I was recently asked by a former American Majority training attendee how he could use twitter in order to grow his organization and make it more effective. This is something that quite a few activists I’ve encountered have had questions about. Many people know what twitter is and the basics of how to use it; but so many fail to realize what an effective FREE tool this social networking site can be for their organization.
Many times during my trainings when I present the idea of using twitter for political purposes I see eyes roll and hear mild scoffs. However, when used in the right manner, twitter can do great things for your grassroots organization. Below are a few simple ways that you can benefit your group, your candidate, and the liberty movement easily and at no cost:
- STEP 1: CREATE A TWITTER PAGE FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION
When creating this twitter page, be sure the username for the page is the same or similar to the name of the organization. Twitter allows you to have a username of up to 15 characters. If your group’s name is longer than that, you might have to get creative in coming up with a similar, but shorter name. The name needs to be similar to the actual name of the group so that people searching on twitter for your organization can find it easily.
Before you start finding followers, you need to build up the information portion of your page. You want to make sure that those visiting your page will know what your organization is about so that they will know whether they want to receive your group’s tweets or not. To do this, sign in to your twitter page and click “settings” in the upper right-hand corner. This will bring up the account settings portion of your settings options. On the settings option bar, click “profile.” Here, you will have the option to upload an image or graphic that represents your organization. You will also have the option to enter the full name of your organization, your organization’s location, your group’s website, and a short bio about your organization (no more than 145 characters).
Be creative when trying to find followers and promote your group’s page. If the organization has handouts, a website, or business cards, put the group’s twitter information on them. Another good way to initially gain followers is by following people in the community that you think might be interested in your organization. When you choose to follow somebody, they will receive a notification in their email informing them. When they see that there is a like-minded organization following them, they will likely choose to follow that organization’s twitter updates.
- STEP 4: TWEET TO BOOST ATTENDANCE
Tweet all meetings with times and locations multiple times so that people following the group are reminded of when the next meetings are going to be. Do the same with any events that the group may host or attend. Also, tweet links and summaries of news articles and blogs that would be relevant to the movement and the group’s members and followers.
- STEP 5: TWEET USING #HASHTAGS
When tweeting, use hashtags as much as possible when it is relevant. Hashtags are words that are used in tweets to describe the subject or topics at hand. A few good hashtags to keep in mind while tweeting are #tcot, #tlot, , #teaparty, #tpp, #912, and #majority (used by people who believe that WE are the majority in America). The benefit to using hashtags in your tweets is that the more a hashtag is used, the higher it appears on “trending topics” which is viewed by all twitter users. It also provides a link on your tweets for your followers to click and view every tweet that has used that particular hashtag. This allows your group’s followers access to a large group of like-minded twitter users. You can also create your own hashtag for your group and encourage group members to use it in their tweets to further promote your organization.
- STEP 5: RT’ing & TWEETING @TWEEPLE
“RT” stands for “re-tweeting.” Re-tweeting is best described as taking a twitter message someone else has posted, and rebroadcasting that same message to your followers. When tweeting this message, you typically give credit to the original poster. Re-tweeting is a great way to promote an organization, person, or message to your followers.
When you tweet at “@somebody” you are tweeting a message towards a person. This also helps to promote that particular individual to your organization’s followers. This can be very effective if your group chooses to support a specific candidate during an election. By tweeting a positive message at a candidate, your group can promote that candidate to all of its followers. It also provides your followers a link to access that candidate’s twitter page so that they can check him/her out for themselves. The organization should also tweet at other organizations that they want to promote. To do this, simply type an “@” sign before the person or group’s twitter username (with no spaces) and then type the message before or after that.
There is a twitter trend on Fridays that allows people to promote others on twitter that they think their followers should also follow. It is called follow Friday. If there are members of the group that are particularly good about updating twitter with information that would be relevant to the organization or the movement, you can tag them in follow Friday. The follow Friday hashtag is either #ff or #followfriday. A sample follow Friday tweet would look something like this, “@twitteruser1 @twitteruser2 @twitteruser3 @twitteruser4 @twitteruser5 are all on fire for the liberty movement! Check them out! #followfriday.”
- LAST STEP: UPDATE FREQUENTLY
Make sure that you are updating your group’s twitter page on a regular basis, preferably multiple times a day. Not everybody keeps twitter open on their computer or cell phone all day long (though some of us addicts might). This is why updating frequently is so necessary. The more frequently you update your group’s page, the more likely your tweets are to reach a broader group of your followers while they are checking twitter.
Please, don’t allow yourself to discount twitter as just another way to procrastinate online. It can be an AMAZING tool for your liberty-minded organization if you simply take a little time out of your day to follow the steps I’ve outlined above. And the best part is that it’s FREE! We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” That may be true; but I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing as free advertising, and it’s called twitter!