A Guide To Sucking Less At Twitter

Twitter was founded in 2006, has 310 million monthly active users today and is the social media darling of TV. So why is radio still confused about how to use it?

I blame the 140 character restriction. It’s scary. Kind of like when Randy Lane tells you that every sentence out of your mouth on the air needs to drive toward your story’s payoff… Suddenly you’re like “Oh Gawd. Was that sentence too much? Should I cut it? Was my story short enough!?” It’s hard to entertain and be concise. I get that.

So you creative people can stop freaking out about how character restrictions stress you out and ruin the creative process, here’s a guide to help you show Twitter who’s boss.

A Guide To Sucking Less at Twitter

Let’s Get Philosophical

Not a reader? Hate my articles? Read this bit and I’ll leave you alone.

  • Only tweet what adds value to your listener. No, really. Twitter is not a dumping ground for press releases. People come to be educated (think news stories), be entertained, and to connect with people.
  • Always act like a real person. When’s the last time you bonded with a logo? We don’t bond with brands on Twitter; we bond with the people behind the brands. This is easy for talent and show accounts, but trickier with station accounts. A note for your social media manager: stop pretending you don’t exist and let listeners get to know you on Twitter.
  • Be accessible. People love Twitter because it allows them to connect directly with celebs. You are in your listeners’ personal space so you have to get personal. If you can’t engage with your followers, you don’t belong on Twitter.
  • Don’t worry about your follower count. If you follow the three rules above, your account will flourish on its own.

The Boring Basics

Let’s cover the basics before we get fancy.

  • Sign your tweets. If you don’t have a Twitter account and you’re tweeting from the station’s, sign your on-air name or initials after the tweet. If you have a Twitter account, sign by tagging your own account. People want to know who they’re talking to!
  • Use hashtags. Use them functionally to expand your reach (think local and topic related hashtags). Use them for humor to add dimension and context. Limit to three per tweet as a rule of thumb.
  • Don’t auto link. Don’t link your Facebook account or your blog so it auto tweets content. Followers see right through that. It’s not engaging. Craft tweets just for Twitter and you’ll see better results.
  • Engage and respond to mentions. Twitter is a two-way street. Engage in dialogue with your followers and RT their content when it’s good. Check out Taco Bell—they’re great at this.
  • Take cover. Update your cover photo regularly to take advantage of this promotional real estate. Design an evergreen one that brands your account and change it out for new promotions.
  • Take advantage of pinned tweets. Pin your most engaging tweet to the top of your profile so new followers will see it. Just don’t forget to change it often so it doesn’t get stale!

The Practice

You’re all set up but what do you do now?

  • Promote talent accounts. What differentiates your station? Its talent. RT talent tweets, with input and personality from the station social media manager (I.e. “SMH. See what I deal with all day?”) Check out the NFL who does a fantastic job showcasing its players to strengthen the league’s brand.
  • Include video, GIFs and images to grab your followers’ attention in the feed. You’ll see higher engagement and can use these assets for other social platforms, too.
  • Use Twitter polls to interact. Debating with your co-host over something controversial? Post a Twitter poll and let listeners take sides.
  • Reward your loyal followers. Manage a list of engaged listeners. When you have free stuff, give it to them. Or host an exclusive party, generating buzz for your Twitter presence which will increase your following.
  • Set up Twitter lists to get the most out of Twitter. Create private lists for show prep, Retweetable content, local news, and to track competitors. That way you have curated feeds for anything you’re looking for.
  • Plan one-off events. Host a Twitter party with an in-studio guest. Or let listeners engage with talent around topics of interest. Feeling more creative? Host a truth or dare party where co-hosts have to answer questions or take dares from listeners on Twitter. Add an element of surprise with slime for anyone who tries to cheat (and video or stream it for listeners to watch).
  • Show us around behind the scenes. Showcase the station experience and enhance the other talents’ brand personalities by creating stories about life at work.
  • Just be you. If you’re entertaining enough for the airwaves, you’re entertaining enough for Twitter. (Just watch your spelling.)

Photo credit: Flickr/avenueg

 

 

 

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