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  • 1. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development 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” Compliments of version 1.00
  • 2. Prepared by: EDCD Consulting Okanagan Region: Metro Vancouver Region: Kelowna, BC Chilliwack, BC bond@edcdconsulting.com wheeldon@edcdconsulting.com 250.808.2905 604.819.3809 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 purposes. 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 current information. 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 info@edcdconsulting.com. Regards, Colleen Bond Dale Wheeldon 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. 4 - Copyright - 2009
  • 5. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 and discovered: • 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. Twitter Fact: 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 5
  • 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 6 - Copyright - 2009
  • 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 Fact: 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 7
  • 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 8 - Copyright - 2009
  • 9. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 Telephone: 780.567.4991 Email: aldridge@nwcorridor.com Website: www.nwcorridor.com twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 9
  • 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 Creative Industries. 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 management system. 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 Telephone: 403.268.1871 Email: Chantell.Zandbeek@calgary.ca Website: www.calgary.ca 10 - Copyright - 2009
  • 11. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 partners. 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 attract follower. Contact Information: Connie Tamoto, Manager, Corporate Communications Telephone: 204.954.1977 Email: connie@destinationwinnipeg.ca Website: www.destinationwinnipeg.ca twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 11
  • 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 Telephone: 519.656.9253 Email: bwheaton@perthcounty.ca Website: www.perthcounty.ca 12 - Copyright - 2009
  • 13. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 information. Contact Information: Holly Boston Telephone: 902.426.9016 Email: hboston@nsarda.ca Website: www.nsarda.ca/bre twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 13
  • 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: 14 - Copyright - 2009
  • 15. A comprehensive guide to using social media 3. Completing the Create Account Form  1: Selecting your username Tip 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; Tip 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; Tip 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: twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 15
  • 16. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development 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: 16 - Copyright - 2009
  • 17. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 screen: 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 17
  • 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 are. 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: 18 - Copyright - 2009
  • 19. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 guide. 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 19
  • 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 rarely used. Language: At the time of writing Twitter is only available in English or Japa- nese. Once completed, click on the “Save” button at the bottom of the screen. 20 - Copyright - 2009
  • 21. A comprehensive guide to using social media 2. Enabling Your Mobile Phone for Twittering This step is only necessary if you want to receive or send Twitter updates from your mobile phone. 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 21
  • 22. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development 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 messages. 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. 22 - Copyright - 2009
  • 23. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 23
  • 24. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development 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 everything means: 1 3 4 2 5 6 7 8 9 10 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 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 account. 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 tweet. 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 24 - Copyright - 2009
  • 25. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 Tip 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 Tip 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 Twitter allows. We will be attending the EDAC/EDABC Conference in Vancouver – agenda looks great. http://www.edabc.com/images/conferences/draft%20edac%20 edabc%20agenda%20-%20aug%2011.pdf If you shorten the URL your post uses only 102 characters: We will be attending the EDAC/EDABC Conference in Vancouver – Agenda looks great! http://tiny.cc/PP2IV twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 25
  • 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/ downloads. 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”. 26 - Copyright - 2009
  • 27. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 27
  • 28. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development 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. 28 - Copyright - 2009
  • 29. A comprehensive guide to using social media  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 In 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 addresses.  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 returned. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 29
  • 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: 30 - Copyright - 2009
  • 31. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 Tip 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 Tip difference in promoting your community or organization and brash self- promotion.  3: Keep private conversations private. Keep the interest of your followers by Tip 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 Tip 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 Tip 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 31
  • 32. The Role of Twitter in Economic Development Managing Twitter 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 joining. 4. Home – displays your timeline and contains both 4 your own tweets and those of the people you are following. 5 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 viewed. 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 32 - Copyright - 2009
  • 33. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 tutorial. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 33
  • 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. Guiding Principles 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 and polite. • 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. 34 - Copyright - 2009
  • 35. A comprehensive guide to using social media 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 value. 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. twitter.com/ecdevcomdev - 35
  • 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 original poster. 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- ter 36 - Copyright - 2009