A lot of people are asking themselves: “So what is twitter and why is it so essential for me to be a part of it?” Well besides the fact that all your friends are doing it and you succumb to peer pressure easily, it’s where people are talking about you and your brand, if you listen.
I recently gave a presentation to my organization about how we currently use twitter. I think that these 4 ways we use it can be applied to how your company can use it to connect and engage with your audiences.
One of the most important ways that my organization uses twitter is to listen to what people are saying about what’s happening in the education world. Twitter is great because you can listen to what’s happening in your focus area without participating in the conversation if it’s not relevant to you.
Listening is also a great way to see who’s talking about you, who’s talking about your products, and who’s talking about your industry. One way you can make listening in on conversations easier is by using a social media management system like HootSuite or TweetDeck to set up keyword searches for topics you’re interested in. This allows you to follow all the people who are talking about a certain subject without necessarily following them on Twitter.
The next important step after listening to different conversations on Twitter is to connect to people’s who’s ideas you like and want to engage with. Connecting with a user can be as simple as favoriting one of their tweets, replying to one of their tweets to them letting them know that we’re listening and in this together, following them, or retweeting one of their tweets to them to our followers to know that what they’re talking about, we’re also talking about. This is an important step in building your network of Twitter followers. Think of the connecting step as introducing yourself to a stranger at a networking event.
Having a Conversation
Once you’ve taken the steps to listen and connect to people whom you would like to talk to. Engage them in conversation, Twitter is one giant conversation, and as long as you have something of value to add, people will respond. A good way to have conversations is by participating in a tweet chat, here’s a list of tweet chats sorted by subject and day of the week. Participating in a tweet chat is also a good way to grow your audience by connecting to people in your industry.
Sharing is one of the most important aspects of social networks. On Twitter is the aspect to the ease of sharing content is a great way to establish yourself as an expert. Whether that be sharing blog post you wrote or other content that you feel your followers may find helpful. If I see something that I think my followers would be interested in, I never hesitate to share it. The main types of content that my organization shares on Twitter is not always directly related to content we produce, when you’re sharing you have to remember that Twitter is more about connecting with others than it is with promoting yourself. People that only push out articles and content about themselves are less valuable to the community than those who share content from others.
While Twitter is a great place to push out a lot of information, it also happens to be one of the drawbacks, if you don’t pace yourself, you could get sucked into the information vortex and overload yourself.
I hope that these quick and dirty Twitter tips help you start on the process to engaging with your networks!
First off, I would like to welcome you all to my blog, and I’ll start by telling you a little bit about my background and experience in social media.
After graduating from Oregon State University in 2005, I toiled around in Oregon before moving to New York City in August of 2006, since then I have staked my claim in the world of nonprofits. First in a fundraising role, and now in communications role. I noticed that in my first position at a prominent cancer organization, that the organization had no social media presence. For a disease like cancer, which affects so many people every year, I was confused as to why my organization had not set up a forum where people to connect and talk to each other about their experiences. So I had an idea, seeing the power that having a stronger online presence had increased our donations in my department, the Communications Manager, and I worked together to put a social media plan into action.
At first it was just a few fans, and followers, then as we started to promote it more, we both noticed that the Facebook page was gathering fans at a staggering amount. The page allowed people to connect with each other on a very personal level, sharing stories of hope and survival. The page is now thriving with the nearly 20,000 fans, and all from a simple idea.
Now, I work in the communications department of a non-profit which focuses on preparing low income students for college and careers. We have our work cut out for us in terms of growing our social presence since our network is not as engaged as those at my previous job, but there is still a path to success.
I have also worked as a freelance Public Relations consultant helping actors and comedians promote their work to audiences in both Los Angeles and New York City through traditional means such as press releases as well as through social channels like Facebook and Twitter. I hope that I will be able to share what I have learned in growing social networks for nonprofits and arts professionals and turn that into success for your non-profit’s or brand’s fan page.