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MT: Twitter talk

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Engagement

Twitter is like a dinner party. But you’re not the host. By Rebecca Lefort and Ruth Nunn.

BIS Twitter header

The people reading your feed are the hosts, and to be a good guest you need to ensure your conversation is lively, entertaining, relevant. You need to ask questions, share facts, involve others, and stay up-to-date, otherwise you’ll probably be left off the invite list next time!

This was just one of the spot-on metaphors used by Twitter’s brand and agency advocate, Oli Newton, to brilliantly describe the world of social media at his Portland Comms breakfast talk yesterday.

Here’s our MT’d (confused? see point 6) version of his talk.

1) To use Twitter, understand Twitter. Here are the latest numbers:

  • 241 million active global users
  • 77% outside in the US
  • 15 million active UK users
  • 66% of users watch live events through Twitter
  • two-thirds of users search for things on Twitter daily

2) You don’t need to be funny to survive on Twitter (phew)! Being informative is much more important (and the stats show this)

3) Write for your external, not internal, audience

4) Use #realtalk not #worktalk. So “give me a bell” not “please do not hesitate to get back to me”

5) You can have different tone of voices from one account. The Met Police’s @metpoliceuk feed tweets about drugs and immigration, but also #puppypolice

6) Phrases you might see on Twitter:

  • HT = hat tip, giving credit to someone else for what you’re tweeting
  • cc = copying someone in so they see the tweet
  • MT = modified retweet, when you tweak someone else’s tweet instead of simply retweeting (but don’t use MT in Brazil, where it’s considered insulting!)

7) Not every critical tweet is a crisis. Consider:

  • does the tweeter have a point? If yes then address it
  • is a discussion needed? If not, then a DM (direct message) or email (or even get retro and pick up the phone) might be best - you don’t need a public debate
  • what happened? If there’s an outcome or change as a result of the tweet, then let people know

8) Hashtags allow you to be part of a wider conversation, help people discover your content, shows your support for issues, and can simply help you be entertaining (but be careful, think about hidden words, and use capital letters for clarity - remember #susanalbumparty).

9) Using Twitter is like walking the shop floor in a digital space, a key part of the day for understanding your organisation’s state of play. Some CEOs read every single mention of their company, to get a sense of the good, the bad and the ugly!

10) Why do people follow the people running organisations, rather than simply the organisations? Because people love access to success and Twitter gives people them that. So encourage those at the top (Perm Secs for us in the Civil Service) to talk about their inspirations, what books they’re reading, or what motivates them.

So, there’s our MT'd Twitter tips. Thanks for reading! And hopefully it was engaging enough to keep us on the dinner party guest list for now? (HT @OliNewton if you do invite us!)

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Betony Kelly posted on

    Great tips - thanks for sharing.
    Sounds like it was a great session with lots of sensible straightforward advice. I'm sorry I missed it!


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