January 13th, 2009
Twitter can and should be used as the official account for your news organization, much the way @statesman and @ColonelTribune represent the Austin American-Statesman and the Chicago Tribune. Here are 10 tips for Tweeting as your news organization:
1. Follow people who are following you. To be fair, a lot of media accounts miss this important point. It’s in journalists’ DNA to push information out without listening to their audience. Change that.
2. Respond to questions, suggestions and comments. It doesn’t cost you anything but a few minutes’ worth of effort. This simple rule can relatively quickly turn your organization from a seemingly cold, uncaring institution into your audience’s trusted friend.
3. Do not use Twitterfeed. Nothing against the clever third-party vendor that pushes RSS feeds onto Twitter, it’s just that shoving your headlines out mindlessly does not make a good news Twitter account.
3. Be a one-stop shop for information. Retweet your followers’ interesting posts. Link to your competition.
4. Know your audience. Ask them if you’re Tweeting too much. Ask them if they want more. Build a quick survey and ask them to fill it out. What do they want you to Tweet more about? What should you avoid? Listen to what they say and adjust. Do your followers mostly want local news? Give it to them.
5. Trust the person or people Tweeting for your organization. Pick people who have sound news judgment and a knack for finding interesting stories. Talk to them about what you hope to accomplish. Then let them do their thing.
6. Post in a conversational tone. It’s hard to get out of the “President signs bill” headline writing mode, but do it. Think of it as sharing headlines with friends – what you say if you were telling a friend via e-mail about that bill signing?”
7. There’s no real “undo” button in Twitter, and you shouldn’t have a copy editor reading each Tweet. Therefore, take a deep breath before you click the “update” button.
8. It’s not only about driving traffic to your site. You have to keep your community interested in your account or you’ll lose them. Don’ link bait — by that, I mean don’t post lame content just because you can write a clever headline that you think will draw clicks. It might work the first couple of times, but people will stop clicking on your links.
9. Check Twitter Search to see what is being said about your news organization. Jump into conversations if you can be helpful. Do not be combative though.
10. Market your efforts relentlessly. Find a place for Twitter content on your web site. Show it on your evening broadcasts (ala @ricksanchezcnn). Run house ads for your Twitter feeds. Think about hosting a Tweetup, which is basically a big party with your followers. If you’re doing this right, people will want to meet you.
As always, if you have any additional ideas or tips, please post them below!
Entry Filed under: New Tricks