Twitter: are you a digital manager’s nightmare? November 27th 2011

OK, let’s presume that you’ve made your Digital Marketing Manager happy and signed up for a Twitter account. Now what?

I’ve helped clients large and small to integrate Twitter into their planned marketing and comms activities. Just like other communication channels, the key is to decide at the outset if and how it can work for you.

I recently worked with a client who wasn’t yet at the point of needing a social media strategy. She needed a simple walk-through to see how she could use Twitter for her charity HR business and voluntary work. We went right back to basics during the session, so I thought I’d share a few of the points we looked at.

If you’re thinking about using Twitter, or if you’ve had a bit of a go and need some ideas about the next steps, I hope this is food for thought. And feel free to share my ‘27 ways to get more out of twitter‘.

Twitter is

Twitter is a microblogging communications platform to send messages in 140 characters or less. It’s used for research, listening, conversation and engagement. It’s a ‘one-to-many’ way of communicating to followers, but it can also be a ‘one-to-one’ communications tool if you use DM (direct messages) and @replies.

Before you use Twitter

Before you jump in, you need to look at how it can help to advance the aims of the marketing and comms plans for your project/organisation/event.

Make a plan. For example, who do you want to reach? What do you want to talk about? Do you want to raise awareness, sell, build relationships, or something else?

Are your off-line customers/supporters/donors on Twitter? Why not ask them if they are, and how they would like to see you using Twitter?

What do you want followers to learn or do when they see your tweets?

Developing Key Performance Indicators (so you know what success looks like) will help you to know if twitter is working for you.

Look who’s talking

Your Twitter account is part of your personal or organisation’s brand voice. You may be more open and informal on Twitter, but the style and tone should still represent you. It’s best not to try to be something you’re not; if you’re not being authentic, followers will find you out.

Who will be responsible for tweeting? How will you decide what to tweet and how to monitor what they are tweeting, if it’s on your behalf?

Nuts and bolts

Use #hashtags. They’re used so people can find and track tweets on a specific subject or event. The best known is #FollowFriday (you recommend people to follow by listing their @name). Some of my favourites are #MeatFreeMonday, #CharityTuesday and #WoofWednesday. You could start your own.

DM (direct messaging) is useful for one-to-one messaging people you follow and who follow you. But double check you really are sending a DM and not a reply to the world.

Why not try something like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to help you to see more of what’s going on in your Twitter world. Experiment with different options; the best one to use is the one that works for you.

Want to see if people are clicking through to links that you include in your tweets? Try using http://bitly.com. It’s easy to use and integrates with Twitter.

I will follow you, will you follow me?

Everyone has a different strategy, but don’t feel obliged to follow someone who follows you. Some people only follow people who are part of their immediate target audience. But bear in mind the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory. ‘Random’ followers may have useful and interesting people in their networks.

Ask your clients/customers/supporters/donors to follow you and tell them why it’s worth their while. Why not provide them with a newbies guide to setting up a Twitter account to help them along.

If you use other social media platforms, promote your Twitter account.

Find people to follow using directories like Twellow, and register your account too, so people can find you.

Include a Follow button on your email signature.

27 ways to get more out of Twitter

  1. Let people feel part of your organisation; ask for help or advice
  2. Organise a fundraising event
  3. Start a petition (check out @38degrees)
  4. Drive traffic to your website or blog
  5. Publicise your latest vacancy/volunteer job
  6. Get the word out and stay connected when your email or website goes down
  7. Deal with a crisis – fast
  8. Run a competition
  9. Share daily/weekly top tips
  10. Give your followers an insider’s view of your organisation
  11. Let people know when they’ve helped you to make a difference
  12. Don’t use your tweets to sell, sell, sell. Retweet, mention and share useful stuff much more than you promote yourself
  13. Use @replies to help develop conversations and deeper relationships with your followers
  14. Want more RT’s (retweets)? Provide links to useful sites, content, videos, preferably those that followers have not already seen on other people’s tweets (eg not just content from Mashable!)
  15. Use link shortening to save space and monitor your most popular tweets
  16. Share a link to a recent presentation
  17. Say sorry, and show how you’ve put things right
  18. Ask for feedback on your latest product/service
  19. Listen to what’s going on in your industry
  20. Collaborate on projects
  21. Say thank you
  22. Use lists and directories to find more followers (try @Twellow)
  23. Share videos, pics, sounds direct from the field
  24. Find a charity job (other sectors are available…)
  25. Do some research – it’s a great way to crowdsource ideas from a targeted audience
  26. Re-home a cat/dog/rabbit
  27. Find a cause you care about and show some support (here’s one of mine @anyaseventeen)

If you have a great tip for a Twitter novice, please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Posted in: Charity Communications, Digital Marketing, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , ,

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