I help run a local community news blog with a dear friend – Danforth East Online. We started it last year because we both love where we live but thought we could create a more close-knit community online and be a meeting place of sorts. We do many kinds of posts, much like a tradition paper – stories on people, new businesses, local issues, events, etc.
What we perhaps hadn’t counted on was how important Twitter would be. In just over a year, we’ve gained almost 800 followers. Perhaps you’re thinking this isn’t a lot, but we cover only a small geographical area. We haven’t overtly worked at it – we’ve just tweeted about relevant, timely things. And we don’t profess to be experts but here are a few tips we could share about using Twitter:
- it matters when you tweet – our readers seem to be active before 9am and after 5pm. Perhaps that’s the nature of our tweets having more to do with leisure than business. We also tweet on weekends, for the same reason.
- we always try to include an image. We live in a visual world so it helps to include an image with your tweet – people are more likely to read text with images.
- we sometimes include Twitter handles of other tweeters. This way, we know they will see the tweet and they are often kind enough to retweet. We will reciprocate – when a tweeter includes our handle @DanforthEOnline, we will see it and we’ll retweet, if it’s relevant. It usually is as our account covers a specific subject – our neighbourhood – and so do the people we are engaging with.
- we use hashtags. I admit, this is a bit of a guessing game for us. We’re generally not tweeting about trending topics – just local news – so our hashtags tend to pertain to localized issues.
- we include links. Really that is often the main purpose of our tweeting – to tell people about our latest post, or to direct them to an event, a new local website, etc. So gotta have links!
- we don’t bombard people with tweets. This is a part-time gig for us anyway so we don’t have time to tweet non-stop. But I’m sure you’ve stopped following accounts because you just received too much info one one subject. I suggest you do the same.