How Do You Tweet?

By Denman Wall

It's staggering. Twitter is one of the most ubiquitous social media platforms today with approximately 328 million active users per month. That’s nearly the population of the United States! With a wide variety of users, some famous...and more not so famous, it is among this era's most prolific methods of communication. The uses vary tremendously and at different paces. Some users carefully craft their 140 characters and post occasionally while others use it to unapologetically convey their rapid-fire thoughts. On average, there are nearly 6,000 tweets per second of any given day.

Although the hashtag was not invented by Twitter (Sorry, the chat rooms from the late 80's claim that invention), nearly everything out there has one. So, it makes perfect sense that organizations would find a way to use the snippet-based, hyper-speed platform to market their goods and services, that individuals would use it to promote their personal agendas and ideas, that membership groups would use it to attract and inform colleagues, and that others could reach out to their communities.

That is the essence of Twitter. You can use the platform - from any device - to support, augment or start pretty much anything you want. Its usage is really up to the needs of the individual or organization.

Earlier this September as part of the Educational Program, NYSAE members and guests had the good fortune of learning how a magazine publisher uses Twitter. Mark Newman, Editor of Endocrine News (@Endocrine_News), provided a roomful of attendees with a peek into their publication's use of Twitter as a supporting communications platform for their print magazine. They not only use Twitter as a way to build traffic to their newly redesigned magazine website, but also to augment monthly content with more immediate news, photos, and opinions on issues impacting Endocrine science. For important updates that need high visibility, they pin certain tweets to the tops of their Twitter feed.

But, perhaps the most telling reason they use Twitter is because it is free and easy to use. While they are building their Twitter presence, they are not overly concerned with metrics at this point, but rather getting into the habit of tweeting on a consistent basis. Considering they have a small staff of two full-time employees, consistency and sustainability of posting regularly is more critical. Currently, they try to post multiple times per day. However, as their activity around their annual conference ramps up, they more actively post items related to the conference. As an example, they created the hashtag #endo2017. 

As Mr. Newman wrapped up, additional best practices shared by the audience included using Twitter as a way to analyze followers to identify potential sponsors, measuring results depending on the needs of the organization - not just numbers for numbers' sake, the importance of including photos and ensuring that those who tweet consider the differences between their personal Twitter accounts and their business personas.

By the way, as a testament to the power of Twitter, in the time it took me to write this blog post, some 1.4 million tweets were published!

Photos included are Mark Newman, Presenter (Top Left) and Mark Newman, Editor of Endocrine News and Amy Geffen, Education Committee Chair (Bottom left).