

{Super-secret-secret: There might be some combining of the blogs in the near future. But don’t worry, I’ll poll the shit out of you before I do.}


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  • Sian

    If it’s the right thing for you, then it’s the right thing. Keeping more than one Twitter account lively isn’t easy. Domestic Sluttery needs one – there are too many of us writing for the site for it to be just my views (we write in the ‘We’ format, although it’s often just me tweeting). If think if you were posting several times daily in each place you’d have trouble with just one account. I only tweet to a couple of posts a day from my personal account and that usually keeps things balanced.

    But it’s not easy, and I reckon your life is so interlinked into your social media posts that your audience will want to read them. I do.

    • Marian Schembari

      You know, I actually thought of you when writing this – perfect example of when you need two accounts. Domestic Sluttery is a brand. You have different authors and even if you do most of the tweeting, it’s not as much “all about you” as a personal account.

      Love this example!

  • Averill Buchanan

    I, for one, really appreciate your honesty in fessing up to the difficulty of maintaining 2 Twitter accounts. It’s for a similar reason that I’m not convinced Google+ circles is the social media revolution (no pun intended) that everyone makes it out to be. Maybe it’s just me, but I would find it really difficult to separate out bits of who I am and decide which people would be most interested in that bit of me. My posts are either public or they’re not posted at all – same on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and I’m the same person across all networks.

    • Marian Schembari

      Why thank you!

      I hadn’t thought about Google+ that way but you are SO RIGHT. That’s sort of why I’ve given up on it. I don’t have the energy to categorise everything I know, and at the end of the day, I rarely censor myself or separate my interests so it just sort of works out that I can combine the two. However, if my childhood minister was following me on Google, I might separate some of my posts ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I have two accounts, though I’ll admit that I’m not particularly good at either of them.  Now that you’ve brought it up, I’m chewing over whether to combine them.  One is primarily for business, and the other is personal/fiction writing, but the two are beginning to overlap.  Hmm…

    • Marian Schembari

      Haha, well, whatever works. If you’re finding the two overlapping in real life, you might want to combine. Trust me, it makes life a lot easier.

  • Passive Guy

    I have a couple of different Twitter accounts for substantially different parts of my life and don’t have a problem with them, but there is no cross-cultural element.

    I use HootSuite (I have no relationship with the company), which makes it easier to check multiple accounts. I have each account organized exactly the same so I can quickly see direct messages, mentions, etc. I also have the program following a couple of good lists and maintaining a couple of persistent searches that provide me with good material for retweets, mentions, etc.

    As with a lot of people, each of my blog posts generates a Tweet on the appropriate account.

    At the moment, I have about 4,300 followers on one account and 1,600 on the other.

    I can see that the NZ issue would be tough because you have to be more nuanced in getting to know people.

    If you want to see how this looks, follow @passivevoiceblg

    • Marian Schembari

      Listen, if you have the time and energy to rock more than one account, more power two you. I think it really depends on your audience, your patience and your niche. Because people on this site seem to sometimes give a shit what I’m doing in NZ, it was stupid to separate the two. But if you, say, had a business blog and live tweeted TV shows, well, that warrants two accounts (I know someone who does this, and it’s IMPERATIVE she separate). So I definitely appreciate your comment as there should always be different strokes for different folks.

  • Marian Schembari

    Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • Kimberly Kinrade

    Well, as you know I started a new twitter account as a character from one of my books. She also has her own blog where she interviews characters from other books. So I kinda had to give her a unique account. She’s doing ok, with a handful of followers. I’m not great at getting on there and building like I was with mine, but it’s fun and her blog is booked for the next 2 months! It’s early yet. We’ll see if I keep it going long term or not.

    • Marian Schembari

      Yes! This is the perfect example of when having two account is sort of necessary. You’d probably lose the magic of “being” a fictional character if you did it from your own account.

      Be patient though! Folks don’t know who your character is yet and transmedia Twitter is difficult. I know you’ll kick it’s ass though, you always do.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Alexis Grant

    Worth a read! RT @marianschembari: Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • Jacob Wolfsheimer

    Worth a read! RT @marianschembari: Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • Ryan Rancatore

    Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • Ivan Giesbrecht

    Interesting. RT @RyanRancatore: Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • Alexis Grant

    So glad you wrote on this. I’ve thought through this several times, for different reasons. For one situation, it’s working for me to have two accounts — I tweet as blog @alexisgrant and @USNewsCareers — because the latter is for work, I’m building their brand through my voice, and I only tweet job- and career-related info there.

    But for my blog/website, I struggled with integrating my social media biz (when it was new, about a year ago) with the info on publishing/writing that I already provided under The Traveling Writer. Turns out putting all of ME in one place was the way to go — and I’m now trying to convince a friend to do the same. I may have a lot of different interests, but it’s all under the umbrella of ME. And besides, my readers would get bored if I only wrote about one topic all the time.

    This reader just did a critique of my blog, and she says my varied interests are all inter-connected, which drives home your point:

    What I’m saying here is that this philosophy applies not only to Twitter, but to a website or blog. Spreading yourself too thin works against you in many ways!

    • Marian Schembari

      Alexis, this is a great, great comment and you wrote a great follow up post too, thank you!

      I love what that reviewer said about your combined interests. This is something that’s been “haunting” me for a while. I love my second blog, but I don’t update it at a ton. I love this blog, with the same problem. Lately I’ve been thinking, most of my readers are well-rounded people. People I could easily be friends with in real life. So there’s no reason I can’t add in a bit of travel, a bit of NZ into this blog. It’s part of who I am and there’s something powerful to be said about not segmenting your life.

  • Pages For Web

    It’s interesting that you say that one twitter account is enough,
    because I was about to create another account for me, but I wasn’t
    really sure if it would be a good decision. It’s the first time I
    comment here, but I often check your blog for updates. I’ve been trying
    to figure out all this social media stuff and there’s a lot to be
    learned. Thank you for your good articles.

    • Marian Schembari

      Haha, you definitely shouldn’t take my word for it. I knew in my guy a second account was a bad idea AND people told me I shouldn’t do it. But you do need to learn for yourself – what works and what doesn’t. I run Twitter accounts all day at work so I do technically run about 4 total, just only one under my name :) It’s all about trial and error. At the end of the day, I only have one personal account now and it’s working for me.

  • Pages For Web

    It’s interesting that you say that one twitter account is enough,
    because I was about to create another account for me, but I wasn’t
    really sure if it would be a good decision. It’s the first time I
    comment here, but I often check your blog for updates. I’ve been trying
    to figure out all this social media stuff and there’s a lot to be
    learned. Thank you for your good articles.

  • Kate Fineske

    2 accounts? I can barely keep up w/1! LOL > RT Why I Completely Failed Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts @MarianSchembari

  • Coffee & a BookChick

    At the risk of promoting myself through this post, I am first and foremost a book review blogger. Then, I had the bright idea to start a vegan blog to jot my thoughts down on my journey back from a vegetarian lifestyle to the vegan/raw recipes that I used to love so much. I considered having two Twitter accounts, but then was so glad to not start it up – it’s already a full-time job to write my book review blog and tweet, Facebook post, etc., that the idea of having another blog AND another Twitter account wiped me out. Not to mention, that pesky day job got in the way, and now I’m glad I never started up the second Twitter account – it’s now July and my last post on my vegan blog was back in February, but my book review blog is as regular as can be! Granted, several fellow book bloggers were interested in my vegan thoughts and retweeted out my posts, which was encouraging, but I’m glad I kept it as is.

    • Marian Schembari

      No, this is really good – I love hearing people’s PERSONAL experience with this stuff rather than just theory. I agree that you shouldn’t have started another blog, but that doesn’t mean you can’t combine the vegan with the books. Could you do a Recipe Friday? Maybe? I don’t know. I rarely see people with two blogs work. I mean, look at Darren Rowse. He barely writes his own stuff anymore and some of his blogs look hopelessly abandoned. Food for thought!

      Glad your book review blog is regular. That’s probably the most important part. You can have one blog or 50, but if they aren’t consistent and frequently updated, it’s not going to go anywhere. More power to you!

  • Gabbi

    RT @MarianSchembari: Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • Jeff Hackmeister

    How many accounts should you have? "Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts" from @MarianSchembari

  • Leslie

    Posts like this are why I love your blog. You’re honest, you have a great voice, and you share your own experiences. I can see how having two Twitter accounts would be problematic. Bravo to you for trying it out AND telling us how it went.

    I’m now curious about what you think about having more than one blog, especially for people with varied interests. And, I never got to say, congrats on the new job!

    • Marian Schembari

      Wow, thanks Leslie. Way to put a smile on my face :)

      To be honest, I’m unsure about two blogs. I have yet to see it work well and this is something I’m going to address in a different post. The plan is to actually combine my two blogs in the near future because, as Alexis said below, you CAN combine your interests, even if they’re varied. At the end of the day, if a bunch of different things interest you, this will probably be the case for a lot of people.

      So watch this space, it’s most likely going to get a lot more person up in here. Your comment has inspired me to get cracking on it. Thank you!

      • Leslie

        My pleasure. :) Am also a fan of combining interests–they belong to us, after all–so will look forward to your updates. BTW, cool to see that you are now in Melbourne. I’m adding “brave” to that list. :)

  • Arena Solutions

    I guess I wouldn’t say you “gave up too soon” but I really wonder if it’s a situational thing. I could see it being a failed strategy in some situations, but in others I think it could work (as usual, I guess it really depends on what you’re trying to do, who your audience is, and how much time you have.) For example, we reach out to two audiences that have overlap, but also have their own very unique traits. Right now, we are trying to balance it all on one Twitter account, but we are interested in reaching out to each one uniquely because there are times when I post something super targeted to one group, and I worry I lose the other group. Obviously, the biggest challenge is resource, so we haven’t made a move on it . . . but we’re tossing the idea around.

  • Joi Sigers

    Love your honesty! So many people online (and off for that matter) come across in a way that makes you think they’re Jesus, or at least one of His disciples. It’s refreshing when people don’t mind letting the fact that they’re human shine through!

    For me, personally, I work full time from home as a web publisher – with 12 websites/blogs. I have a couple of twitter accounts, simply because if the niches involved. It’s harder than it sounds to keep more than one twitter account humming along. If I worked outside of home or went to school, I wouldn’t even try.

    Great blog, by the way. You seem like a really, really, really lovely person inside and out.

  • Elizabeth S Craig

    Why 1 social media guru failed at maintaining 2 Twitter accounts: #amwriting @MarianSchembari

  • Karen S. Elliott

    Why 1 social media guru failed at maintaining 2 Twitter accounts: #amwriting @MarianSchembari

  • Judith van Praag

    1 ID RT .@elizabethscraig: Why 1 SocialMedia guru failed at maintaining 2 Twitter accounts: #amwriting @MarianSchembari

  • Pingback: The 7 Top Posts of July — Marian Schembari()

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  • Jon Haywood

    this is totally happening to me RT @MarianSchembari: Why I Completely Failed at Maintaining 2 Twitter Accounts

  • coco tupou

    okay so i have twitter accounts so when i go onto my other one it says do you want to follow this person but i am that person so how do i deactivate both of my accounts please i need help

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