ABOUT TWITTER•Twitter is a real-time social media platform that allows you toshare information with your followers in small posts called“Tweets”•Tweets are 140 characters or less and can includelinks, photos, videos•Twitter can also be useful as a listening tool to monitor whatothers are saying about your agency and what’s going on aroundyou•Twitter is good for updates and information in emergencies
GETTING STARTEDWhen creating your twitter account:•Choose a handle that is recognizable and descriptive such as@nycHealthy as opposed to @DOHMH•Be sure to register your twitter account with DoITT athttp://cityshare.nycnet/html/cityshare/html/social_media_form.html•Choose an appropriate avatar to represent your agency•Add a headline/brief description of your agency/account•Link to the City’s social media policy athttp://nyc.gov/socialmediapolicy
GETTING STARTEDBefore you start tweeting:•Follow other agencies.Agencies will frequentlyfollow your agency back, mayretweet your content or writea tweet welcoming you- allgreat ways to add morefollowers• Go to http://bit.ly/vLZI2l tosee a list of all NYCgovernment twitter accounts .
STYLE GUIDE•Remember you are representing theCity of New York and your agencywhen you tweet.•Remember to check all spelling anduse proper grammar•Do not use abbreviations and slang –Such as “2” for “to” or “r” for “are”•Avoid using more than 1 exclamationmark and all capital letters•Remember to speak in the voice ofyour agency
TWITTER BASICS• To start using twitter, log on to your account and type your tweet under the “What’s happening” box.• Your tweets are limited to 140 characters including spaces and the remaining characters appear to the right of the tweet button
ENGAGEMENTHow do I see what people are saying about my agency or programs on Twitter?• The first thing you should do is click “connect ” on the top-left corner on Twitter.com and then click “mentions.” You will then see every time your Twitter handle was mentioned in a tweet.• There is also search box on Twitter. Typing in your agency’s name as well as other keywords affiliated with your agency will yield the results of any tweets that mention these terms. You can use this to sift through popular tweets, tweets with links, or all of the tweets with the keywords.
ENGAGEMENTThere are many ways to engage users through twitter:• Mention: Anytime you mention an entity with a twitter account, use their Twitter handle, e.g.: Check out @nycHealthy’s new ad campaign to quit smoking at on.nyc.gov/zc123• Many times, the account you mention will retweet your content and will likely engage back with you – Why should you do this? • People like to showcase positive mentions of themselves • Retweets by others can lead to new followers
HASHTAGS• Hashtags: You can use a hashtag to categorize a tweet, hashtags are usually themes or subjects so that others can easily search for your tweets and you can find other tweets about similar topics – For example during Hurricane Irene the hashtag #Irene was used and during the State of the City #SOTC2012 was used – You can click on the “Discover” tab at the top of twitter.com to see the popular hashtags
HASHTAGSWhen using hashtags:• Avoid using general terms such as #food• Limit the number of hashtags per tweet• Use hashtags only when there is topic you feel others will likely use. If a hashtag is too specific and others do not know about it, it will not be useful• Hashtags are useful for promoting specific campaigns or events. Instead of creating a new twitter account for a campaign, you can use a hashtag.
RETWEETSWhy would you Retweet?• Retweet: When you see a tweet that you would also like to share with your followers you can retweet that same piece of information.• You would retweet when: – A tweet mentions your agency in a positive light – A tweet is about a project or campaign of your agency – A tweet is about an issue that is relevant to your agency
RETWEETSThere are 2 ways to retweet a message 1. The newer way to retweet is by clicking the Retweet button on the top of the desired tweet • The retweet button places the original tweet with the original user’s avatar into your twitter stream • This is faster and you do not have to count characters, but the tweet does not contain your account’s avatar
RETWEETS2. The older way of retweeting is copying the tweet’s text and prefacing it with RT and the original account name • This tweet will contain your avatar and will look like an original tweet from your account • You can also add in your own text to the tweet such as “Thank you” or “Excellent resource” • If you see MT in a tweet that means the original tweet has been modified.
PICTURESBest practices show that posting exclusive, engaging content such as videos, links or photos is extremely effective in social media.How do I include pictures in my tweets?• With the updated version of Twitter, there is now a camera icon that shows up underneath the “What’s Happening?” text box, as well as an icon to add your location.• There are also mobile apps you may use to add images to your tweets including Twitter for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android and Instagram
LINKSHow do I include links?• Bit.ly and ow.ly are sites that allow users to shorten, share, and analyze the links they post to Twitter. Using these sites will help you optimize your 140 character space.• Twitter will also automatically shorten your links now to t.co• We suggest going to bit.ly to shorten links as nyc.gov site will be automatically shortened to the format: on.nyc.gov/_______• If your agencies websites do not shorten to on.nyc.gov, please email firstname.lastname@example.org• In addition, please email email@example.com if you would like your bitly account upgraded to a pro account.
STRATEGIESThere are many ways to gain followers on Twitter:• When referring to an agency, individual, organization or company that has a presence on Twitter, always use their Twitter handle when referring to them.• Respond frequently to Tweets – When you check your “mentions,” you may find that people have asked you questions. While no one would expect you to respond to every question, regular engagement shows your followers that you diligently monitor activity on Twitter. – There are two ways of responding: 1. When you begin a tweet with a twitter handle only that user and users who check their profile will see the account. This can be helpful if answering a specific question 2. If you start the tweet with a phrase or even a period, your followers will see the response on their feeds (e.g. .@johnsmith Thanks for your help.) This can be helpful if you have received many questions on a topic and would like your followers to see the response.
STRATEGIESAdd value and stay topical• Tell your followers something useful in Tweets or direct them to compelling content.• Think about the question of “What’s in it for me” when creating content for your followers• A generic tweet telling them “Good morning,” “Visit our website” is not valuable, and would not lead a user to follow you. Agencies are specialized, so we advise you to stay topical by tweeting about issues relevant to your agency.
STRATEGIESProvide a next step or call to action• Give your followers something to do, be it watching a video, going to a website, voting in a contest, following another account or attending an event. When directing users to content on the web, always link to the content in your tweet.
MEASUREMENTMeasuring success with Twitter:• Be sure to set goals and monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Fans – Retweets – Followers – Impressions – Klout Scores
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