This is a result of a facebook conversation with @pastordj about choosing a twitter handle for a district superintendent. Keep these things in mind as you set up your account, remembering that these are just the first steps.
Maintaining your twitter account means regular engagement and updating and contributing to the body of knowledge that exists.
- Keep your handle [@_____] shorter than 10 characters. You don’t want your name to take up more space than necessary. After all, you only have 160 characters.
- Update your bio section. Doesn’t have to be complete sentences. Phrases and keywords work. This section is searchable, so the more relevant info you put in there, the more folks can find you.
- Add a website! If you blog or have a church or personal website, put it up there. The more info you can give people, the better!
- Make lists! You’re allowed to create up to 20 lists. This helps you organize who you follow, and is good will towards other in the twittersphere. Some list ideas for UMC folks: @PNWUMC [conference twitter list], @UMCclergy, @churchmedia, @theologians, @faithbloggers
- Change your twitter background! Nothing worse than keeping the plain blue background that’s the default for twitter accounts. Personalize it. Have it say something about you or your organization. Here are a few examples: my school/media account, my seminary one, and a post on effective twitter backgrounds and best practices [READ IT!]
- Add a photo! People want to connect with you and place a face with a profile. Makes you more personable
- List yourself on other lists. Here’s an example of a UMC wefollow list.
- Follow people back! Unless it’s spam, do unto others by following them back. Remember, it’s all about networks and the degrees of separation. Connections are unlimited
- Thank people for following you.
- Use hashtags [#]. It helps people find your tweets.
- Give credit where it’s due. If you are sharing a link from someone, be sure to say, RT @____ or Thanks, @____ for this link!
- Tweet relevant stuff and tweet often! Decide what your twitter account will cover and stick close to it. People will expect certain kinds of info from you because of who you say you are and what you’ll tweet. Honor that. You become irrelevant if you don’t keep up your tweets, so tweet often or people will begin to unfollow you.
- Thanks to Michelle for reminding me about gathering an audience. Do searches regularly for keywords associated with your audience. You can use search.twitter.com or comb through lists like wefollow.com, twellow.com, justtweetit.com, tweetfind.com, twitr.org to start. Also, start sifting through some of the followers of the orgs/people who you follow. There’s bound to be overlap in interests.
- In terms of cultivating and engaging an audience, people won’t know that you’re talking unless you get their attention. Be sure to @ or # people or ideas so that you become a part of the conversation, and eventually a regular contributor or thought leader. Don’t be afraid to reach out and engage people in conversation.