Like the 218 million people on the planet, you’ve recognised that Twitter isn’t going away and so you’ve signed yourself up. Welcome to the club. Unlike many, you’re one of the minority who is tangibly thinking strategically about growing your influence and engagement levels on Twitter. Welcome to our club.
Twitter is a great tool and way to reach people you’d never normally be able to reach. It’s a way to have your finger on what is important to people. And it’s a way to raise the profile of your organisation.
More importantly, we know from listening to our customers that your two biggest priorities are increasing your membership numbers and additionally improving the levels of engagement and communication with them and between them.
Twitter can help you do both of these.
In the first part of a 3-post series, we look at how to setup your Twitter account and how to make your first tweet!
Setting Up Your Twitter Account
When you are setting up your account, consider using a @username that has as few characters as possible, whilst still being in keeping with the rest of your brand. This will become important when you want people to Retweet your content as you only have 140 characters to work with. If your username is long it may take your tweet over 140 characters. As a result, they’re likely to delete your username in the tweet so they can send it. That would be a shame to go to all that work where people want to share your tweet, and they can’t easily. Start with a short username.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. As you look to increase your membership numbers and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of engaging with them, inspire them by communicating what makes your club different from the others out there. Let your bio communicate this fact. Make sure you add a website link into the bio text, as this will act as a live link when your name comes up in search results. If one of your desires and aims is to drive traffic back to your club website this is crucial.
Your homepage (which is the background people see when you click on someone’s name) is where others get a flavour of your club. They form more of a picture of your organisation and what is important to you. What do you want to display here? Pictures of your members to help engage them / design work that inspires others to enquire about becoming members/quotes you think others will like? It’s good practice to keep a consistent design from one social media account to the next when promoting your club.
This picture will accompany you wherever you Tweet. Often it’s a great idea to use a similar image on all your social profiles so people are able to recognise you quickly, and your brand is consistent. As a club, it’s likely you’ll have a logo or some thing that denotes that. If you’re displaying a photo, we’d recommend looking into the camera. Smile and be engaging, so people want to respond to you. Whatever you do, get rid of the egg!
Once you’ve put your profile together, take a step back and ask whether you’d follow yourself. Keep tweaking your profile until you would. Getting a profile that people will follow is one thing. As our ultimate goal is to help you grow your membership numbers and increase the levels of engagement with existing members, we now need to look at what you communicate.
How To Tweet
A tweet is a maximum of 140 characters long. Think short bite-sized conversations as opposed to in-depth discussions. On the basis that our attention spans are much shorter, learning to say more with fewer words is critical. But you actually need it shorter than 140 characters. You really want it about 100 to allow space for people to add in a Re-Tweet and their username.
- Who are you tweeting it to?
This often gets people a little confused, as you’re not sending someone a tweet to what seems like a fixed destination. (A Facebook wall seems easier to comprehend because it’s always visible there). In short, all of your activity on Twitter is public unless you send a DM.
a) New Tweet. To tweet just to your followers (think of it as a status update on Facebook) and so in ‘Compose a New Tweet’ write anything. To bring this message to the attention of someone else add their @username at any point apart from the beginning of the Tweet and everyone will see it and the person you’ve added with be notified of it.
b) A Mention. To tweet to one person non-privately (think of it as posting it to someone’s wall on Facebook), add their @username at the beginning of your Tweet. If someone is following both you and the person you’re tweeting, then they’ll see this Tweet. Otherwise, it would only be seen by those who visit your profile to read your specific Tweets. Send us a Tweet @GymnasticsMGR and say hello.
c) Direct Message. To send a message to a person or organisation privately (think of it as an email to one person) send a Direct Message. They alone can see it. DM us @GymnasticsMGR to try it out.
d) RT. Retweeting is where you press retweet and it copies the message of the tweet you’re wishing to retweet along with the original tweeter’s username. You’d do this when you want your followers to see someone else’s content, and when you’re affirming someone else for what they’ve written.
e) Favourite. This is a simple star tool to say you like the Tweet. It’s a good way to affirm others if used in moderation, and equally, a good way to keep track of important tweets you may want to go back to at another time.
Adding Images & Videos
Images and videos have increasingly become more significant on Twitter in recent times. Twitter has made moves to move a little into Pinterest’s territory with the photographs being given more prominence in search results.
Naturally, it’s a great idea to have a series of images that you can utilise. Get images and videos from your club’s events. Alternatively, Flickr.com is a great resource to get Creative Commons images, which can be adapted for the purpose.
A hashtag is the sign #. When a word is put after this, you can search all the other people who have used this hashtag on Twitter, eg #gymnastics. Sometimes it can be very helpful to interact with a group of people around a hashtag.
For instance, if you were putting on an event and you wanted the people in the room to be able to communicate easily with each other, there could be a hashtag for the event eg #XYZGCAGM (XYZ Gymnastics Club, AGM).
Different hashtags become popular at different times when many people tweet it. Often when people are watching TV programmes, various TV programmes will trend e.g. #QuestionTime. Hashtags ‘trend’ in different areas: these can work on a city basis or on a Global basis e.g. #RIPNelsonMandela.
Engaging on a hashtag, especially if it’s in an area of your expertise where you have some helpful content, can be an easy way to meet others online who have similar interests. Additionally looking at the trending hashtags can give you a quick level of awareness of what the world is talking about. Many news stories are broken initially on Twitter now before it arrives on more traditional news channels.
So now you should have a great looking profile page, a Tweet-friendly username and have sent out your first tweet(s). Look out for post #2 or click here to download our free Twitter eBook where we will talk about growing your following and easy engagement strategies you can follow.
Until then, why not drop us a tweet with any questions or just to simply say hello: @GymnasticsMGR.