5 Reasons Twitter Gives Associations Much to Tweet About

July 9, 2009 at 7:20 pm 3 comments

TwitterSimply put, imagination and the desire to connect on some level are the forces which have fueled the social web.  Though it’s been around for years, Twitter has exploded this year because of the convergence between creative users and industrious leveragers.

If your association is looking for a little boost in imagination in determining how to best utilize Twitter, here are 5 ways to give your association something to tweet about:

1) Tracking Trends in Real Time  – A couple of months ago a situation arose in an association I am familiar with regarding a situation in which it was known that a groundswell of stakeholder opinion would arise as a very well pubilicized event was about to take place.  There was plenty of concern as to how members would react once event publicity reached fever pitch.   The association needed to very quickly gauge qualitatively and quantitatively the impact of this publicized event to determine the best response strategy. 

Twitter became a primary resource as brief 140 character or less reviews began to spread like wild fire.  Through a couple of well-monitored keywords on Twitter, the association was able to determine with a fair amount of conclusivity that opinions within the stakeholder community was divided right down the middle, trending toward a higher degree of positivity for those who had witnessed the publicized event and more intense negativity for those who had only learned of the event through secondhand information. 

Given the quick timing and ease of use, Twitter is a great tool for monitoring fast-breaking trends.

2)  Service-Based StrategiesTracking conversations that arise regarding your association’s brand or related products/services is an easy way to execute some outbound member/prospective member service.  Twitter is the quickest and easiest way to issue a public complaint about a bad experience.  It used to be when you had a bad experience, the first thing you would want to do is find someone to tell all about the injustice.  Today, all you need to do is log into Twitter and let it fly in 140 characters or less. 

While this my be a troubling scenario should you find your association in the cross-hairs of this form of “drive-by tweet”, consider this… If the individual had a bad experience and told the next 10 people they crossed paths with there isn’t much you can do to rectify the situation.  However, when someone vents a complaint via Twitter, you have the ability to pick up on it fast and reach out to turn the situation around. 

Who should be responsible for monitoring Twitter for keywords relating to your association brand?  Why not everyone based on their area of immediate responsibility and expertise.  The key is to support such behavior, by example, from the top down.  With some simple “rules of engagement” in place, you can empower your team to make the difference.  Would it be any different if your staff was on-site at your association’s big conference and they saw someone struggling?  Would you want your staff to keep their distance or move in to provide some appropriate help?

3)  Harvesting FollowersEvery follower is potentially a real and meaningful connection.  If a Twitter user has jumped on board as a follower, make it a point to reach out @apersonallevel at least once.  Take a few moments to review their list of most recent posts to get a little better idea what they are all about.  Determine how you can make the most relevant connection. 

4)  Sweet Retweets –  Once you have made a connection with followers, be sure to ask if they would be willing to participate as a “retweeter” in the future when your association is tweeting important posts.  When they retweet, their network of followers will see the post as well.  The exponential power of Twitter in reaching large masses of people becomes clearer when you consider the power of retweeting.

5)  The Human TouchWhen setting up your association’s Twitter presence, remember this… to make a personal connection requires two human beings connecting.  Personality definitely counts and can only be achieved when your Twitter presence is comprised of identifiable people as opposed to a general @ACME Association identity. 

When engaging in mass messaging via Twitter, default to the person who is your official spokesperson in the first place.  If your highest ranking officer is willing to undergo media training to handle an assortment of print, radio or TV interviews, why not add in Twaining (Twitter training). 

You can easily retain your brand acronym while Twittering at the human level.  Simply create a standard convention, such as @ACMEPresident or @ACMEstaff_John or @ACMEstaff_Jane.  Refer back to #2 for additional strategies on how to overcome @ACME Association syndrome.  SM


Entry filed under: Social Media, Web 2.0 and Beyond, Web Me.0. Tags: , , , , .

What Corporate Interactive Marketers and Agencies can Learn from Associations When it Comes to Building a Social Brand Quick Tips and Ideas – The Role of Market Research and Data Analysis in Recession-Proofing Your Association

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Deirdre Reid  |  July 16, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Great post! I wish more associations would use Twitter. As you explained, there are so many valuable uses. By the way, are you on Twitter? Your one of my favorite association bloggers, so if you are, please follow me at @DeirdreReid. Thanks!

  • 2. Jeff Hurt  |  July 16, 2009 at 7:10 am


    Thanks for the post. I would also add two more that are very similar to what you’ve written.

    1) Build And Nuture Relationships
    Twitter provides an excellent opportunity for association staff to engage in conversations with members and nonmembers alike.

    2) Build And Nuture Community
    Much like building relationships, Twitter provides an opportunity for association staff to hold live chats around specific industry or association issues. Using a hashtag and third party Twitter client like Tweetchat, Tweetgrid or Twubs, one can filter the noise and focus on the discussion.

    BTW, since you wrote about Twitter, what’s your Twitter handle? I’m sure readers would like to follow you in Twitter as well.

  • 3. Stuart Meyer  |  July 17, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    My thanks to both Jeff and Deirdre. Great additions Jeff! If anyone would like to follow me on twitter, my handle is @skmeyer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to Association 2020 and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 22 other followers

%d bloggers like this: