This is a continuation of a class I did with the Algonquin College first-year PR students (The aptly named “Twitter party”). If you are one of the students–thanks for attending and I hope you’re able to continue to build your brand as well as understand the tools for practical PR application. Also, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the presentation, or if you have any questions. If you weren’t there, well my hope is you’ll get value out of these resources anyway. Also, I’d love my readers to drop a comment and add any more resources that will help them excel with Twitter & LinkedIn.
First here are my slides on Twitter:
(note: I have to give credit to my friend Sean Power… I originally created this Powerpoint for the Project Management View webinar I did a couple weeks ago, but last week I found his awesome post “Twitter new user survival guide” and revised a few points. Thanks Sean!)
And to recap, here are the 11 things you need to remember to succeed with Twitter.
11. Build a profile
The more information you can put in your profile the better. Try to load up your bio with keywords that will help potential followers identify what you’re all about and what you’ll be tweeting about. Do not worry about having complete sentences–it’s often better not to, so that you can get more info in. Also–put up a photo. It doesn’t have to be a photo of you if you’re camera shy, but at least find an icon or something that represents you.
10. Find people to follow
Once you’ve set up your profile and posted a few tweets, you’re ready to find people to follow, here are some sites to help you out:
- Twellow is the Twitter yellow pages. Search for people based on info in their profile (user name, bio, location)
- Twitter’s search function can be used to find people who are tweeting about a certain subject or keyword that may be of interest to you. Also you can use the search to follow a hash tag (#) that interests you and follow those people who are tweeting about it.
- Mr. Tweet is your personal twitter assistant who will make recommendations on who to follow. All you have to do to get your personalized report is follow @MrTweet
9. Get used to 140 characters
That’s the limit twitter gives you, so you may find yourself editing to get your message across clearly and succinctly. Remember if you want people to retweet you, you may want to keep it even shorter (110 is a good guideline)
Also, if you want to tweet links you may want to use a URL shortening services,
- http://idek.net is my favourite because it provides stats about who clicked on your link
- http://bit.ly if you’re really serious about tracking and stats, bit.ly lets you create an account and track all your URLs.
- http://is.gd creates the shortest links, so if you’re pressed for space it’s a good choice.
There are tons of these services out there, and you can drag them onto your browser bar for easy one-click URL shortening. Also if you do decide to use Tweetdeck, it has URL shorteners built in, so it’s even easier!
8. Listening vs. Tweeting
I recommend you spend 80% of your twitter time listening to what your followers have to say, and 20% tweeting. This will help you get more benefit from those you follow and help you avoid over-tweeting.
7. Ask yourself “Who cares?”
If you are looking to build followers, ask yourself “who cares?” before you post. You want to provide value to your audience with each post. This doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little personality, but make sure you’re providing valuable information.
6. Put yourself out there!
If you want to build followers, don’t protect your updates–if someone doesn’t know you, they will not likely request to follow your updates.
5. Promote cool stuff –and not just your own.
It’s perfectly OK to post links to your blogs, or maybe a cool project you’re working on (so long as it’s of value to your followers) but don’t *only* promote your cool stuff. If someone else tweets something you like, retweet it by putting RT @[their_username] and copying and pasting the original tweet. Also if you happen across a cool web site in your daily life, tweet it!
4. Join the conversation
To reply to another user: type @ before the user name. It will automatically link to his/her profile and show up in the side bar even if he/she is not following you.
If you want to join in a hash tagged conversation, just stick # in front of an established keyword or acronym. If you want to start your own, just stick # in front of a keyword of your choosing. To follow hash tag conversations, go to search.twitter.com and search the tag (note you can search inside Tweetdeck too)
One example of a regular hash tagged discussion is #journchat it happens live on Twitter every Monday from 8 to 11 p.m. EST. You can follow the conversation here–by typing in #journchat into search.twitter.com
3. Learn three ways to tweet
Stuck on what to say? Try these common types of tweets:
- Ask a question: Twitter is great for asking question. Ask anything from “What Twitter apps would you recommend?” to “Where’s a good place for lunch in downtown Ottawa?” The larger your twitter network the more answers you’re likely to get.
- Share a resource or wisdom – Post interesting facts, tips and quotes, people love them! Also, if you find a great website, share it with your twitter network. These types of posts can really add value for your followers, so go crazy.
- Report on news and/or events – If you happen to hear/see something before it hits mainstream media, tweet about it! Some great examples of news stories broken on Twitter include the Mumbai bombings a few months back as well as the plane crash in the Hudson river.
2. Try some Twitter Apps
First and foremost, try Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck allows you to create groups of followers to track separately from your entire stream. For example, you may want to create a PR group that includes your classmates, profs and other PR grads on Twitter.Tweetdeck also allows you to search,
Also you can use Twitscoop to see trending topics via a ‘tweet cloud” (i.e. a cluster of words of various sizes that shows you what’s popular on Twitter)
Also, for a ridiculously exhaustive list of Twitter apps, check out the Twitter Fan Wiki. At least take a few minutes to read through what’s out there. There’s an app to do just about anything with Twitter.
1. Be yourself & have fun!
Tips for using LinkedIn
I totally agree with Andrea and strongly recommend you also join LinkedIn. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, and here are some tips to get the most out of using LinkedIn–which unlike Twitter, does not require a lot of time commitment–at the very least sign up, create your profile and just leave it at that, but you can do much more with it if you choose.
- Think keywords when building a profile. Like Twitter, before filling out your profile think of keywords that will describe you professionally. For example, don’t just say you’re a public relations student. Say you’re a public relations student interested in media relations, corporate communications and social media looking for work in the nonprofit or private sector. (Or whatever it is you’re interested in)
- As a general rule, only invite/connect with people you’ve met/interacted with in real life. Unlike other networks, people like to keep their LinkedIn profiles with real life contacts. Some may allow “virtual” connections, but unless you’ve heard them say it, avoid adding someone you haven’t met.
- Give–and ask–for recommendations. Personal recommendations not only help you look better, they help your profile turn up in search results. Also some LinkedIn jobs require you to have recommendations to even apply so it’s not a bad idea to ask for recommendations from former/current employers and colleagues. If you’re too shy/timid to ask, than recommend some people yourself, they just may return the favour.
- When sending an invitation to connect, write a personalized message. Unless it’s someone you know really well, take a minute to write a personalized message in the invitation. This is especially key if you’ve met someone at a networking event where they might have also met many other people, if possible mention something you spoke about. (e.g. “Hi Fred, We met recently at the Night of the Roundtables event at Algonquin College. We had a great chat about doing PR in the nonprofit industry. I’d love to connect with you & stay in touch.”)
- After collecting someone’s business card, add them on LinkedIn. Personally, I’m famous for collecting business cards and never following up (unless we discussed something to be followed up). However, now I treat LinkedIn as my personal contact database – I add someone after I meet them (with a personalized message) and then instead of digging through business cards if I need to get a hold of someone, I just look them up on LinkedIn. And *yes* almost everyone is on LinkedIn these days.
As we also discussed in class, both these tools are fabulous for promoting events and/or campaigns. However, if you start using them now–and not just when you want to promote something–you’ll be able to build a solid network of influence so that when you do want to promote something, you’ll have genuinely interested people who’ll listen and want to help you out!
Social media events in Ottawa
As great as online communication can be, it still doesn’t beat face-to-face communication. If you’re interested in social media and want to learn more, here are a few local events I’d suggest attending.
- Social Media Breakfast happens about monthly and always features an awesome speaker. Costs $10, but well worth it!
- Third Tuesday Ottawa – is a PR/social media event put on by Thornley Fallis. It’s free and always a great time. Don’t be fooled by the name though, it rarely *actually* happens on the third Tuesday. Sign up for the meetup group to get alerts when it’s happening.
- Social Media Book Club – is put on by me and Scott Lake. About every 2 months we read a book and get together in a bar to chat about it. The good news is you don’t actually have to read the book, but it helps!
Good luck with the last few weeks of your first year!