Why bother with all of that, I hear you cry?
If you don’t need to get your message out or aren’t that fussed, then you needn’t bother at all.
But if you DO want others to see/read/share/interact, then it’s pretty crucial you get to grips with at least the two main media out there – facebook and Twitter.
Why? Can’t folk find stuff themselves?
Well, first of all you have to remember people are busy. People often haven’t the time to go searching to the ins and outs of something, even when they are interested. And even if they do want to, they might not find it if the search engines don’t index it (more on that later).
Second of all, bear in mind that some people are lazy. If information is not handed to them on a plate in a nice easy format, then they won’t bother reading on. So getting it in front of their eyes really helps 🙂
To be successful, you must
your message out there
make sure it is easy to follow
easy to share.
This is where Facebook and Twitter come into their own.
The merits of facebook
- It is very easy to share stuff with your friends and other groups
- Your message, if pitched well, can easily go viral and reach well beyond your own or your page’s audience.
- News flashes are usually shared fairly quickly after they break.
- Stuff is there for people to find long after you post it – although they do have to look for it.
- It’s a good place to gather (or join) a like-minded group and share information.
- Groups and pages are a good way to discuss ideas with others.
- Groups allow you to filter out people who are acting poorly or just there to cause a fuss. (Don’t confuse that with filtering out dissenters, though – argument and discussion are good, so long as it is well mannered)
- Facebook is a good place to join other groups of interest and then re-share their content when it is of interest to your group.
- You can use the photo albums to collect not just photos but also interesting memes.
Why you might consider Twitter
- Twitter allows you to follow people and groups of interest easily.
- The people you follow will retweet things of interest from their own Tweeps*, allowing you to find new people of interest to follow.
- Breaking news is immediate on Twitter – often well before television and radio news catches up – – you can always do a search for the topic you are interested in to see what the latest news is.
- You can search for topics that interest you
- You can use hashtags to highlight the topic of your post/s (This is a hashtag —> #)
- You can share your own messages as well as others’ messages
- You can re-tweet messages at different points in the day, to reach different audiences
- You can link to articles on the internet
- You can share photos and uploads
- Twitter has great groups that meet live to discuss things – in education, for example #edchat and #edchatNZ have fabulous virtual meet ups and discussion.
- You can unfollow Tweeps with the click of a button
- No inbox or news stream clogging up – just go and see what’s happening at any given time.
Building an Audience
If you have a blog or an internet page, both facebook and Twitter can help you disseminate your posts to a wider audience and bring traffic to and from your page. This tells the search engines that your page may be of interest. The exact machination of how search engines rate pages is a well-kept secret, but it reliably assumed that if people click into and out of your page from and to pages with similar themes and interests, then your page is worthwhile in that field. So pertinent links are valuable on your web pages and blogs not just for getting people there initially but also for bringing more viewers in the long term.
Getting People to your Petitions, Surveys, Submissions and so on
If you want people to fill in a survey, send in a submission or sign a petition, writing about it on a blog or web page is a good start, but if you want to increase traffic and get more people interested, you must promote that web page on both facebook and Twitter. Other interested parties will see it and share it, and a wider audience is found that way.
Managing Your Posts
If you want to plan your posts in advance rather than sitting at your computer all day and night, use a free service such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or similar (there’s a list of 10 of the good ones here). They allow you to set up posts in advance, which is great for announcements, hitting different audiences, and for people too busy to do it any other way.
There you go – that gives you the bones of what to do, why and how. If you have any questions, just ask – I am not an expert, just a sad old geek who likes to faff, but I will do my utmost to answer your questions and help where I can.
Good luck – now go get Tweeting and posting!
*Tweeps – the people you follow or who follow you on Twitter.