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Twitter Basics


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A basic how-to guide for people new to Twitter.

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Twitter Basics

  2. 2. Agenda• Inner Circle expectations• What is Twitter?• Your Twitter identity• Twitter terms• Five tips for beginners• Ethics overview• Content, tone, when to tweet• How to build a network
  3. 3. Inner Circle expectationsFor Inner Circle 2013, all reporters must tweet from their own professional account• News consumers are increasinglyturning to Twitter for headlines,updates and interaction• Reporters should tweet at leasttwice each day and multiple timesduring breaking news coverageGOAL Increase reach, community interaction andpotentially find stories and sources via Twitter
  4. 4. Inner Circle expectationsThese expectations are based on recommendations from editors.As Twitter gains relevancy among news consumers, we need to meet the needs of our audience.• There were 175M tweets sent each day in 2012• 32 % of all Internet users are on Twitter• 11 accounts are created every second• Twitter growth is outpacing Facebook – growth rate is predicted to be four times higher than Facebook’s through 2014 Sources: Marketing Land, Infographic Labs, eMarketer
  5. 5. Inner Circle expectationsWhy should I have a Twitter account that is separate from the newspaper’s account?A reporter’s Twitter account is a place for the reporter to tweet color and background, breaking news, and to engage with followers.Im an editor without a reporter. I have a newspaper Twitter account - do I also have to have an account in my name?We strongly encourage editors without reporters to set up their own professional Twitter accounts in order to recap all the same benefits reporters would, but it is not required for Inner Circle.
  6. 6. Inner Circle expectationsWhat should my Twitter handle be?A reporter’s Twitter handle should be some combination of the reporter’s name and the newspaper Twitter handle.For example, the State Journal-Register’s Twitter handle is @SJ-R.Reporter Molly Beck’s Twitter handle is @MollyBeckSJRHow often should I tweet?You should tweet at least two scheduled Twitter posts each day, more if you are tweeting live from a big story or breaking news event.
  7. 7. Inner Circle expectationsHow can I tweet on days I’m not working? What sort of things should I tweet then?You can use HootSuite, a free social media dashboard, to schedule tweets in advance for days you are not working.• In case you missed it• Looking ahead• Entertainment content• Lifestyles content• Weather• Blog posts• Callouts• Facebook promotion
  8. 8. Inner Circle expectations Questions?
  9. 9. What is Twitter?• 140-character messages, sent out to followers• Great for following and reporting breaking news• Another tool to promote our websites• Provides another way to reach new readers
  10. 10. Your Twitter identity• Use your headshot or other distinct, square image• Incorporate the name of the newspaper in your handle• Use your full name in your profile• Identify yourself as a reporter, and include a link to your website
  11. 11. Basic Twitter terms Terms to know • Tweet: Twitter post • Retweet: If you like what someone has tweeted, you retweet ( ) and give credit. • @: This symbol precedes someone’s username - . This calls out to the person and links to that person. • #: Hashtags are used to indicate searchable and trending topics. You can create them for your town, but first search to see if someone is already using certain terms. Check out Twitter’s glossary for more:
  12. 12. Twitter tipsTry not to use all 140 charactersWHY People might want to retweet you, and add their own comment.HOW Don’t be an AP Style slave. Use &, don’t spell out numbers under 10, etc.EXAMPLES Good: A 4-car crash on Hwy 6 is causing major delays in #Peoria. Avoid if possible. Bad: Its snowin like crazy. NEone have pics to share?
  13. 13. Twitter tipsUse a URL shortenerWHY You want to maximize your ability to sell your content, and you only have 140 characters.HOW Use the built in shortener in HootSuite, or a website like bitly.EXAMPLES
  14. 14. Twitter tipsUse hashtags and retweet oftenWHY Using hashtags and retweeting others will help Twitter users find you and follow you.HOW Search for hashtags in your community, or create your own. Retweet local information.EXAMPLES
  15. 15. Twitter tipsSearch for topics local people are talking aboutWHY You can gauge popularity of events or issues and find people to retweetHOW Go to and use the advanced search to narrow your location.EXAMPLES
  16. 16. Twitter tipsDirect message to find sources for storiesWHY You need to verify someone’s identity and get their permission to quote them.HOW If they are following you, use Twitter’s direct messager. If they are not following you, use the @ symbol, and pass along your contact information.
  17. 17. Ethics roundup• Verifying Twitter sources• Being transparent with sources• Your personal Twitter account• Halting the rumor mill• Offensive tweets• Offensive followers
  18. 18. Ethics roundupOn verifying sources:“Verify information separately; interview sources independently of the social networks.”• Direct message the fan, ask for phone number• Use @ to contact and request an interview• Speak to the person, get more information• Talk to your supervisor
  19. 19. Ethics roundupOn transparency:“Tell contacts what you are working on, why, and how you plan to use the information they supply. Explain that all information is on-the-record and for attribution.”• Don’t just grab quotes• Be open and honest• Tell them they will be quoted
  20. 20. Ethics roundupOn personal use:“You are always a journalist; what you do on your social networking site can and does reflect on you personally and professionally and on the company.”• Give it the publisher/grandma test• If you tweet it, someone can find it• Be mindful of who you follow, and who follows you
  21. 21. Ethics roundupHalting the rumor mill:Do not publish unverified information you saw on Twitter on your website.• “According to Twitter sources” doesn’t cut it• Let followers know you are working on verification• If you see misinformation, call it out
  22. 22. Ethics roundupOn offensive tweets:If you accidentally tweet something offensive, remove it immediately and tell your supervisor• Deleting the tweet doesn’t mean you pretend it never happened.• Prepare a response. Screen shots will bite you.• People retweeted? Contact those people, deliver prepared response.• Publish that response in print and online; link to it on Twitter, if necessary.
  23. 23. Ethics roundupOffensive tweets, cnt.If you are the editor and have reporters tweeting for the first time, train, train, train.• Ask to review tweets when the reporter is just starting out• Provide examples – have the reporter follow other GateHouse reporters on Twitter• Monitor the reporter’s tweets
  24. 24. Ethics roundupOn offensive tweets:Block offensive followers. Your professional Twitter account is a representation of the entire organization.• Politicians and political groups are fine• Extreme political, social or religious groups are not• Use your best judgment, explain yourself
  25. 25. Twitter how toContent: What should I be tweeting?• Breaking news• Live coverage of big meetings, sports events, election night• Quirky news: Anything that might be retweeted• Links to your online content
  26. 26. Twitter how toTone• Personality is great - when appropriate• Remember sarcasm doesn’t always translate• Stay objective, even when adding humor
  27. 27. Twitter how toWhen to post• The afternoon: 5 p.m. tweets get the most retweets• Lunchtime: Twitter traffic spikes• Mid-week and weekends: Traffic also higher Source: Kissmetrics, data by Dan Zarrella, social media researcher at HubSpot
  28. 28. Twitter how toHow much to tweet• Less is more• Recommend 2-5 tweets per day
  29. 29. Twitter how toHow to gain followers• Promote Twitter on your website• Promote Twitter in your newspaper• Add Twitter to email newsletters and your own email correspondence• Follow, follow, follow
  30. 30. Resources• More information can be found in the 2013 Inner Circle Handbook. Download at• Contact your content team manager: Mike Turley Carlene Cox mturley@ ccox@ Sarah Corbit Brad Jennings scorbitt@ bjennings@
  31. 31. Resources"Coming in Print"Explains the strategy behind “Coming in Print” and offers suggestions on how to write engaging promotions.When: 2 p.m. Central, Friday, Jan. 25
  32. 32. ResourcesSeen-on-scene photo galleriesCovers how to maximize time spent taking and uploading seen-on-scene galleries and effectively translate those efforts into page views. Includes suggestions on where to shoot seen-on-scene galleries.When: 2 p.m. Central, Tuesday, Jan. 29