Twitter Notes For The Newsroom

Twitter Notes For The Newsroom

The Twittersphere is a vast and confusing place, full of clutter. Here are my suggestions for cutting through it all.

Don’t use the robots. You need to be social on social media and can’t rely on scheduled robo-tweets to do that. A Twitter feed needs to have character and needs to be responding to people when they try to contact you.

When you post, think of your tweet as the teaser and not as the slug line. Pose a question, show some personality, or highlight the important part of the story.

Feel free to reply (@) to users or use hashtags (#), but retweet (RT) sparingly. Retweets mean you’re deferring to someone else’s expertise, when you’re supposed to be the expert source. You want to get more fans, not send them to other organizations.

Of all those, I think hashtags are the most useful. It is a way to organize and highlight the topics of our Tweets. If you post a tweet that touches on a popular topic (“#Football” for example) try to work that tag into your sentence. (“Remember that you can watch the #Football game on Tv tonight!”)

Here are the guidelines for using hashtags from Twitter itself:

* If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
* Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 3 hashtags per Tweet.)
* Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

#BreakingNews is a particularly good one because it indicates the importance of the subject and also because, a network-neutral aggregator owned by MSNBC, looks specifically for that hashtag. If they retweet us or even post us on their site, we could expect a big boost of traffic on that story.

Hashtags can be any word, and they don’t have to be officially established by anyone. Just pick your topic word and #it.