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Tara M. Clapper

Case Study: I Merged My Accounts With a 'Twitter Wedding'

Tara M. Clapper
Case Study: I Merged My Accounts With a 'Twitter Wedding'

When I started working at SEMrush a year ago, I made a new Twitter handle and promptly began engaging influencers and participating in #semrushchat and other Twitter chats. It made a lot of sense: as a reflection of an established and respected brand, I wanted to present myself in the most professional manner possible. I assumed people wouldn't want to hear about all the nerdy stuff I do on the weekend, my #EditorProblems and my struggles with the characters who live in my fiction.

I was wrong.

This is the metrics-supported story of how and why I chose to merge my personal and professional brand on Twitter.

What Are My Reasons for the Merge?

1. Personal Brand as a Company Asset

In previous positions, employers didn't leverage my personal brand. Even when over a decade of SEO copywriting experience was entirely relevant, I was to act on behalf of the brand – nothing beyond that. Being an employee, I understood this, but it also meant I felt no obligation to go the extra mile when it came to securing opportunities for the brand.

At SEMrush, my personal brand is strongly valued. Like other SEMrush employees, I bring a unique segment of viewers to our blog, webinar and Twitter chat channels. This encouragement and positive recognition allows me to grow along with the brand, and when I see an off-the-clock or after-hours opportunity to represent the brand well, I do.

2. Intersection of Personal and Professional Brand

What do you do in your spare time? Supposedly that's your passion – the thing you should be doing for a living. I spend most of my free time editing my own publication, blogging, writing and storytelling in plays or LARPs (live action roleplaying games). Each and every one of those interests is relevant to my day job as a blog editor at a maker of digital marketing software. Even my interest in comic books and comic book movies has added some personality to the brand.

Over time, I found myself cross-promoting material over the personal and professional accounts I had.

3. Time Management

Even with the help of CoSchedule, it takes an inordinate amount of time to manage multiple Twitter accounts, especially considering I'm more of a writer/editor than a content marketer. That said, I was keeping an eye on my several Twitter accounts and also wanted to enhance my personal brand on Facebook. Consolidating my Twitter accounts felt like the right choice for time management and allows me more time to focus my attention on social when I need to – and on the publications I edit at other times.

I chose to abandon @TaraMClapper and go with @irishtara for a few reasons:

  • I'm unconventional, and so is the handle
  • It describes something important about me: my heritage
  • It's an older account – I claimed it in 2009, and it likely had more authority in Google SERP results

How I Merged My Twitter Accounts

Unlike Facebook, there isn't a process for 'merging' two Twitter accounts. I didn't want it to look unprofessional (since in hindsight, I goofed by making a professional Twitter account). My friend Dan suggested I have a "Twitter wedding" in February around Valentine's Day.

Before embarking on this 'merge,' I asked my favorite Twitter expert Madalyn Sklar for advice. She said:

With that in mind, I proceeded with the merge.

1. I Invited Friends to Follow Me and Lured Them With Pretty Art

I asked SEMrush Graphic Designer Bob Foster to create an invitation to invite people to follow me at @irishtara.

When merging Twitter accounts, be sure to do two things:

  1. Update your bio saying you've combined accounts and will no longer be tweeting from this profile and to please follow you @YourTwitterHandle.
  2. Have your final tweet say the above.

These two things will make it very clear to anyone who visits this profile that you are no longer using the account. 

I made the initial announcement on my old Twitter account Jan. 26, 2016 using the lovely image he created:

Not only did people think the idea was cute, they even responded to ask me who designed the image. Something that was sort of a mistake turned into a clever marketing move for my personal brand.

Yeah. It was totally intentional, I swear. :)

2. I Cleaned Up My Image

I had to improve the image on both Twitter accounts – the one I was getting rid of as well as the new one. Here's what my permanent looked like before I made changes:

@irishtara Before Changes

My permanent @irishtara URL before the merge.

In this profile, I directed others to follow me at my professional handle for SEO-related things.

Here's how it looks now:

@irishtara on Twitter

Here's what I changed:

  • Added relevant hashtags (both professional and fun)
  • Changed location to reflect city in which I work
  • Added updated, professional headshot (consistent with the one I'd used on my 'pro' account)
  • Included my roles and titles at the top of my bio

I wouldn't have encouraged people to follow me on the account if I'd had any truly unprofessional content, but it still needed a bit of housekeeping before it was ready for the delicate eyes of marketing professionals everywhere. (Okay, so sometimes some of us may drink and swear considering the high-stress nature of the business, but true professionalism is the gateway to candor.)

I also made sure others weren't managing my images for me. I'd authorized dozens of apps (on both Twitter accounts) over the years. I revoked access as needed. Do I really need to give permissions to HBOTrueBlood? Probably not, Sookie.

Permission to publish on Twitter

3. I Repeated the Message on Multiple Channels

I made sure to repeat the message on my other social channels. I started with my professional page on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.34.29 AM

Then promptly shared that post over on my personal Facebook page.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.36.19 AM

I was also sure to notify my SEMrush teammates on Slack. Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.47.33 AM

Additionally, I made sure to update my Twitter handle on other social channels such as Facebook, About.me, Pressfolios and LinkedIn.

Update Twitter Handle on LinkedIn

And lastly, I left a little goodbye note on my old profile:

Twitter Merge

4. I Accepted a Fact: I Won't Reach All My Followers

I still have 1,775 followers on my old Twitter account, and it makes me sad. I could direct message them (which would probably annoy them and would take a fair amount of time), but overall I hope they notice the activity announcement. It's not likely I'll let go of @TaraMClapper because I don't want to relinquish the handle (it is my name, after all), but I have yet for devising a better strategy for getting these people to move.

How Has My Curated Social Media Presence Changed?

I've been a bit more careful about what I post over at @irishtara. I used to use it for more local things like traffic reports, complaining about traffic and posting pics of the adventures of my Thor action figure on my desk. My account still has a lot of my personality in it, but overall it's more streamlined.

My activity has also been much more consistent since merging the accounts. I don't feel like I need to have two separate tones split between different accounts. Instead, I've experienced steadier growth on the one account:

Twitter Analytics @irishtara

Do you have more suggestions for merging Twitter accounts? Please let me know in the comments.

Tara M. Clapper is Content Development Specialist at Express Writers and Senior Editor at The Geek Initiative, a website celebrating women in geek culture. Tara is a prolific content creator and an accomplished editor, having written and edited thousands of blog posts, small business websites, and other inbound marketing content through the course of her career. Tara enjoys blogging about SEO copywriting, content management, corporate culture, personal branding, networking and LinkedIn. She has over a decade of experience in digital publishing. Connect with her on Twitter @irishtara

Comments

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Leah Kinthaert
Leah Kinthaert
This was such an amazing creative idea to merge your Twitter profiles!
Madalyn Sklar
Madalyn Sklar
Tara, I'm honored to be included and listed as your favorite Twitter expert. You rock my friend! Great post!
Tara M. Clapper
Madalyn Sklar
Madalyn, thanks again for your help on this and for sharing my post.
Kathleen Garvin
Great post, Tara!

I go back and forth over whether I want to merge my accounts. I agree with your reasons, but part of me still wants to post whatever I want without "worrying" (used very loosely) that I'm inundating work contacts with too much Philly sports news and restaurant check-ins. And that "Twitter wedding" graphic IS totally rocking.

Also, H/T for using Twitter analytics -- I've never delved into mine before, and I'm going to start paying attention.
Tara M. Clapper
Kathleen Garvin
Thanks for your comment, Kathleen! Every now and then, there are a few geeky things I don't publish to my Twitter now that I share it with professional contacts. However, I'm more often on Facebook and like the privacy settings on there (I have a group that sees everything, a group that only sees some things, and I occasionally post public).

I'm not sure whether this means the digital marketing world is depraved of Chris Hemsworth photos or if my FB friends list is tired of seeing them...but I limit the amount of Thor pics I post to Twitter (unless it's #Thorsday, of course...then all bets are off).
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