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A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps

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As the new Marketing & Promotions Chair for the Communicators Forum, I've been having fun diving into the depths of Communicators Forum social media, especially Twitter. Social media has become an unexpected passion of mine over the last year or so, with daily use of it for my day job at Northrop Concerts and Lectures, and my side project, the literary website Hazel & Wren.

I've learned mostly by trial and error, and by watching and learning from expert tweeps as they grow with their following and gain momentum for their business or organization. But perhaps the most helpful for me are simple guidelines from other users that pop up in blog posts, articles, and more all over the internet, such as this one, which I stumbled upon last week, and passed on through the UMCF Twitter channel. And, as a bonus, here's a quick look at some things I've learned over the last year or so in my own guide: A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps. (Brace yourselves for the power of this knowledge.)

A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps:


1.) Follow like-minded people. This is the number one step to exponentially increase your number of followers. Search hashtags and topics to see who is talking about them, and follow them. Or, even better yet, find another organization similar in cause to you, and start following who they follow. Not everyone will follow you back, but the surprising majority do. (This means your description and recent tweets better be stellar, so these people are intrigued at first glance.)

2.) Curate lists.
This has been the most helpful for me to not only more easily find quality content, but also for organizing my approach and to make sure that I'm diversifying my tweets. If you're unfamiliar with lists, what this means is that you create segmented categories of Twitter accounts that you follow, based on their content and/or area of interest. For example, I have a list for the Communicators Forum called "University Departments." Another could be called "Communications Publications." That way, you can just view the feed from that list's sources specifically, to narrow down and focus the constant stream of information coming in. You can make these lists public or private, and can call them whatever makes the most sense to you. These take time to curate, but are so worth it.

3.) Be smart with your retweets
. Don't get overly click-happy with that retweet button. Yes, it's just so easy, but doing that too often can make it seem like you don't have any original content or thought, or, that you're just plain lazy. If you're going to retweet something, switch it up more often than not. Copy and paste the tweet into your own post, tag the owner with RT, and preface it with some your own commentary. This could be something as simple as "Especially agree with rule #3 RT @umcf: The Official Rules of Twitter Domination http://LINK_HERE". You can also start over completely with your own original tweet, and just tag whoever originally posted the link by ending your post with: "(via @umcf)." Just remember: your followers want to know what YOU (whether you are an individual, or the voice of an organization) think, not how many posts you can retweet in a minute.

4.) Use short links for original content. Here at the University, we have a fantastic link shortener, z.umn.edu. Why use short links for original content (i.e. your organization's blog posts, events, etc) specifically? Stats, my friends, stats. Through z.umn.edu short links (and others) you can then track who is clicking that specific link, and where those paths to your original content are starting from (Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc). This can be incredibly helpful when figuring out where your audience is getting their information. There are other link shortening services outside of the University, but many of them you have to pay for, especially if you want to customize your short links.

5.) Tweet at least 3-5 times a day. From what I've heard, tweeting about five times a day  (and not all at once) yields the most effective results. At that rate, you're not pushing people off the edge with endless tweets about your oh-so-amazing breakfast sandwich, and you're also making following you worthwhile with daily updates and insights. For some organizations, it can be tough to get up to five tweets per day, but just work in that direction. This doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) solely original content. The main purpose of Twitter is to embrace and engage with your community, whatever it is. Retweet insightful posts from fellow professionals, engage with your followers by asking questions and starting conversations, seek out articles and sources related to your field or area of interest, and share it all with your community.

That's all for now, folks. Happy tweeting, and may the force be with you.

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