1. The Role of
A comprehensive guide to using social media
to strengthen your local economy
Designed with communities and economic development professionals in mind
“Social media is about integrating
your brand with your customer’s
lifestyle, and in turn, incorporating
your customers into your brand”
2. Prepared by: EDCD Consulting
Okanagan Region: Metro Vancouver Region:
Kelowna, BC Chilliwack, BC
This document was prepared by EDCD Consulting. While every effort
has been taken in the compilation of this information to ensure that it is
accurate at the time of publication, EDCD Consulting, or any person acting
on their behalf accepts warranty or liability from incorrect, incomplete or
misleading information or its improper use. Readers should be aware that
information in this publication may change at any time and without notice.
Copyright ©2009 EDCD Consulting.
3. Table of Contents
Message from EDCD Consulting 4
About the Authors 4
What is Twitter? 5
Why Use Twitter – Is there a Role for Economic Development? 6
Economic Development & Twitter Best Practices 8
How to Use Twitter – Create Your Twitter Account 14
Setting Up Your Twitter Account 17
Your Twitter Page 24
Make Your First Twitter Update 25
Following and Getting Followed 26
Managing Twitter 32
What Are You Doing? 33
Appendix A: Social Media Guidelines Template 34
Appendix B: Glossary of Twitter Twerms 36
4. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Message from EDCD Consulting
Social media has changed the way we communicate with each other. Many of these
changes have been positive and become wide spread throughout every sector. While
it is not possible to review every social media technology and how it may be applied
to economic development, it is possible to provide detailed information on one. This
document focuses on how to get up and running on Twitter in the shortest amount of
time. Twitter was chosen for a variety of reasons. Its ease of use, its dominance in the
social media playing field and Twitter is an excellent starting point for social networking
Use this document as a tutorial to provide the how-to’s of Twitter. You will get all the basics
along with some pointers on how to set yourself or your organization up for success. We’ll
show you some organizations that are using social media to their advantage.
Remember that Twitter and social media is constantly evolving so there are bound to be
some changes that may not be reflected in this guide at the time of printing. Always be
sure to check a website’s policy, “Help” section and FAQs to ensure you have the most
We welcome any feedback on this guide and would be interested in hearing how your
economic development organization is using social media…what your success stories
might be. Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
About the Authors
Colleen Bond is a Partner with EDCD Consulting, and has worked in the field of economic
development for 15 years. Colleen has developed specific expertise in the areas of
business enhancement and expansion, business attraction and foreign investment
attraction. She is a Certified Economic Developer and is currently working towards her
C2ER Research Certification. Colleen is interested in how social media can work for
economic development and has developed various methods and techniques that can
be easily applied to communities of all sizes.
Dale Wheeldon, a Partner with EDCD Consulting has a diverse background in economic
development and local government. Dale’s extensive experience includes the
development of strategies for business retention and expansion, economic development
strategies for communities and associations. Dale is a frequent speaker at economic
development events. He understands the importance of gathering community and
stakeholder input and has the ability to gather that information with a buy-in from a
majority of constituency.
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What is Twitter?
Before we get right into the basics of Twitter, it is important to know what Twitter is and
why you might want to use it. Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging service
that enables its users to publish short messages, up to 140 characters in length, on a
personalized news feed. Users can update their feed directly through the Twitter website,
or they can use various desktop and mobile applications, including SMS messaging.
The 140 characters answers Twitter’s question of “What are you doing?” The 140
characters allowed are called “tweets” to your friends or “followers”. This format is a
defining feature of Twitter and allows for informal collaboration and quick information
sharing that provides relief from rising email and instant messaging (IM) fatigue. Twitter
also provides an opportunity to communicate with people, businesses or organizations
that you may not normally exchange email or IM messages with. It opens up your circle
of contacts to an ever-growing community of likeminded people.
Over the past few months, Twitter has experienced explosive growth, attracting celebrity
users and a growing number of media and blog coverage. Sysomos, Inc., a leading
social media analytics company, conducted an extensive study to document Twitter’s
growth and how people are using it.
In a June 2009 report, Sysomos disclosed that there were 11.5 million Twitter accounts
• 72.5% of all users joining during the first five months of 2009
• 85.3% of all Twitter users post less than one update per day
• New York has the most Twitter users, followed by Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco
and Boston; Detroit was the fast-growing city over the first five months of 2009
• More than 50% of all updates are published using tools, mobiles and web-based,
other than Twitter.com. TweetDeck is the most popular non-Twitter.com tool.
Since the beginning of 2009, seventy-two per cent (72.5%)
of Twitter users have signed up for the service.
The graph on the following page illustrates Twitter’s phenomenal growth in the first five
months of 2009. Sysomos credits this growth to the much publicized competition between
the actor Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and CNN (@CNN) to be the first to have one million
followers. The month after this public race, talk show celebrity Oprah Winfrey (@oprah)
started using Twitter.
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6. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Why Use Twitter – Is there a Role for Economic Development?
Twitter has many uses for both personal and business use. It’s a way to keep in touch
with people and quickly broadcast information about where you are and what you’re
up to. For economic development purposes, Twitter can be used to broadcast your
organization’s latest news and blog posts, interact with your businesses or clients, or to
enable easy internal collaboration and group communication.
Twitter is not just about updating friends it is now becoming THE place for global events
and Twitter is making sure this new direction continues. In late July, Twitter put a new
face on its webpage to ensure new users understand that Twitter is the place to get and
give information. They revised their text to significantly shift away from being a personal
network to focus on real-time discovery and world events. Another recent change is
the addition of “trending topics” on their homepage. These are topics that are being
discussed on Twitter and represent the collective discussion of the entire world. Twitter
now provides an explanation of the trending topics. The goal is towards the curious
onlooker seeing that Twitter is the place to have the conversation.
Twitter is addressing the common reasons that individuals, businesses or organizations
don’t join including:
• I just don’t have anything to say
• I don’t need to update people on my life
• It’s for people with followings and something to promote, not for me
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7. A comprehensive guide to using social media
From an economic development perceptive, the reasons above have no validity. As
economic development professionals and leaders:
• You do have something to say – whether it’s about your community, sharing your
expertise or creating a common ground for your businesses.
• You do need to update people – this is not about telling people what you had for
breakfast, Twitter is now about telling people what’s important in your community,
what are your best practices, learning from others, spreading the news about what’s
happening where you live.
• You do have something to promote – economic development is very much about
promotion. You promote your community every day, you promote the good work you
do to your stakeholders, and you promote your programs to assist your businesses.
Using Twitter as one of your communication avenues is something that is easily done, cost
effective and timely. It plugs you into the collective world and expands your reach far
beyond your boundaries.
Twitter is branding itself to become THE place for global events
and is taking steps away from being branded as a social network,
or being compared to Facebook.
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8. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Economic Development & Twitter Best Practices
There are very few Canadian economic development organizations using Twitter. This
is due in part to the early stages of understanding of how economic development can
benefit from social media. As you will see from the following case studies all have used
Twitter for less than six months. US-based economic development organizations have
been quicker to adapt to Twitter and many have been involved for more than a year.
The following examples will provide you with a better understanding of how your
community could use Twitter.
Organization: Connecting Kelowna.
Location: Kelowna, British Columbia
Twitter Account: twitter.com/TwitBizDay
Twitterer Since: June 2009
Number Following: 1,981 Number of Followers: 1,701 Number of Tweets: 287
Other Social Media Used: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn Social Media Policy: NO
Twitter Objectives: The vision is to get every business in Kelowna on Twitter and to
make Kelowna the first city in the world to fully adopt Twitter for
business. The objective is to network the business community by
sharing local news, events and insights into the region. The project
was started by a local inventor but has received partnerships with
the City of Kelowna, Chamber of Commerce, Science Council,
Research & Innovation Centre and the Downtown Association.
Twitter Successes and Benefits: TwitBizDay has had over 800 local businesses sign up for Twitter
since the initiative started. The Twitter online community combined
with weekly information sessions have businesses connecting
with businesses in ways that have not happened previously. The
project has increased communication between businesses and
local government along with various agencies and organizations
including tourism and economic development.
Lessons Learned Communities and businesses just need to get on board with
Twitter. Fully understanding Twitter is not a necessity to start. Post
your first tweet and you can start to get comfortable with how
Twitter works. It just takes one champion in a community to get
the initiative going.
Contact Information: Website: www.connectingkelowna.com
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Organization: Northwest Corridor Development Corporation (NCDC) is a
member based organization that raises awareness of Canada’s
underutilized northern transportation corridor. It spans four western
provinces and connects with Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Through advocating continual improvement in related public
policy and infrastructure, NCDC assures a seamless corridor of
multimodal transportation, trade and tourism opportunities.
Location: Grande Prairie, Alberta
Twitter Account: twitter.com/IntheCorridor
Twitterer Since: May 2009
Number Following: 353 Number of Followers: 341 Number of Tweets: 1,029
Other Social Media Used: n/a Social Media Policy: NO
Twitter Objectives: NCDC uses Twitter as a communication tool for its members.
It provides information on upcoming events, shares member
successes and provides links and resources of interest.
Twitter Successes and Benefits: In the short time NCDC has used Twitter, they have dramatically
improved member communication. Sharing information about
what is happening in various communities within their region has
lead to further inquiries on investment opportunities. A significant
increase in contacts and resources has resulted since starting with
Twitter. NCDC has posted Tweets on an upcoming conference.
This use of Twitter has directly resulted in securing attendees that
would not have otherwise been aware of the event.
Lessons Learned It is important to keep an open mind when first starting out with
Twitter – it may take a little time before you experience results
and begin to see real value. Start slowly and ensure you have
the resources (time) to devote to tweets – after a short time it will
only take a few minutes a day.
Contact Information: Gerard Aldridge, Executive Director
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10. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Organization: City of Calgary – located 80 km east of the Canadian Rockies,
Calgary is Alberta’s largest city and is an emerging global city.
A 2009 civic census had the City of Calgary’s population at
1,065,455 and the City has the largest number of head offices in
Canada, per capita. Its key economic drivers are Information
and Communication Technology, Transportation and Logistics,
Energy, Manufacturing, Financial and Business Services, Film and
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Twitter Account: twitter.com/cityofcalgary
Twitterer Since: March 2009
Number Following: TBA Number of Followers: TBA Number of Tweets: TBA
Other Social Media Used: Blog, YouTube, Facebook Social Media Policy: YES
Twitter Objectives: The City of Calgary uses Twitter as an extension of their website.
Twitter offers an integrated approach with traditional media
to communicate with residents on a timely basis. Information
posted on Twitter includes various city events, announcing new
recreation programs and waste recycling schedules.
Twitter Successes and Benefits: Twitter has been extremely well received in the City of Calgary.
• By promoting local events the City has seen an increase
in attendance at a number of events.
• Through Twitter a discount coupon was offered to promote
a new recreational course. This proved very successful in
increasing class registration.
• Twitter was used to assist with the announcement of new
changes in scheduling and procedures within the waste
Lessons Learned The City stressed the importance of taking time to decide on your
Twitter name and the look and design of your Twitter page. Ensure
that you have enough resources to continue the tweets once
you start. Have a policy that defines what your key information
will be and how you will promote Twitter.
Contact Information: Chantelle Zandbeek, Marketing Strategist
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Organization: Destination Winnipeg is a public-private partnership led by a
private sector board with core funding from the City ofWinnipeg
and the Province of Manitoba. Their mandate is to market the
city and provide services to facilitate economic development
and tourism opportunities for Winnipeg in collaboration with its
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Twitter Account: twitter.com/Destination_WPG
Twitterer Since: April 2009
Number Following: 25 Number of Followers: 420 Number of Tweets: 157
Other Social Media Used: Blog Social Media Policy: NO
Twitter Objectives: Destination Winnipeg uses Twitter as an additional communication
tool for their organization. The main objective is to extend the
reach of Destination Winnipeg’s corporate website and to
enhance communication efforts.
Twitter Successes and Benefits: Twitter posts include links to Destination Winnipeg’s corporate
website and blog. They have seen an increase in their posts
being retweeted which raises the traffic and awareness to their
website and blog posts.
Lessons Learned Once up and running on Twitter it is important to make regular
posts that are timely and interesting. This will help to retain and
Contact Information: Connie Tamoto, Manager, Corporate Communications
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12. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Organization: County of Perth
Location: County of Perth, Ontario
Twitter Account: twitter.com/pertheconomic
Twitterer Since: June 2009
Number Following: 733 Number of Followers: 477 Number of Tweets: 116
Other Social Media Used: Linkedin, Facebook Social Media Policy: NO
Twitter Objectives: The County of Perth set out a short term objective of promoting
the county and its opportunities and events. A longer term goal is
to get local businesses connected to Twitter as a way to enhance
communication. A co-op student will be hired to develop and
implement a strategy for business and Twitter.
Twitter Successes and Benefits: The County has experienced an increased level of communication
between various organizations and agencies within their region
as most are connected to Twitter. For example, the tourism
agencies, institutions and business associations. They have also
received increased media exposure for events that have been
posted on their Twitter account. An additional benefit received
was the number of proposals received after posting a RFP. The
proposals received were from throughout North America and
provided Perth with an opportunity to review a vast range of
approaches and pricing.
Lessons Learned Once you are up and running Twitter is a easy to use tool. It is
helpful if you have someone who has already set up a Twitter
account to walk you through the process. One of the benefits of
Twitter compared to other social media platforms is the ability to
update “on the go”, you do not need to be connected to your
computer to be connected to Twitter.
Contact Information: Bernia Wheaton, Economic Development Coordinator
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Organization: Nova Scotia Association of Regional Development Authorities
(NSARDA) brings together 13 regions to facilitate economic
development. NSARDA leverages private, public and non-profit
sector partnerships to assemble resources to provide support
and strengthen local economies.
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Twitter Account: twitter.com/IgniteNS
Twitterer Since: September 2009
Number Following: 15 Number of Followers: 12 Number of Tweets: 4
Other Social Media Used: Facebook Social Media Policy: In Draft
Twitter Objectives: On September 3, 2009, NSARDA launched a new economic
development website to assist existing Nova Scotia businesses
access the resources and services they need to grow. Along
with the website NSARDA created a Twitter account to assist
in the promotion of the website and transfer knowledge of
their BRE program. NSARDA will utilize Twitter to increase
engagement between the levels of government involved and
want to personalize their Twitter updates to the user’s level.
Twitter Successes and Benefits: NSARDA is still in the very early stages of using Twitter, even so,
they have experienced success already. They have seen an
increase in communication and have received requests from
local businesses, agencies, etc., to link to their website and
Contact Information: Holly Boston
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14. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
How to Use Twitter – Create Your Twitter Account
1. Go to http://twitter.com
2. Click on the “Sign up now” button. You will be taken to the account creation
page and presented with a form like this:
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3. Completing the Create Account Form
 1: Selecting your username
o You can have up to 15 alphanumeric characters in your username as long
as there are no spaces.
o Avoid using an unprofessional username or an obviously fake name. Keep
as close to either your real name or your community’s or organization’s
name. You want people to follow you and to easily find you.
o As you type in the characters for your desired username, Twitter automatically
checks if the username is available.
If someone is already using the username Twitter notifies you like this:
If the username you chose is available, Twitter highlights it in green like this:
 2: Use an active and valid email address that you check often;
o You will not receive spam from Twitter. The reason you want to enter a real
email address is in case you lose or forget your account password you can
have it sent to you, and, direct messages from your followers are emailed
to you immediately.
 3: Develop social media guidelines;
o Before you start to post or interact on Twitter (or any social network)
understand the guidelines or policy that you will subscribe to. Social
networking is changing the way we work, offering new ways to engage
with customers, colleagues and the world at large. Ensure you and your
organization understands the parameters in which you will work. Appendix
A is a basic Social Media Guideline template.
With these tips in mind, fill out the form to create your account. When you are done, click
on the green “Accept” button. Here’s an example of a completed form:
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Twitter’s next step is to get you to invite friends to follow you immediately. The first stage of
this is to ask you to search for any contacts you may have inside Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail,
etc. This step is going to be skipped until your Twitter page is set up more thoroughly.
Click on the bottom screen “Skip this step”.
Currently your Twitter page is very generic and has little information on it. If you send out
invitations to your contacts now this is what they are going to see when they come to
your Twitter page:
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You want to have a page that reflects you and your organization before you start to invite
people to follow you. The next steps will walk you through how to set up your account.
Setting Up Your Twitter Account
When you skip the screen asking you to invite friends, you will be taken to the following
At the bottom of the screen, Twitter tells you what to do now but we’re only going to
following their first step – #1. Tell us what you’re doing in the box above”. Remember you
must use less than 140 characters.
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18. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Using Twitter to show how Your Community can share its information
and economic development stories.
After clicking on the grey “Update” button, you will see a screen like this:
This is your first Twitter post (Tweet). Now let’s design a page that represents who you
1. Your Account Settings
Your first move from here is to click on the “Settings“ link, located in the top right hand
corner of the screen. This will access your account settings.
You should see a screen similar to this one on the following page:
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We’ll go through each field that should be filled out:
Name: By default this contains your Twitter account username. Change
this to your real name or your community’s name. In the above
example, the field reads “My Name” to remain generic for this
User Name: If you want to change your Twitter username, do it now. You
can change it later but it gets complicated because you’ll need
to inform everyone about your new Twitter URL and “tell” your
followers that you’ve changed your name and it’s actually you.
Another reason is anyone going to your old Twitter name will be
greeted with a “User not found” error...oops!” page.
Email: This is self-explanatory. You can change your email address if
you need to.
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20. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Time Zone: Set this to wherever in the world you are.
More Info URL: This link is displayed on your Twitter profile page under your name.
If you have a website (and you should), blog, other social me-
dia, put the link here.
One Line Bio: Enter a one-line description of yourself or your community here.
Make it interesting. Something to encourage like-minded peo-
ple to follow you or click on your “More Info” URL before they
start following you.
Location: Enter where you are in the world. When people search Twitter to
find others living close to them they use this field.
Protect My Updates Since you’re just starting out with Twitter keep this option un-
checked (off). When this option is turned on you need to manu-
ally approve every follower so they can see your Twitter updates
(Tweets). For economic development this option is going to be
Language: At the time of writing Twitter is only available in English or Japa-
Once completed, click on the “Save” button at the bottom of the screen.
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2. Enabling Your Mobile Phone for Twittering
This step is only necessary if you want to receive or send Twitter updates from your mobile
Note of Caution: Depending on your service provider and the mobile plan you have,
you could end up paying for every Twitter message received or sent. Check with your
provider if you are unsure before you set up mobile access.
3. Setting Up Your Notification Preferences
This page is self-explanatory. Just click the options that your prefer.
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New Followers Emails: This is a good feature to have - especially at start-up. It emails
you when someone starts to follow your Twitter page. Notification emails give you the
opportunity to reciprocate and follow back if appropriate.
Direct Text Emails: It is good to have this enabled because you get the direct message
emailed to you. Twitter’s web front-end is still not as good as it should be for some
features. By choosing this option you will not miss a direct message from someone. Only
people who are following you and whom you are following as well can send you direct
4. Upload Your Profile Picture
Twitter’s default “brown square” image will not adequately reflect your community. Your
profile picture is displayed almost everywhere in Twitter so it is highly recommended that
you get a good picture. It could be a picture of your community, your corporate logo or
yourself. Just make sure you change the default picture by clicking on the browse button
to open your files. Then locate the correct picture file ensuring it is within the size limit set
by Twitter. Once chosen and uploaded – click on the “Save” button. For the purposes
of this guide, a generic picture was chosen.
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5. Customizing the Look of Your Twitter Homepage
Click on the “Design” tab and the following screen will display:
Twitter gives you the flexibility to change the colour scheme of your “homepage”. You
have three options:
• Apply a pre-defined theme to it
• Change your background image
• Customize the colour- scheme with your own colours
The available options that Twitter provides can be fairly restrictive but do work for many
users. There are third party applications that provide more flexibility in designing a
background. Two applications are: twitterbackgrounds.com and twitbacks.com – both
offer free template backgrounds or customized backgrounds.
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Your Twitter Page
Once you have completed the steps above your Twitter page is ready. You can start
to post tweets and begin the process of finding followers and others to follow. Here is
an example of what your Twitter page will look like as you begin this process and what
1. This is the Twitter navigation menu. It allows you to change your settings, search
for people and offers help.
2. This is the picture that you uploaded when setting up your account.
3. Your user name (in this case, it is the generic “YourCommunity”).
4. Your real name will show up here.
5. Your real location and website will show up here.
6. This is the one line description (bio) that you entered when setting up your
7. Displays your statistics – the number of people you are following and the number of
followers you have. You are able to click on these anytime for more information.
8. This is how many tweets (posts/updates) you have made since you joined.
9. If you have “favourited” any tweets and you click on the tab, a list of these will
appear. To favourite an update you click on the star to the right of the text in the
10. This display shows pictures of some of the people you are following.
The area with the white background is called your “timeline” and is the place where you
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view “tweets”. In the screenshot above you’re viewing only what has been tweeted by
“CommunityName” because followers and following have not been completed.
Make Your First Twitter Update
Now that your page is set up correctly and you have it designed the way you want, it is
now time to do your first “tweet”. This is the first step to attract followers and you want to
make sure that your first update is something interesting. Many first tweets are a generic
“Starting on Twitter today” which is pretty bland.
 1: Keep it short and sweet – You have 140 characters to use – use it wisely. For
example, your first tweet could be similar to:
Your Community is now on Twitter. We will be sharing information about what’s
happening and how you can be a part of it.
 2: Include URL’s – Many of your tweets may include a reference to another
website that will provide additional information. You will do this by including the
URL in your tweet but a long website address can use up your 140 characters very
quickly. There are many third party URL shortening services available – TinyURL
(www.tiny.cc) or bit.ly (http://bit.ly) – both these services work very well with Twitter.
They let you post directly to your Twitter account and you can track how many
people clicked on your reference and where they came from.
For example, the following post uses 172 characters or 32 characters longer than
We will be attending the EDAC/EDABC Conference in Vancouver – agenda
looks great. http://www.edabc.com/images/conferences/draft%20edac%20
If you shorten the URL your post uses only 102 characters:
We will be attending the EDAC/EDABC Conference in Vancouver – Agenda looks
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26. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
To post your first tweet, click on the Home link in the navigation menu (top right hand
corner). You will see a screen containing the “What are you doing?” question box:
Remember you have 140 characters to use for your message. While you type your
message Twitter automatically counts down the number of characters you have left.
Once you have typed your message, hit the “Update” button.
That’s it. Your first update has been made. From now on all you need to do is repeat this
process for all your updates. Alternatively, you may find that updating from the Twitter
website does not meet your needs. You may require something more mobile than sitting
at your computer typing in your updates. There are a number of other applications that
may be better suited to what you require. To get a list of Twitter applications that provide
alternative ways for you to send and receive Twitter updates, go to http://twitter.com/
Following and Getting Followed
Twitter is all about communication; therefore, you need someone to communicate with.
In Twitter, this is done through followers. Finding the people to follow will depend on what
your purpose of Twitter is. This goes back to ensuring you have a solid social media policy
that outlines what your objectives are.
There are a number of opinions on the right way and wrong way to follow or be followed.
But with Twitter there really are only two options – a person either follows another or they
don’t. When developing your social media policy you will need to decide what following
means to your organization. You may choose to follow everyone who follows you, or you
may choose to follow no one and post updates as information pieces only (i.e. you are
not looking for conversation), or you may choose to be somewhere in the middle.
But for right now let’s find someone to follow. Since you’re involved in economic
development, one quick and simply way is to search for people involved in the industry.
There are a few ways to do this.
1. On the top right hand corner of your Twitter home page, click on “Find People”.
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If you type in ‘economic development’ you will receive a list of individuals or organizations
that match your query. This feature is fairly restrictive since it will only bring back those
Twitter accounts that have set up their profile as economic development.
Click on the picture or logo to go to their Twitter page. You will then see the last twenty
tweets that have be posted. Have a look at the tweets and decide if this is someone
whose “news” or conversation you would be interested in. If you are interested, then
click on the “Follow” button.
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After you’ve clicked the “Follow” button, the webpage automatically updates and
reflects that you are now following this account. Your Twitter home page will also change
to indicate who you are now following.
2. Click again on the “Find People” at the top right hand corner of your Twitter home
page and chose the “Find on other networks” tab.
At the time of writing Twitter supports integration with the following networks: Gmail,
Yahoo and AOL. Here’s a quick overview of what happens if you use this option:
 You’re prompted to enter your account details for the network.
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 Twitter logs into your account (e.g. Gmail) and retrieves your email contact list
from that account.
 Twitter then searches its database for their email addresses and creates a list of
your contacts who are already on Twitter. All you have to do is check off who
you’d like to follow and click on the “Continue” button. Twitter automatically adds
them to your “Following” list.
 the next step, Twitter lists all your contacts who are NOT on Twitter and asks if you
would like to send them an email invitation to join and start following you. As in the
previous step, you check off the ones you’d like to send an email to.
3. Another option is to click on the “Invite by email” tab. In this option you enter
a list of email addresses of people you know and want to follow on Twitter. The
process is similar to the previous one except you have to manually enter the email
 Tip: This option may not be the best to use since Twitter sends a generic email
invite. It would be better if you personally invite people using your own email
address and your own customized email. You will likely have better results because
it is your email address that will be shown. Also email service providers may flag
Twitter’s email as spam or junk email.
4. What happens if you don’t know anyone who is already on Twitter or you choose not
to invite anyone to follow you? Twitter has a search engine (http://search.twitter.
com) that allows you to find out what is happening. This search is automatically
available on Twitter’s home page as well.
Use the search engine to find people who are tweeting about topics that interest you.
In this case, it’s economic development. Simply type that in, and real-time results are
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30. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Just as you did previously, click on any person’s username or picture to go to their Twitter
page to see more information on them. In this example clicking on RegionChaleur’s
picture takes you to their Twitter page and it looks like this:
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Here you can see RegionChaleur’s short bio, what their tweets are, and who they
are following. If you decide they are providing information you would like to follow
simply click on the “Follow” button and they will be added to the people that you are
following. You can repeat this process to start building a list of people to follow. Some
people will reciprocate and follow you in return. When this happens you become
“friends” in Twitter and can direct message each other. Direct messaging is simply
sending a message directly to one of your friends. The message can only be seen by
you and your “friend” and not all your followers.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you start to tweet and build your followers:
 1: One of the keys to being followed more closely is to say or share things that
others will be interested in. Your social media policy should clearly outline what
your organization’s message will be.
 2: Do not constantly tweet about your own business. There is a clear
difference in promoting your community or organization and brash self-
 3: Keep private conversations private. Keep the interest of your followers by
knowing what should be a public tweet and what should remain private. You
don’t need to set a lunch date using a public tweet.
 4: Sharing links is a great way to add value for your followers. Make sure your
links include an explanation of what it is and not just the link itself.
 5: Be careful of the automatic direct messages. Many followers will
immediately unfollow when they receive them. Use direct messaging for real
and personalize communication.
 Tip 6: Your Twitter account is intended to be professional so refrain from
tweeting personal views or “hot topics” like religion and politics.
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32. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Let’s take a look at the Twitter account home page as you start to post your updates and
build your followers list. On the right hand side of your Twitter homepage is your “Profile”
box that displays your “stats”.
1. The number of people you are following. To manage
them click on the link.
1 2 3
2. The number of people who are following you. Click on
the link to view and manage.
3. The number of “tweets” you have made since
4. Home – displays your timeline and contains both
4 your own tweets and those of the people you are
5. @username – click on this tab to view any mentions of
6 you, including replies and retweets.
7 6. Direct Message – click on this tab to view any direct
message you have received from friends.
7. Favourites – If you have “starred” any updates
8 (including your own) this is where they can be
8. Trending Topics – every tweet pertaining to the topic.
When you click on “Following” (#1 above), you get a list of who you are following. This
is where you can send a direct message (DM) to someone or unfollow them simply by
clicking on the drop down menu.
Back on your Twitter homepage click on “Followers” (#2 above) to see a list of who is
following you. Here you have similar options as the previous page of sending a direct
message, following or blocking the Twitter account. Blocking is a way to stop someone
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from receiving your Twitter updates. You will most likely find this is not something you will
have to do, however, the option is available.
What Are You Doing?
This guide should have given you the confidence to sign
up for Twitter, to find someone to follow and start building
your following. We invite you to follow us on Twitter at www.
twitter.com/ecdevcomdev or join our Twitter Group at http://
twittgroups.com/group/econdev. Our mission is to provide
timely and relevant economic development information.
Now that your account is set up and your home page designed, the next step is to
send your next message. Send us a message @ecdevcomdev with your thoughts on this
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34. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Appendix A: Social Media Guidelines Template
This template is meant to be a sample social media guideline. It should be
customized to fit your organization. These guidelines can be adapted for
employees or contractors creating or contributing blogs, wikis, social networks,
virtual worlds or any other kind of social media on behalf of your organization. The
guidelines should be updated as new technologies and social networking tools
are continually evolving.
Social Media Guidelines
Emerging platforms for online collaboration are fundamentally changing the way
individuals, businesses and organizations work. These new technologies offer innovative
ways to engage with customers, colleagues, and the world at large. It’s a new model of
interaction and social communication that can help to build stronger, more successful
business relationships. It provides a way to take part in global conversations related to
the work and goals of our organization.
The following are the guiding principles for participating in social media:
• Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on
what’s going on at the organization and in the world.
• Post meaningful, respectful comments – no spam and no remarks that are off-
topic or offensive.
• Always stop and think before posting to ensure guidelines are being followed.
• Reply to comments or feedback in a timely manner – that being said, only respond
when a response is appropriate.
• Respect proprietary information, content and confidentiality.
• From time to time, you may disagree with others’ opinions – keep it appropriate
• Know and follow any other related policy(s) of the organization.
Guiding Rules of Engagement
Transparency – Your honesty, and more importantly, your dishonesty, will be quickly
noticed in the social media environment. Whenever you post on any social media
about your work at this organization, use your real name, identify that you work
for this organization and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in
something you are discussing, be sure to clearly point it out.
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Be prudent – Ensure your efforts for transparency do not violate the organization’s
privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines for external commercial speech.
Request permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be
private or internal to the organization. All statements must be true and may not
be misleading. All claims must be substantiated and approved. If you want to
write about the competition, ensure you know what you are talking about and
that you have the appropriate permission. Be smart about protecting yourself,
your privacy, and the organization’s confidential information. Consider content
carefully before posting.
Use your expertise – Make sure you write and post about your specific area of
expertise. If you are writing about a topic that is not your area of expertise, make
this clear to your readers. If appropriate, use a disclaimer similar to this: “The
postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the organization’s
positions, strategies, or opinions.” Respect all brand, trademark, copyright, fair use
and confidentiality of this organization.
Be conversational – When posting to any social media try to talk to the reader as
you would talk to real people in professional situations. Don’t be afraid to bring in
your own personality and say what’s on your mind. Consider that content is open-
ended and invites response so encourage comments.
Add value – There are millions of posts, blogs, ideas, thoughts and words out there.
To ensure your posting is read, write things that people will see value in. Social
communication from our organization should help our readers, clients, partners,
and co-workers. It should be thought-provoking and build a sense of community.
If it helps people to improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their
jobs, solve problems or understand our organization better, then Twitter is adding
The responsibility is yours – What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation
in social communication on behalf of the organization is an opportunity so it must
be treated seriously and with respect. Failure to abide by these guidelines and
any other related guidelines or policies could put your participation at risk. It is
important to always follow the terms and conditions of any third-party sites.
Respectful – There can be a fine line between healthy debate and provocative
reaction. Do not demean the competition or the organization. You do not need to
respond to every criticism. Write to invite differing points of view without inflaming
others. Some topics – like politics and religion – will attract stronger reactions so be
careful and considerate.
When mistakes are made – If you make a mistake, admit it right away. Be upfront
and be quick with your correction. Be honest and truthful at all times.
Pause and think – Read what you write before any posts are made. If there is the
slightest bit of uneasiness do not hit the send button. Take a minute to review these
guidelines and try to see if there is any conflict, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, you
should seek advice within the organization. The responsibility is yours so be sure.
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36. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development
Appendix B: Glossary of Twitter Twerms
At Reply, or “@reply” A direct tweet sent to another Twitter user.
Dweet Tweet sent while drunk (not recommended).
Hash Tag The “#” sign. Allows Twitter users to group tweets by topic,
making it easier to search particular conversations using Twitter
Search. (i.e. #econdev)
Link Including a URL in your tweet.
MisTweet A tweet on later regrets (see Dweet).
Neweeter A new tweeter
ReTweet To repost something that’s already in the Twitter stream. Usu-
ally preceded by “RT” and “@username”, to give great to the
Twadd To add someone as a friend or follower.
Twaffic Twitter traffic
Twapplications Twitter applications (i.e. TweetDeck)
Tweeple Twitter people, Twitter members, Twitter users.
Tweet-back Bringing a previous tweet conversation or reference back into
the current conversation
Tweeter A user of Twitter.
Tweet(ing) The act of posting to Twitter
Tweets Posts on Twitter by twitterers.
Tweetup When twitterers meet in person – a twitter meet up.
Twitosphere Community of twitterers
Twittastic Fantastic, wonderful, superb
Twitter stream A collection of tweets often times in alphabetical order
Twitterer A user of Twitter (tweeter)
Twittering To send a Twitter message
Twitterlinkr A service collecting the best links posted through Twitter
Tword Any word prefixed by tw to make it more compatible with Twit-
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