Twitter is a social media platform where users share their thoughts, news and information in 140 characters of text or less. Twitter makes global communication cheap and measurable and profiles are (usually) public — anyone in the world can see what you write, unless you elect to make your profile private. Users ‘follow’ each other in order to follow and converse with specific people or brands.
The short format of Twitter lends itself to quick updates and conversations around events as they are occurring (for example, during live radio shows or community events).
Following people or organisations on Twitter will provide you with a stream of their tweets and will keep you up to date with events and conversations in your interest area, just as the people who follow you will receive your ‘tweets’ in their stream. The differentiator with Twitter is that it is possible to just ‘follow’ or be followed without reciprocal attention, unlike other social media platforms where becoming ‘friends’ means information will flow both ways.
If you have guests coming up on your radio shows, consider checking if they have a Twitter account so you can follow them and then tag them in a tweet. This will ensure anyone reading their Twitter feed will see the tweet and know they are appearing. Likewise, it is good practice to retweet suitable messages that have been directed to your profile, so it then reaches all of your Twitter followers.
Radio stations and programs may elect to use a hashtag as a method of inviting real time feedback while on air. These conversations will take place in public on Twitter, but a suitably unique hashtag will isolate these messages. You can’t control non-interested users from posting with this tag, but instead you must rely on the relative obscurity of the tag in a sea of tweets to target the right participants.
How to use Twitter
- Go to twitter.com and follow the prompts to create an account, including your username and password
- Include a picture and add some profile information in the settings area of your profile
- Tweet your thoughts regularly (at least one tweet a day)
- Use ‘@username’ to direct your message to another user
- Use a ‘#hashtag’ to tag your tweet by topic eg #localtownfestival (this will help your tweets to get into Twitter’s trending topics)
- Use ‘retweet’ to share another profile’s tweet you’ve read with all of your followers
Community broadcasting tweeters
- @3MBSfinemusic: Information about programs and events in the classical music world – this radio station also makes use of hashtags so announcers can join the conversation from their personal accounts
- @4ZZZ: A Brisbane radio station Twitter account which includes community related information of interest to their listenership, eg festival conditions, touring news
- @1wayfm: Example of a Twitter account which uses for real time reminders of what is coming up on air
- Consider your Twitter profile name carefully – ideally you want consistency with other radio station marketing tools and you want it to look professional when you promote it elsewhere.
- Specialist Twitter management programs exist with greater capabilities and nicer interfaces than simply posting through Twitter – use programs such as HootSuite to organise your Twitter feed, create lists, schedule and post tweets, set auto responders, receive notifications and manage multiple accounts.
- The more you give the more you get – don’t push information out, have conversations, follow others, ask questions and retweet other great tweets.
- Engage with other businesses, industry experts, bloggers, influencers, donors, supporters and volunteers.
- Use services that allow you to include a picture with your tweet.
- Create industry lists within Twitter which help you to filter content and to add value to your customers.
- Make the most of your 140 characters – use url shorteners and #hashtags that motivate your readers to click through to your site.
- Tweet content from radio shows, community events and any station events, and share insights from your customers, colleagues and members.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter: Mashable
- The Community Media Training Organisation (CMTO) have produced a series of one page ‘cheat sheets’ which outline some of the basics in social media - visit the CMTO website to download these cheat sheets