- Wed, July 06 2011
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
Four years ago when we started working with Twitter on behalf of nonprofits, it wasn’t yet an established medium crucial to winning elections, fomenting revolutions, and locating cupcake trucks. Back then we were often left to run organizations’ Twitter handles on my own and had to explain over and over again what we were doing and how we were connecting with influential activists, reporters and Congressional staffers.
It’s different these days - it seems many organizations commit resources to whatever new social platform comes out. People now tell me that they don’t have enough followers, wonder how much tweets they should “push out” every day, or say they can’t accurately measure how well they’re doing. Today many communications professionals are convinced of the importance of social media like Twitter, but are trying to force methods and thinking from a traditional broadcast world into tools designed for a world where information flows.
Twitter is so much more than a vehicle to help you push out messages and content. When used effectively as tool for listening and monitoring, Twitter can be a lens through which you can observe the flow of information and culture. You can not only receive information, you’ll also perceive where information comes from, where it’s going, and where it might go tomorrow. This perception will help inform all sorts of communications activities: writing subject lines for constituent emails, pitching reporters, creating content that will reach your audiences, identifying new potential donors or customers, sounding really smart in meetings, etc.
You can find out how to do all this in Fenton’s new paper Short & Sweet: The Whys and Hows of Twitter for Communications Professionals. For Twitter newbies, it has step-by step instructions for getting started. For communications pros who have tweeted for years, it has some innovative thinking about how to use the medium and guidelines for helping interested colleagues get on board efficiently and effectively.
Here’s a sample - a quick checklist before tweeting. Ask yourself these four questions:
Is this useful? Would I read this or click on it?
If there’s a link, is the language you use to say what it is as explicit and enticing as possible?
Should you refer to a writer, outlet, public official, celebrity, or organization on Twitter?
Is there a hashtag to use?
Is everything spelled right?
Thanks, Fenton, for the guide.