Who died and left me hall monitor? Oh, wait...
December 11, 2014 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Managing a Twitter account for a professional education/networking group: what do I need to know?

I recently volunteered to create and maintain a Twitter account for a professional education and networking group. I am relatively new to the group but I have a good sense of the group's mission.

The officers I met were pleased with the idea. My new role was publicly announced at a group meeting last night, so many group members Are Aware. :-) Finally, I'm a pretty savvy Twitter user but I could always use some pointers there.

The group has a LinkedIn presence from which any group member can tweet. I asked whether the group had a central email account and none of the officers I spoke to was too sure about that.

Here's my game plan:
  • Create an email account specifically for the Twitter account.
  • Set up the Twitter account with a handle matching the group's existing acronym.
  • Use the group's logo and link to the group's Web site and LinkedIn group page from within the Twitter profile.
  • Post an update on the group's LinkedIn page that the Twitter account is up and running. I'll provide the Twitter handles for both the group and me, as well as the Twitter account's email address (in nonspammable form) for people who want to have something tweeted for the group.
  • Tweet to my own personal followers about the new group. Many of those followers would have some professional interest in the group.
  • Initially, tweet whatever new updates are on the group's LinkedIn page. That's easy to do from within LinkedIn.
  • Tweet updates I get from group members, using some discretion (are these folks officers or longstanding members? How relevant is the content? Is the content spammy?) When in doubt I'll get some input from one of the officers.
  • As I get more comfortable, tweet occasionally on my own about topics relevant to the group's interests.
  • I'll give the Twitter account/email passwords to at least one other person, probably a current or former officer, as a backup.
  • If other group officers ask for the passwords, I'll provide them, but I don't think the password should be given out very freely.
I'd be grateful if you could vet the plan above and provide some feedback, especially if you've managed a professional group's Twitter presence.

posted by Sheydem-tants to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Use a scheduler like Hootsuite. The you can schedule and edit tweets. It's also a good idea to create some sort of a plan whether it's weekly or something for what to tweet.

Another thing with scheduling is that if you want to add a new update schedule it for 10 mins in the future. You have no idea how many times that can save you from typos.

Also look at successful twitter-ers in your field and see what they're doing.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:04 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Use a scheduler like Hootsuite.

Totally. I have a personal Twitter and I run a few (small) association accounts. I use Tweetdeck which lets me schedule tweets and post and/or follow-up from my own account or the ones of the associations. I specifically limit cross-traffic between the accounts most of the time (i.e. if something is a BIG DEAL I might post it from my account and the organization's account but very very rarely)

I also use IFTTT to have some stuff auto-tweet. You have to be careful about this but for example we have a jobs page on the website and all newly posted jobs get tweeted to the organization account automagically. Saves time. Encourages brevity.

And gosh I'd be super careful giving the passwords to anyone except in a "Here is a password in case something happens to me" way. I'd try to be clear if you want this to be a one-person thing with a voice and everything or if you want it to be a thing that other members can access to tweet out from.

I also use the accounts for communicating, a little. So someone will tweet "Is the website down" and we can @reply them and/or make a larger announcement. I track followers, replies and general engagement. There are good tools for this if you are a big organization otherwise just small reports are useful.

I am careful about who the org's account follows but I do also track a saved search for our name (in tweetdeck) and have a short list of groups that the org's account follows so we can DM with them.

Try to have a balance between tweeting about your organization, about your topic and retweeting or interacting with other people in your field. It's good to show that you're part of the twitterverse and not just using it for your own promotion.

Also if you do anything that is image-ful tweet pictures! People engage with them and they look nice on your twitter home page. Don't forget to make sure that page looks nice. Have a bio, links to other pages etc.
posted by jessamyn at 11:25 AM on December 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Although I don't manage their account, I have watched a professional group I'm involved with have difficulty engaging with Twitter at first, and later become a great example of how professional groups use Twitter.

If your group is not highly tech-oriented, I think the difficulty might be getting enough people in the group who aren't already using Twitter professionally to see the group's Twitter feed as relevant to them, enough to get new users over the learning barrier, which is higher for Twitter than for other social media, or enough to get casual users to bother creating a professional handle (in case they feel they need to separate the two).

If your group also does mass emails or print newsletters, or any other way of distributing info besides LinkedIn updates, consider going beyond "here's the Twitter handle" in those venues -- also provide some answers to "why Twitter?" and "how to get started on Twitter."

After you have tweeted a few times, get a widget installed on the group's website showing the latest from the group's Twitter feed.

Instead of a one-way pipeline from LinkedIn to Twitter, eventually I'd suggest a two-way pipeline with some tweets being posted to LinkedIn.

When your group meets live, provide an official hashtag for those live-tweeting, and RT and favorite them liberally from the official account.

Schedule a Twitter chat outside of regular meetings, Storify it, and provide the link to the Storify on the website, the LinkedIn group, newsletter, etc.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 11:34 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Looks like you have a good plan. I took over the Twitter account for a professional group. We had had a few problems, so I would be cautious about sharing the password and if you do, make sure there are some very clear guidelines. The only other thing I would add is to think about who your account will follow. Automatic follow backs and some odd choices had left our account following some dicey accounts. When I took over the account I basically unfollowed everyone except accounts from our affiliated organizations and commercial members that sponsor us. This has turned out to be a bit limiting, but also gives me cover when asked why we don't follow "Nice Person X" who tweets some good stuff but also tends to drunktweet about football or porn.
posted by Gotanda at 4:16 PM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Top quality men's boots   |   On evening in Dublin next Monday. What to do? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.