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Archive for December, 2008

Organizations on Twitter

Friday, December 5th, 2008

In my day job working for an 89-year-old non-profit I do Web design, programming and information architecture. By default, online marketing strategery also falls onto my plate. One recent topic of discussion between myself and the PR folk is the subject of Twitter. There are some in my organization who have heard of it. Fewer understand it. To be honest, how a microblog might be useful for an organization such as ours is not readily clear.

To start, there must be a goal in mind. (Really? Yes.) Like all good goals it should be specific: “demonstrate our global scope by providing links to timely articles written about us by legitimate news media around the world,” or “put a human face on our organization by means of our funny and engaging leader.” You can’t merely Tweet about a press release or pretend you are an individual not directly associated with your organization. Authenticity is key.

The subject of tweets is paramount. It is important to do some homework up-front. Before creating a Twitter account, set up an Twitter content search through an RSS feed to see if people are already tweeting about you and what they are saying. You can use this information to inform your decisions regarding future tweet content. At the very least, you can start simply by posting updates about news and events that contain links to your corporate news blog where twitterers can read more.

Whatever you do, ensure that your organization’s Web site is up-to-snuff in all the ways that matter. Twitter users figure out if you are legitimate by clicking on the Web site URL in the profile section of your Twitter page. If your site appears painfully outdated or confusing, they might decide that your organization’s use of Twitter is just for obvious marketing purposes. You’ll get no Twitter followers that way.