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The 7 Steps to Twitter Dominance


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There’s no magic way to gain followers overnight. But there are some key steps you can take to help build your community. We will show you good examples of how reporters are using Twitter and what you can do to build your following.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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The 7 Steps to Twitter Dominance

  1. 1. The 7 Steps toTwitter DominanceMay 2012
  2. 2. What Twitter shouldn’t feel like 2
  3. 3. FirstIdentify Your Focus 3
  4. 4. Identify your focus Finish this sentence: I tweet about ________. It could be your beat – crime, health-care, technology. It could be your local city or town – Boston, Detroit, Miami. It could be something you’re passionate about – media, public radio. The more focus, the better. 4
  5. 5. Identify your focus Brian Stelter, New York Times Tweets about: Media 5
  6. 6. Identify your focus Andy Carvin, NPR Tweets about: Middle East Activism 6
  7. 7. Identify your focus Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post Tweets about: Politics 7
  8. 8. Identify your focus Damien Cave, The New York Times Tweets about: Mexico 8
  9. 9. Identify your focus Heidi Moore, Market Place Tweets about: Wall Street 9
  10. 10. Identify your focus Patrick Madden, WAMU Tweets about: D.C. 10
  11. 11. Identify your focus Adam Gaffin, Universal Hub Tweets about: Boston 11
  12. 12. Identify your focus Ed Joyce, KPCC Tweets about: Orange County 12
  13. 13. Identify your focus Ed Joyce, KPCC Tweets about: Orange County 13
  14. 14. Identify your focus You Tweets about: ? 14
  15. 15. Second Compile yourTwitter source and influencer list 15
  16. 16. Compile your source and influencer list Who are the newsmakers and influencers around your focus? Think about the people who make up your city, town or beat. Dig around Twitter to discover sources you might not even know about. 16
  17. 17. Compile your source and influencer list Don’t be afraid to think locally and broadly for this list – especially if you’re a beat reporter. This is how you find the influencers – experts on the topic who have large regional, national or global followings. If you’re a beat reporter covering tech in Seattle, New York Times tech columnist Nick Bilton should be on your list. 17
  18. 18. Potential sources Local newspaper reporters. Other member station reporters. City council members. Police/fire department Twitter accounts. Mayor. Local bloggers. School board members. Small business owners. Outspoken resident who attends every meeting. Librarian. City planner. 18
  19. 19. What if I was a crime reporter in Boston? In 10 minutes I found: 19
  20. 20. What if I was a GA reporter in Boston? In 10 minutes I found: 20
  21. 21. Cool. But how? There’s no exact science to finding sources on Twitter, you just have to go find them. But there are tricks. Compile your list into an actual Twitter List ( As time goes on, add and subtract from it as you see necessary. If you’re a general assignment reporter, you obviously have to cast a bigger net. It might help to create several lists for different topics. 21
  22. 22. Third Start tweetingWith pace and consistency 22
  23. 23. Beyonce: International Celebrity 23
  24. 24. Pace and consistency If you want a bigger following, you need to commit yourself to it. Tweet at least once but ideally several times everyday. Majority of your tweets should relate to your focus – your beat or community. But tweet about things unrelated to your beat, too. 24
  25. 25. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:31 a.m. 25
  26. 26. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:34 a.m. 26
  27. 27. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:35 a.m. 27
  28. 28. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:36 a.m. 28
  29. 29. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:36 a.m. 29
  30. 30. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:38 a.m. 30
  31. 31. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:40 a.m. 31
  32. 32. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 8:41 a.m. 32
  33. 33. Patrick Madden, WAMU, May 7 10:56 a.m. 33
  34. 34. But what? It’s a conversation: Use your voice when you tweet. Watch what your sources are tweeting. If news of any kind bubbles up – the announcement of a news conference, a car accident at rush hour -- tweet about it, even if you don’t have a story yet. Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the reporting process. 34
  35. 35. But what? Quotes you hear or read – either in your own reporting or others. Observations about your reporting. You’re human: Tweet about life outside of news. 35
  36. 36. FourthLive-Tweet events 36
  37. 37. 4 Reasons Why Twitter + Live = Awesome1. It’s the best way to get better at Twitter.2. It’s a fast track to a bigger following.3. It’s where the News Junkies of the world gather.4. It will get you hooked. 37
  38. 38. How reporters often use Twitter1. Produce story.2. Publish story to the web.3. Tweet link to story. 38
  39. 39. How reporters SHOULD use Twitter1. Be a storyteller on Twitter, not a wire service.2. Open up your notebook and tell the story as it’s happening.3. Five reporters may be covering the same story, but only you can tell your perspective. 39
  40. 40. What you can live-tweet A press conference. A protest. A non-hard news event such as a museum opening or restaurant review. Breaking news. A show. 40
  41. 41. Fifth Use hashtagswhen the time is right 41
  42. 42. Best situations to use hashtags Breaking News Ongoing news stories. Live events. Callouts. 42
  43. 43. Breaking news• If people search on Twitter for a hashtag during a breaking news situation, your tweets will appear in the search results. 43
  44. 44. Ongoing news stories• For people following stories which run over a stretch of time (such as a trial). 44
  45. 45. Live events• This lets you organize your live tweets into one hashtag, makes it easier for people to follow the event. 45
  46. 46. Callouts• If you’re crowdsourcing for information, use a hashtag to curate responses. 46
  47. 47. Beware #Don’t #use #hashtags to #spam. They’re most effective and less annoying if they’re focused and occasional. You’re better off using an existing hashtag that’s already in full use than creating your own. 47
  48. 48. SixthHave conversations with people 48
  49. 49. Have conversations with people If someone on Twitter asks you a question, gives you a news tip or makes a comment, have a conversation with them. See someone tweet an interesting comment, observation or photo? Re-tweet them or tweet back at them if relevant. Healthy debate is okay if thoughtful, but don’t get into Twitter arguments. Remember, it’s public! 49
  50. 50. Have conversations with people 50
  51. 51. Have conversations with people 51
  52. 52. SeventhGet influencers, sources and others to see your work 52
  53. 53. Get important people to see your work Twitter gives you a way to connect with people who matter. After you publish a story on the web, you have the ability to get more people of influence to read it, listen to it and share it with others. Rather than just leaving the fate of your story to Google and volunteer visitors, you can spread it to a few key influencers who will then spread it to other influencers. 53
  54. 54. The source mention Who is quoted or mentioned in the story? If they have a Twitter account, mention their Twitter handle in your tweet. 54
  55. 55. The station mention Have your station Twitter account mention you when it tweets your story link. 55
  56. 56. The influencer mention Do you think your story would appeal to one of the influencers you identified? Mention them in your tweet. This will bring your story to their attention. Maybe they’ll read it. Maybe they’ll blog about it. Maybe they’ll share it. 56
  57. 57. The influencer pitch If your story is relevant to someone with a large audience and a lot of influence – e-mail them the link. Bloggers can’t keep track of everything going on with their beat so pointing out valuable content you created is appreciated. 57
  58. 58. The influencer pitch 58
  59. 59. The influencer pitch I e-mailed Jim Romenesko, journalism blogger with a huge following in the media world. 59
  60. 60. The influencer pitch A short time later, Romenesko blogs about it. 60
  61. 61. The influencer pitch Then tweets the link to his 50,000 followers 61
  62. 62. The influencer pitch story gets bump in visitors. 62
  63. 63. Community sharing  Post your stories in community message boards and social sites for higher 63
  64. 64. Community sharing  Post your stories in community message boards and social sites for higher visibility.Other places to share:• Digg• StumbleUpon• Buzzfeed 64
  65. 65. Get important people to see your work The source mention: Mention story sources in your tweets. The station mention: Have your station mention you when tweeting your story. The influencer mention: Mention influencers with big followings in your tweets. The influencer pitch: Directly pitching your work to influencers with big followings. Community sharing: Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, BuzzFeed. 65
  66. 66. 7 Steps to Twitter Dominance1. Identify your focus2. Compile your Twitter source and influencer list.3. Start tweeting with pace and consistency.4. Live-tweet events5. Use hashtags when the time is right.6. Have conversations with people.7. Get influencers, sources and others to see your work. 66
  67. 67. What Twitter should feel like QUESTIONS? Eric Athas @ericathas 617-622-5433 67