By Jeff Kline

Blog

Twitter for Chambers - The Beginner's Guide

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Twitter Training Camp For Chambers

I am the proud father of a high school football player. One of the things I love about those Friday night games (besides cheering on my son) is seeing a really smart play result in a positive outcome. Football, after all, is a game of strategy.

But before a player gets to flip through the playbook, he must first learn the fundamentals of the sport.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CHAMBERS

For the next few weeks, I will be discussing social media in two-part segments. The first post will teach the fundamentals; the second post will serve as a playbook, in which you will find strategies to help you win at social media.

Let’s start with Twitter.

TWITTER FOR CHAMBERS

Twitter is possibly the simplest of all social networks. You create a basic profile that consists of your name, an identifying image, and some descriptive information to let followers get to know you. You post brief messages (snippets of information, links, pictures) and receive a real-time feed of posts from users you have chosen to follow. Twitter gives you the ability to effortlessly communicate your chamber's message to thousands of people.

Here are some terms to know:

  • Tweet – the way in which Twitter users communicate; a 140-character message posted publicly (unless manually set to private)
  • Follow – the way in which Twitter users connect with one another; similar to a “Like” on a Facebook business page
  • Stream – your homepage view; a real-time listing of tweets posted by people you follow
  • Followers – people who have chosen to receive your tweets in their streams

Now that you have a basic understanding of Twitter, use this step-by-step beginner's guide to set up your account and build your profile!

6 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED ON TWITTER

Step 1 - Create your username.

Visit https://twitter.com/signup and fill out the sign up form.

  • Full Name: Use your chamber’s name, NOT your personal name. 
  • Username: Your username must be identifiable, yet concise. Use your official chamber name, but omit the “of commerce” part. And never use numbers, such as “Chamber234.” It looks like spam and appears less professional. 

The Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce gets it right – its Twitter username is brightonchamber. This makes it easy to search and there is no confusion about whom the posts belong to.

Step 2 - Edit your profile

To begin editing your Twitter profile, click the gear image at the top of the page, then Edit profileEdit your Twitter profile

  • Photo: Upload an image of your chamber logo to be your Twitter photo. This photo will show up next to every tweet you post, at the top of your twitter page and in search results for your chamber.
  • Name: The common practice here is to leave off the “of commerce” portion of your name. [Note - this is different than your Username.]
  • Location: Be specific – include city and state.
  • Website: Share your URL to increase visibility for your chamber’s main website!
  • Bio: With a limit of 160 characters, this is where you really need to capitalize on space. Work in a few of your most important keywords (this will help your chamber show up in Twitter search results.) Include contact information – a phone number or an email address. If applicable, link to affiliated Twitter users - the Loveland Chamber, for example, links to the president’s account.
  • Facebook: DON’T post your tweets to Facebook. You’ll tweet far more frequently than you should post to Facebook. Facebook requires its own strategy, which we’ll get to in a couple of weeks.

Step 3 - Edit your design

If you’re still in Edit profile, you’ll see a menu to the left. Click DesignEdit Twitter profile design

You have three options here:

  • Pick a premade theme. These are mostly bold, whimsical designs that don’t exactly scream “Chamber of Commerce!” But if you choose one of the simpler designs, it can work.
  • Customize a premade theme. Check out Themeleon for premade themes that you can tweak with different patterns and color schemes.
  • Customize your own background and cover photo – PREFERRED! For some people, this might require a designer. But creating a background from scratch allows you to stay true to your chamber’s brand image. [Tip: Make sure you change the font color for your page’s text so that it is legible with the new colors, themes and backgrounds that you choose!]

Step 4 - Write your first tweet. Compose a new tweet

When you start following people, you don’t want them to discover that you have zero tweets. So announce your presence! On the Home page, you’ll see a text box in the top left corner that says, Compose new Tweet… Give it a shot!

Step 5 - Follow people.

You don’t want to follow just anybody. Rather, follow relevant users – your existing and potential chamber members, local businesses and organizations, chamber employees and other chambers. There are a few ways to find people to follow:who to follow on Twitter

  • Click the #Discover tab at the top of the page, then click Find friends. This allows you to discover which of your email contacts are already on Twitter.
  • Use the search bar at the top of the page to look up relevant keywords. Your search results will be divided into two categories – Tweets that include the search terms and People whose bios contain the terms.
  • As you begin to grow your list of Following, you will begin to receive helpful suggestions on related users whom you might want to follow.

Step 6 - Follow others back.

Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, connections on Twitter are one-way. If you follow someone, they don’t necessarily have to follow you back.

When you’re first building your Twitter presence, it’s a good practice to follow back everyone who follows you (unless you know they are spam). This will establish you as a reciprocating Twitter user, and could encourage others to follow you.

Click Followers on your page to view everyone who is following you. As you scroll down the list and click Follow next to each name, you can also segment these users into lists. Click the icon next to the Follow button, then click Add or remove from lists. By sorting users into custom lists, you can view tweets from one segment at a time – “Chamber members,” “Chamber employees,” “Local government,” etc.

add or remove to twitter list

MORE TWITTER RESOURCES

Whew, that was a lot of information! But if you’re still hungry for more, check out these links:

Twitter for beginners – Mashable.com

How to add your Twitter cover photo – Hubspot.com

5 simple steps to getting your business on Twitter – SocialMediaExaminer.com

***

Today’s blog post was intended as a user-friendly, step-by-step introduction to Twitter for chambers - your Twitter Beginner’s Training Camp. And the fun has only just begun…next week we open up the playbook!

Download the Blueprint to Social Media Success for Chambers of Commerce!

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