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Twitter for Journalists, Part I (Alexis Grant)
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Twitter for Journalists, Part I (Alexis Grant)

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A presentation for my colleagues at U.S. News & World Report. …

A presentation for my colleagues at U.S. News & World Report.

Want more from me? http://alexisgrant.com


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  • 1. Part I: For Beginners Getting started Choosing a handle Setting up your profile Twitter speak Getting followers Tips & tricks Action Plan Alexis Grant Nov. 15, 2010 agrant@usnews.com
  • 2. Choices:  Your name or variation – Benefit: Suits you no matter who you work for or what you tweet about.  Subject-related handle, like @Alphaconsumer  Consider: ◦ Will your handle still work if you leave this publication or change interests? ◦ You can tweet about lots of topics no matter what your handle. ◦ Try to avoid underscores, numbers, anything that looks like an AOL screenname: FuzzyKitten83. ◦ If possible, stick to one handle rather than one for professional, one for personal – especially if you’re new to Twitter.
  • 3.  Fill out ALL info. Leave nothing blank.  Photo: Use close-up shot of your face  Make bio useful and interesting  People will use all of this info to decide whether to follow you  Personalize your background  Colors: Make it match U.S. News
  • 4.  @replies  @mention  Difference between @reply and .@reply  DM = direct message (private)  RT = retweet what someone else tweeted  #hashtags = grouping tweets  Best format for tweets = Statement, @mention (attribution), link. Hashtag at end or embedded.  Your Twitter stream should be mix of your own links, RTs and @replies.
  • 5.  Don’t press Twitter’s RT button  Instead, cut and paste a tweet, put RT @handle as attribution  Why? So the person SEES it. They’ll follow you back or RT you in return.  Next session, we’ll go over Hootsuite, which makes it easier to RT  Read more: Please, for the love of God, stop using the RT button!
  • 6.  Find people you like, see who they follow  Pick someone, Google “name Twitter”  http://wefollow.com - users with influence  Look at other people’s lists  Search for topic hashtags  Interesting people will also come to you – follow them back
  • 7.  Most tweets should include a link or @mention  Offer value: useful or entertaining  Ideas: ◦ Links to our stories ◦ Links to other outlets’ stories on your topic ◦ What you’re working on ◦ Other topics on the fringe of what you cover ◦ Questions that generate conversation ◦ RT interesting people ◦ Anything interesting, even if it’s off-topic ◦ Set up an RSS feed and Google alerts for blogs and stories on your topic
  • 8.  Don’t automate it; do it by hand  Ask questions, add comments  Don’t write: “new post” – say what it’s about  Use keywords (like SEO)  Use @mentions when possible  Make it sound useful and applicable  Add hashtags at end or embedded
  • 9.  Maintain objectivity.  Be careful with comments on RTs  Straight-up RTs are not endorsements, but can be perceived that way = careful  At the same time, show your personality  @replys are important, but be cautious
  • 10.  Let new sources find you easily  Easily communicate through DMs  Discover new sources – Ask your followers for what you need  Build credibility and grow your brand  Find story ideas and trends  Drive traffic to your site
  • 11.  Tweet quality  Always use @mention when possible  Follow and RT tweeps you want to notice you  Be interactive – more than a stream of links  Keep your followers higher than following  Add topic hashtags: #journalism, #socialmedia, #jobs, #jobsearch  Add handle to e-mail signature in clickable format: http://twitter.com/you  Add handle somewhere on website – Make it easy to find you
  • 12.  Don’t automate tweets. Always do it by hand so you can add @mentions, questions, personality  Drag tweet button to your navigation bar: http://dev.twitter.com/pages/share_bookmarklet  Bit.ly, too: http://bit.ly/pages/sidebar  Find popular hashtags for your topic, add them to your tweets - Look at which hashtags other people are using  Search Twitter: http://search.Twitter.com  When Twitter fails, use Google: “name Twitter”  Tweet on weekdays, Facebook on weekends
  • 13. 1. Pick a smart handle. 2. Fill out your profile completely: photo, location, link, and intriguing bio. 3. Make your profile look pretty: background and colors. 4. Tweet at least 6 times before you follow anyone. 5. Follow 20 people (U.S. News tweeps, industry experts, other publications). 6. Practice tweeting while you wait for them to follow you back, then follow another 20. 7. Use http://wefollow.com to find more people to follow.
  • 14.  8. When someone follows you, consider following them back (if they look interesting and non-spammy).  9. Put your Twitter handle in your e-mail signature in this clickable format (or make it a link): http://twitter.com/alexisgrant  10. When you have 50 followers, talk to me about an RSS/Twitter widget for your section.
  • 15.  U.S. News: @USNews  Money: @USNewsMoney  Education: @USNewsEducation  Careers: @USNewsCareers  Mutual Funds: @usnews_funds  Kim Palmer: @AlphaConsumer  Rick Newman: @rickjnewman  Alexis Grant: @alexisgrant  Ben Baden: @benbaden  Meg Hadley: @mmhandley  Ryan Lytle: @rlytle  Paulo Ordoveza: @brownpau  Sara Clarke: @seclarke  Phil Moeller: @philmoeller
  • 16. Next session: Scheduling tweets, lists, Hootsuite & strategy

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