Twitter starts new media blog to show what and how to share

Twitter starts new media blog to show what and how to share

Twitter-media-blogIt is always best to learn from the source. That is also what Twitter will have thought when they launched their new Twitter Media Blog last week. The effort is obviously two-fold. Where many of Twitter’s user accounts are dormant, this is an effort to have people and brands wake up to the power of Twitter. After all, it has been a proven fact that an active account is more successful, which in turn makes it more active and so on.

So, what can we expect from the Twitter Media Blog? Well, in their own words:

In this space, you can expect:

  • highlights and examples of new and innovative uses of Twitter
  • updates on our latest features and products
  • tips for maximizing your presence and impact on Twitter

Twitter states on the blog that they will be focussing on a number of subjects. Churches and Christian organizations are not mentioned, but fear not, there is enough to enjoy. Like the way in which Michelle Obama took her followers to Africa on Twitter. This is a nice example of what you can do with your next mission trip. You might not reach the 400,000 followers she has, but you might take your sponsors or church members along on a trip neither they nor you will ever forget.

Tell us how you use Twitter to share your stories. We will feature the best on later this year.

Who you follow, tells others who you are

Who you follow, tells others who you are

twitter-follow-testWith the release of their new API, Twitter has dropped the option to automatically follow everybody who is following you. And even though that might seem like an annoying change, it really is not. And I will tell you why.

Since the beginning of Twitter it has been possible to use online tools to extend your Twitter experience. Some, like Hootsuite, allow you to track twitter activity better and helps you respond to it. Some others allow you to do special things with your account. But as ever, the power to extend on Twitter is easily abused. Which was the case with followers tools. These are tools like Tweetadder and the likes. They promise you easy followers to boost your numbers. They did that by having their tool follow people to get them to follow back. And the same tools automated the follow back process, so that their users would boost each others’ numbers. And for the people that judge the success of their Twitter account by their follower numbers, that was heaven.

However, judging any social media account by its numbers is a very bad idea. After all, these numbers tell you nothing about what is valuable in a social network. Reach and engagement are interesting figures to watch on a social media account. They can potentially determine your influence. But those numbers can not be derived from the follower numbers you see on your Twitter homepage. Compare it to your church. In many churches, it is an unfortunate reality that there are many more people registered to belong to the church than come on every Sunday. So your church might have 2,500 members on paper, but if only 25 show up on any given Sunday, the figures are useless. The same goes for social media. It is not the amount of people who are following you, it is their engagement with you that determines the success of your social media channel. It is all about the relationships you have been able to build.

And then there is another problem with automatic following. A problem that you need to address if you are managing your Twitter account. If you have had automatic following at any point, go through your followers carefully. Because one of the strategies for Twitter accounts with adult content has been to follow anyone who easily follows back. That boosted their numbers. But lets face it, following an adult Twitter account does look rather funny on a Twitter account for a Christian organization or a church. After all, a lot of people look at who you follow to determine who you are. So, a safe thing to do is to go through your followers every once in a while, just to see who are there. After all it can happen to the best of us. Recently even Citibank was spotted following adult channels. Not something you want to have happen to your Twitter account.

How HMV’s twitter account went to the dogs – and how to prevent it

How HMV’s twitter account went to the dogs – and how to prevent it

hmv-dog-marketingHMV was hot news on Twitter today when staff took over the retailers twitter channel. I am not going to dive into the whole deal about financial troubles and layoffs. It is a tough time for retailers in the business HMV is in and with their new owners it might take them some time to get back on top. In the meantime it has been interesting to see how new technology has been completely passed upon in the first steps of restructuring.

I will try to set the scene based on the -now deleted- tweets by HMV staff this afternoon. Apparently HMV had an intern make the HMV Tweets account on Twitter. Nothing special. Even big companies choose to let interns rule their interpersonal communication with their fans. A good idea? Not at all, and I can give you lots of  reasons why. However, that is not the purpose of this post, so I will leave them out.

So, HMV had a twitter account and they have mainly used it to communicate new releases, congratulating the stars on their own label and congratulating followers with winning their own competition. They did do a single personal retweet of someone calling everyone to purchase from HMV to support the high street. So, nothing too personal and relational on there. But as people love their stores, they still have thousands of followers. There are two sides to that story. Yes, you can dump your messages to almost 70 thousand people as a corporate. But the people holding the keys to that account can also reach some of your most loyal 70 thousand customers with one simple click.

hmvtweetsAnd that is what happened. The person(s) who tweeted this have been seeing the demise of HMV as something they could have been able to turn around. It might have been someone who has really wanted to put in more than their share to make HMV work again. Or so the tweet seems to suggest when he or she says: “However, when the company you dearly love is being ruined and those hard working individuals, who wanted to make hmv great again, have mostly been fired”. So they broke the silence they were bound to by their contracts and came out with what was happening at the offices. The bad news spread quickly over twitter and it did not take long before the news picked up on it and articles started appearing on the BBC and ITV website.

Will this affect the retailer in the long run? Possibly. After all, the tweets first reached their 70 thousand most loyal followers. So what should have been done? It is hard to say, but it does start with control over the social media channels of your organization. And that is a lesson that we can all apply to what we are doing. Very often, the management of the social media channels for our churches or Christian organizations is done by the volunteer that knows a bit about the internet. You might be the exception, but many of the organizations that I have talked to in the past years have assigned their Twitter and Facebook accounts over to youth from the church, or other slightly more tech savvy individuals. And this is where a lot can go wrong. You need to consider the fact that within your organization or church, things can happen that might make people less enthusiastic about you. And that is why you need to make sure the basic account is under the control of your management team. It might just be for that first hour after whatever bad news hits, perhaps for longer, but you need to make sure there is some kind of control. After all, these are channels that are now seen as at least as important for your communications as your official website and printed channels.

Quick tips?

  1. If you are a large organisation, use something like Hootsuite or another client that will allow you to grant access to teams of coworkers to your social media channels. You might never need to, but the ease of -temporarily- denying someone access can come in handy one day.
  2. If you are in a position where media silence needs to be obeyed, make sure social media is on that list of media channels that you have created a strategy for.
  3. Have a quick press release available when someone has been able to gain access to the account after all your trouble. Don’t let it spin out of control. Take over the channel again and communicate with your audience.
  4. Do not go around and delete all the tweets thinking that that will be the end of it. Screenshots happen. And they are around for a lot longer. You need to deal with what has been said and talk to your audience.
  5. Know your way around your social media channels. The HMV marketing manager that asked how to shut down Twitter is an example of how quickly your organization can look bad.