Friday, March 14, 2008

How to get more relevant followers on Twitter

Contributed by: Michelle Calabretta

If you intend to use twitter to spreading content to a particular audience, there are ways you can find and target those people.

First, use a key word to search for people to follow. For example, just type in “cancer” in the find folks! box on the right hand toolbar. It will retrieves 66 people on twitter that have the word “cancer” anywhere in their profile. If you click on their avatars you can look at their profile page and see what they are tweeting about. Follow the people who seem to have similar interests, and more often than not they will follow you back

If you have a gmail account, another tool to find new followers is the gtalk application. At the very bottom of any page on twitter you can click the explore link. It will take you to a page of external applications, just scroll down until you find gtalk. Click on the link and follow the instructions to add twitter as a buddy in your gtalk list. Once you do that, open an instant message window with twitter in gmail. Type “track cancer” and send. Now any time some one on twitter tweets the word “cancer” twitter will send you an instant message with the tweet and the name of the tweeter. You can go check out their profile and see if you want to follow them. Again, more often than not they will follow you back.

The gtalk application can get a bit annoying if you keep it on all the time, so if you get tired of it just send another instant message to twitter with “untrack cancer” and the updates will stop. You can stop and start them any time and build your contact list.

There many third party applications for twitter, so if you have some time check them out in the explore page and see what else you can get into! I'm a big fan of the “blocks” application, which is a graphic representation of how your network is connected and who else they are interacting with. It's a good way to find people who may have similar interests as you and your other contacts.

If you ever have any questions about twitter, just ask some one who has been around a while. The twitterverse is extremely friendly and helpful, so don't be shy!

The Needle is Moving

Today I presented the future institutional Facebook and Twitter pages for final blessing at the VP level. We are approved! (applause here)

To get to this point we had to
  1. Educate quite a few folks on what these tools where and how to use them
  2. Find examples of how other people were using them, in the context of health care
  3. Immerse myself in regular use of the tools, and monitor the trends
  4. Develop the plan, goals and strategic vision for use of these tools
  5. Include all of the key groups in development of the guidelines
  6. Write the guidelines documents, and edit, and edit
  7. Develop the graphic and editorial content for the pilot users
  8. Get approval on the guidelines, graphics & editorial plan
Now that it is blessed, I will announce it to the directors, on Monday. If that goes well I will flip the switch and soft launch before the end of the day.

  • Make announcements to my key stakeholders
  • Participate in an internal communication plan
  • Once the pages are up and I am happy with the
    results, I will formally share the news externally
This could not have gotten done without strategic planning, communication and training and development of a community of social media champions and mentors. Thank you all so much, you know who you are.

This is just the beginning.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Winning Converts

I remember a time when many people felt that a web site was a business luxury and the internet was a fad. Ten years later it is only natural that the same people are afraid of the changes happening in the way the web works. Early adopters be patient, they just got comfortable with its permanence. Find comfort in the fact that Television, and Rock & Roll, and Hip Hop were also considered fads.

It is our job to be evangelists for the tools we believe in, and not be ashamed and hide our twitter use from the people who just have not come to understand its power for business communication and relationship development.

I have gone out to a number of groups evangelizing for Web 2.0. I have hit walls, had to answer touch question, and told the story at least 100 times. Although I have not yet converted all of the masses, I have had some success. I have even created a few new evangelists in the process. I proudly admit I am personally responsible for at least 10 new twitter addictions.

In my mission trips this I have learned:

Social Media use is a personal experience
I watch television. I watch to get news, and history shows, I like sit com’s and even a little reality TV. My 5 year old also watches TV. She likes cartoons, and kids shows. The media is the same, but our motivations are different. With social media you can show them how you use it, but they may not relate to that. In showing them how to use it, relate to them on topics that are interesting to them.

Get them to try the tools
As noted above, Social media is a personal experience; even the learning curve is different for every user. But you will never understand how it works for you unless you try it. Convince new users to sign up for something and try it for a few days.

Let the numbers tell the story
66 Million Facebook users don’t lie. 40% of them are over 35 years old. One of the great things about communicating on the web is that it is measurable. A simple Google search or a check of a sites advertiser solicitation pages will give you the justification you need to make your case about the power of new media tools.

Let your competitors tell the story
You need only to take a look at the Mayo Clinic Blogs or Facebook pages to see one example of how credible use of these tools is a present reality. Innovation is a platform of our core values, hiding from new technology is not very innovative.

You will know when the light begins to shine, because they will start to come to you as the expert with questions instead of avoiding you as the crazy social media radical (that you probably are).

Evangelists, Please comment with your tips or feedback. What has worked for you in converting your cohorts?