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Twitter and You: What’s the Plan? - 11/17/2009 -

So you've got your association publication(s) on Twitter—good for you. Now, what's next? Here are six easy ways to use Twitter to advance your association's publishing goals.

By Summer Huggins

YOU'VE SUCCEEDED IN GETTING YOUR ASSOCIATION PUBLICATION(S) ON TWITTER –SO NOW WHAT? Whether it is an e-book, custom magazine, member magazine, consumer magazine or B2B publication, here are six ways that you can utilize Twitter as an integral part of your publication's web presence:

1. Share articles. When you post new articles to your publication's website or find good articles related to your readers' passions and interests share them with your followers on Twitter. A URL shortener (like bit.ly, urlzen or tinyurl) will help you share the URL and still make the most of the 140 characters that Twitter allows.

2. Engage and interact. First of all, follow folks back—especially those interested in your publication's focus or your association's activities and initiatives. Don't just use your magazine's Twitter account to push web links and articles; rather, make sure you're engaging in conversation and interacting with your followers. Ask them questions, reply to theirs, and get their opinions.

3. Brag. If someone you're following tweets a compliment about a recent article from your publication, a writer, or a photograph, that is the perfect item to consider retweeting. It lets the rest of your followers in on the compliment, and it's one more way to interact with those you've connected with on Twitter. Retweeting someone lets them know you're listening.

4. Do something special. Offer special subscription discounts for your Twitter followers, give away t-shirts, or share links to members-only content. A tiny token of appreciation is not only fun for your followers, but also it is one more way to engage them and get their attention.

5. Find sources. You may have an extremely diverse group of followers from all over the country— if not the world. If you're looking for sources for upcoming articles, your biggest fans and creative contributors might be waiting for you in your followers list. Reach out to them with an opportunity to be featured in or to contribute to your magazine or newsletter. You might be surprised at the wealth of information and inspiration your followers can serve up.

6. Promote something new. If you're be changing your body font or cover banner, or adding a new section to your publication, share that news with your Twitter followers. These little things are great to tweet when you're having 'what in the world am I going to post on Twitter today?' days. And, it could help create greater loyalty among your followers by making them feel like they are 'in the know.'

So, to sum up some key takeaways:

  • Employ URL shorteners to make the most of Twitter's 140 character limit.
  • Follow the folks who are following you—don't just push out your own web links and articles.
  • Be on the lookout for good opportunities to retweet.
  • Reach out to your followers when in need of specific content.
  • Share "inside” information to build loyalty.

Using Twitter alone is probably not going to reach all of the content and marketing goals that you've set for your association publications, but using Twitter as part of a larger arsenal of tools can have a great impact on meeting those objectives.

(Editor's note: For a good case study on an association's exploration into social media, don't miss "8 Things We Learned on the Way to Twitterville,” by John Mancini, president of the Association for Information and Image Management, in the November/December issue of Association Publishing. Login to the Digital Provider Marketplace and read entire November/December issue digitally.)

Summer Huggins is conversational media director for Hammock Inc. You can also find her on Twitter @SummerH.


 

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