Posted in Social Media

Corporate Twitter Accounts – a little guide

Starting out
Once you have signed up for an account make sure you know how it all works. There’s nothing worse than having an account with no activity.

@ Replies

@karenjeal – hello thanks for your tweet.
(this one will be seen by me because the @name is at the beginning of the tweet)

Hello @karenjeal – thanks for your tweet.
(this one will reach a far wider audience just by putting the @name further along the tweet)

Direct Messages (DM) – you need to be following each other to be able to DM someone. The DM is also only made up of 140 characters. DM should be used mainly for getting someones contact details or further, more sensitive, info to be able to help them.

Hashtags – these need to be used to get topics trending. Also be aware people will use hashtags to express how ever they are feeling and they can be whatever they want to say.

Retweets – you can just retweet someone but clicking the double arrow button under their tweet but it would be better to construct your own tweet from scratch. Make sure you include the peron’s @name that you’re retweeting. An example:

RT: @graveshambc Put 25 February in your diary. is celebrating find out more

Modified tweets – This is like a retweet but where you may have had to modify it slightly. Just stick MT: at the beginning similar to the above.

The tweet itself – This needs to be 140 characters (with spaces) so be word savvy and be aware that if you include a picture that it will take up some of your word count.

Be engaging
Invite people to comment on things, send in pictures, nominate things. It gets people interested and talking! Don’t just use Twitter as an ad space. It’ll get boring and you’ll just lose followers. Use it to talk to people and find interesting content.

Be very careful. Don’t make them too long and make them relate to something. Here’s an example #LocalGovDigital #localgov or #CleanandGreen. Be careful not to use something that might have something inappropriate attached to it.

Also if you are going to use more than one word make sure that it doesn’t make up other words. There was a hashtag for Susan Boyle’s new album party. Her promo people used #susanalbumparty – was harmless but look what it actually spells out!

Short URLs
Within your tweet you need to save on characters where possible. So if you have to add a URL you can shorten it. There are a number of tools out there to do this –, Tiny URL or It’s really useful in getting a long URL into a short tweet! And some of them give you analytics too so you can see how many people are clicking through.

Who you’re following
Make sure you’re not following too many people. You want to make sure that those you follow will be useful and are influential. No-one is going to follow someone who is following thousands of people but who only has 10 followers themselves. You really want to be following the people who will create interesting content, so good people to retweet.

It’s impossible for anyone to read every tweet as it’s just too fast paced. So you can tweet the same/similar tweets throughout different times of the day to target different audiences.

You must make sure that even if you’re not posting tweets that you are still checking and monitoring the account for people who have tweeted you. It’s very important that you respond to replies or mentions that you get. If someone is saying something positive go back and acknowledge that even if it’s just to say thank you. If someone is being negative, unless they are asking a specific question that you can answer then the best thing to do is just ignore it. If you have a customer service enquiry that is getting out of hand take it offline – but make sure you say it’s been taken offline.

Think abut its value
Think about what you want to get from using social media and who you want to follow and connect with. Don’t just set up an account because you that’s what you feel you need to do. There has to be a reason and it needs to meet an outcome. Think in terms of creating conversations, interacting with people in the community and finding interesting things to retweet.

Sense the tone
Make sure you sense the tone. If you don’t think you should be tweeting it then don’t. Don’t be caught out and make a mistake. If you have any doubt then just don’t do it.

If you have a corporate account it’s good practice to have at least two members of the team knowing the password and for security purposes it should be changed frequently or whenever anyone leaves.

Accounts must be updated regularly – at least once a day. You’ll need to reply quickly too, even if it’s just a holding tweet to say you’re looking into something. Make sure all your tweets are different and don’t spam people too much with the same topic.

Times to tweet
Good times of the day to tweet are weekends and between 1pm and 3pm weekdays.
Worst times of the day to tweet are 8pm-8am.

Campaigns and goals
If you are running a specific campaign try and keep track of what’s going on daily. Set goals and have clear outcomes of what you want to achieve from the campaign by using Twitter.  

  • If you want to measure awareness then you’ll want to be measuring reach.
  • If you want to measure comment then you’ll want to be measuring retweets and replies.
  • If you want to measure traffic then it’ll be better to measure URL shares.
  • Get help to monitor specific hashtags or terms.
Posted in Social Media

Tweeting in local gov

High 5
As part of my doodling I have decided to start doing a little feature called a ‘High 5 Guide…’ where I give my top 5 tips on a subject. This one is on tweeting in local government. Tweeting is now second nature to most and has become part of ‘business as usual’ in the team you work in.

So here are my 5 top tips that will help make life a little more interesting when tweeting.

#1 – make sure you’re having conversations.
Don’t just let your residents/customers come to you with a moan or a groan – go out to them – ask questions, find out what they’re up to, interact and make sure you really talk to them. It’s also a good idea to introduce yourself every day, like – Hi – it’s Karen here and I’ll be on hand to take your queries today. Other accounts like TfL and Southeastern do it and it works really well. At Lambeth Council we have been testing this out and believe it or not it has made a massive difference in the tone that a person will speak to you. It’s more friendly, even when people have negative things to say.

#2 Use pictures
Pictures really help illustrate what you’re saying and make for much more interesting retweeting. It will really help your tweet come to life and make sure you also link to interesting and cool things. Not always a press release or something similar. Be inventive.

#3 Take advantage of your influencers
There will be many people connected with the council who have a lot of influence in your community. Get them tweeting and having the conversations. Councillors for example will know the issues and can help influence people. Some of them will also have a very high number of followers, so if you retweet from the corporate account too then it doubles the reach!

#4 Connect with people
I’d say don’t be afraid to use your personal account to make contacts and network. This not only means journalists but also people in the community who also carry a lot of influence. Start following people of interest and be curious! If you see a story in the local/national press – tweet the journalist – again – start up a conversation. Likewise if you need to defend something it’s much quicker to do it via a tweet than to send an email. It’s quick and to the point.

#5 Keep up-to-date
Be on Twitter as much as you can and as much will allow to make sure you keep in the know, do the same with blog sites. It will really help you construct more interesting tweets than just want the council is doing the whole time, it will allow you to build up a reputation for offering insightful tweets.

Find me on Twitter – @karenjeal