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Getting personal with business-related Twitter accounts

It seems Twitter has found a way to solve a problem many businesses come across while using the service: How do you have multiple employees tweet under one main account, but still show the person behind the account?

It goes back to the core point of Twitter -- the most successful accounts have personality. And the same is true with accounts created by businesses to keep in touch with customers. When you have a face and a name behind the corporate tweets, it makes communication more personal and adds value.

The best success stories come from accounts like Starbucks and ComcastCares, where it clearly says in the bio who is doing the typing.

A few days ago, Twitter started testing a feature that includes the account name of the writer within the bottom of the message (not within the 140-character tweet -- it's only on the website). For example, if Biz (the co-founder of Twitter) logs on the main Twitter corporate account to send a message, it will say in a small font under the message that it was written by Biz, and link back to his personal account.

Mashable has screen shots of what the contributors feature looks like - check 'em out here.

This feature isn't open to the public yet, but if you want to see an example, check out the Starbucks account, which is testing this feature.

The best way to manage an account like this is to assign one person to the account and say who it is in the bio. But if you need multiple people on one account, there are some ways to make it personable. You could compile a Twitter List of all the employees who use the account.

Make sure the bio says something like, ``Tweets brought to you by these Acme Co. employees,'' and put a link to the Twitter List of their personal accounts. There are how-to List guides on Twitter.

I wouldn't recommend typing the name of the author in every tweet; it looks messy and wastes valuable characters.

If you do have multiple employees managing one main account, check out the free applications CoTweet and HootSuite, which have some behind-the-scenes tools for professionals to track responses and manage multiple accounts.

But no matter what you decide, just be sure your business account has personality and engages with other users. No one likes to interact with a lifeless drone.

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