Tips : Network groups and Twitter

Tips : Network groups and Twitter

If you use Twitter you’ll see that there are lots of network groups that are active on Twitter, have lots of positive engagement and a strong following. There are lots of benefits in having a Twitter account for your network group. These include engaging with your members, attracting new ones, sharing your awesome work with a wider audience, reaching out and collaborating with other networks and getting lots of ideas to help with momentum for your network (and many more). We’ve brought together some ‘Twitter’ top tips that may help you get buy in from your organisation to launch an account, give you some inspiration and also help engage with fellow tweeters once you’re up and ready to tweet.

Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140 character text messages called ‘tweets’. It’s quickly established itself as an effective platform for Network Groups to engage with their members and connect with other networks, people and organisations of interest.

We know from speaking to many employee Network Groups and from our own experience, that getting sign off from your organisation to launch a Twitter account is often difficult and is seen as quite high risk. The powers that be get nervous as posts are there for millions to see instantly and getting the correct message over in 140 characters is a bit of a skill and takes some practice. A missing word can make a huge difference to what you actually wanted to communicate. There are some well known examples of tweeting gone wrong.

To help in some small way, we’ve brought together some top tips that may help you get buy in and also help engage with fellow tweeters once you’re up and ready to tweet.

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Your organisation needs to understand who you are and why you want to launch a Twitter account

Arrange a meeting with your communications and/or marketing team (whoever manages your organisations social media) and let them know more about your network and how having a Twitter account would be of value to your network and the organisation as a whole. They may have never heard of the network or may not ‘get it’. Get the support of your Senior Sponsor/Champion and use other networks as a benchmark. Give examples of other networks who have established Twitter accounts. Don’t get carried away, ensure you get the relevant sign off!

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Get buy in from your organisations communication’s team

Don’t go stepping on anyones toes. Do you have any members of your network who work in your communications team or tweet as part of their day job role? This could make business buy in easier and reduce any feelings of nervousness. In the eyes of your organisations, they know what they are doing – it’s what they get paid to do.

It may be worth suggesting a period of getting your proposed tweets signed off each week at the beginning and then as the weeks go on without any issues, more freedom will likely follow. Take things one step at a time. Twitter isn’t going anywhere.

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Keep your tweets ‘on brand’ and choose a Twitter account name that is consistent with those of your organisation

It is very easy to offer your own personal opinions and to tweet things you’re personally interested in, but aren’t aligned with your organisations ‘brand’ and ‘tone’ and don’t engage with your diverse membership. Keep to your organisations brand guide if you’re tweeting visuals, especially if it involves the corporate logo. Your tweets are a reflection on the wider organisation.

Also, remember if you have a personal Twitter account, many people will make the connection if you do lots of RT’s or mention your personal account in the info box. Something for you to consider.

Keep your account name short and as simple as possible, keeping it as closely in line with the format of the other Twitter handles your organisation already has. It should look like your account is a part of your organisations Twitter family, and not the black sheep of the family.

When you’ve set up your account choose a header visual and thumbnail logo that represents your network and is aligned with your organisations branding and that of your network. Take time deciding these. It’s really easy for your account to look unprofessional. The right branding will have a positive impact.

When your account is set up, add the Twitter handle to all of your network communications, intranet page and website if you have one. You want to get as many people as possible following you and engaging with you on Twitter. Add the buzz factor!

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Keep your posts regular and interesting

Tweeting 9 to 5 won’t really do the job unfortunately – your members will probably be at work too and will miss your tweets. Lots of activity is on evenings and weekends so if you really want to reach people and at the peak traffic times you’ll need to think about this. A few tweets a week will quickly disengage people and too much of the same thing will too. Keep them fresh with a good mix of ‘RT’s’ that are relevant. We have witnessed some network groups Twitter followers drop significantly as tweets become less regular and are not as engaging.

Twitter allows you to block being tagged in images that other people post. If you set up this function to block being tagged, don’t then post images tagging other accounts. No double standards. Personally, we like being tagged in images as it opens up lots of conversations, is positive for engagement and we see lots of things we may have otherwise missed.

slogo-green

Keep the amount of people who can access and tweet from the account to a limit of two or three people

This will ensure your tweets are controlled, of a consistent style and there is clear accountability for what you are posting. Too many people posting could result in things getting a bit disjointed and messy. Make sure you all speak to each other and keep each other updated on what you plan to be tweeting. This will avoid duplication and ensure tweets are regular. If your network covers a large geographic area, ensure you tweet things relevant to places outside of where you are based too.

Avoid only one person having access where you can as when someone is on holiday or not available to tweet you don’t want the tweets to suddenly stop. This will be disengaging to your followers. What would happen if that person left your organisation?

slogo-green

It’s a conversation and not just another platform for PR

It’s great to share successes, and rightly so, but don’t be seen to just be using twitter to sell your organisations products or shout about how great you are. It’s a bit of a balancing act.

It’s positive to tweet about charity events and other things that you think your followers will find interesting. Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your tweets and join in the many twitter events that take place such as #LGBTQHour, #FF (Follow Friday) and more regional focussed Twitter events. Happy tweeting!

“Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your tweets. It’s a conversation and not just another platform for PR.”

Get buy in from your organisations communication’s team

Don’t go stepping on anyones toes. Do you have any members of your network who work in your communications team or tweet as part of their day job role? This could make business buy in easier and reduce any feelings of nervousness. In the eyes of your organisations, they know what they are doing – it’s what they get paid to do.

It may be worth suggesting a period of getting your proposed tweets signed off each week at the beginning and then as the weeks go on without any issues, more freedom will likely follow. Take things one step at a time. Twitter isn’t going anywhere.

Keep your tweets ‘on brand’ and choose a Twitter account name that is consistent with those of your organisation

It is very easy to offer your own personal opinions and to tweet things you’re personally interested in, but aren’t aligned with your organisations ‘brand’ and ‘tone’ and don’t engage with your diverse membership. Keep to your organisations brand guide if you’re tweeting visuals, especially if it involves the corporate logo. Your tweets are a reflection on the wider organisation.

Also, remember if you have a personal Twitter account, many people will make the connection if you do lots of RT’s or mention your personal account in the info box. Something for you to consider.

Keep your account name short and as simple as possible, keeping it as closely in line with the format of the other Twitter handles your organisation already has. It should look like your account is a part of your organisations Twitter family, and not the black sheep of the family. You’ll likely be repeating the handle a lot in conversations so keep it simple.

When you’ve set up your account choose a header visual and thumbnail logo that represents your network and is aligned with your organisations branding and that of your network. Take time deciding these. It’s really easy for your account to look unprofessional. The right branding will have a positive impact.

When your account is set up, add the Twitter handle to all of your network communications, intranet page and website if you have one. You want to get as many people as possible following you and engaging with you on Twitter. Add the buzz factor!

“Avoid only one person having access where you can as when someone is on holiday or not available to tweet you don’t want the tweets to suddenly stop. This will be disengaging to your followers. What would happen if that person left your organisation?”

Keep your posts regular and interesting


Tweeting 9 to 5 won’t really do the job unfortunately – your members will probably be at work too and will miss your tweets. Lots of activity is on evenings and weekends so if you really want to reach people and at the peak traffic times you’ll need to think about this. A few tweets a week will quickly disengage people and too much of the same thing will too. Keep them fresh with a good mix of ‘RT’s’ that are relevant. We have witnessed some network groups Twitter followers drop significantly as tweets become less regular and are not as engaging. There are tools out there so you can write your tweets in advance and the tool will publish these at a time specified by you. Don’t forget to switch off and enjoy your you time too.

Twitter allows you to block being tagged in images that other people post. If you set up this function to block being tagged, don’t then post images tagging other accounts. No double standards. Personally, we like being tagged in images as it opens up lots of conversations, is positive for engagement and we see lots of things we may have otherwise missed.

Keep the amount of people who can access and tweet from the account to a limit of two or three people


This will ensure your tweets are controlled, of a consistent style and there is clear accountability for what you are posting. Too many people posting could result in things getting a bit disjointed and messy. Make sure you all speak to each other and keep each other updated on what you plan to be tweeting. This will avoid duplication and ensure tweets are regular. If your network covers a large geographic area, ensure you tweet things relevant to places outside of where you are based too.

Avoid only one person having access where you can as when someone is on holiday or not available to tweet you don’t want the tweets to suddenly stop. This will be disengaging to your followers. What would happen if that person left your organisation?

“Too many people posting could result in things getting a bit disjointed and messy. Make sure you all speak to each other and keep each other updated on what you plan to be tweeting.”

It’s a conversation and not just another platform for PR

It’s great to share successes, and rightly so, but don’t be seen to just be using twitter to sell your organisations products or shout about how great you are. It’s a bit of a balancing act.

It’s positive to tweet about charity events and other things that you think your followers will find interesting. Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your tweets and join in the many twitter events that take place such as #LGBTQHour, #FF (Follow Friday) and more regional focussed Twitter events. Happy tweeting!

We hope you’ve found the tips useful. Please share with anyone you think would benefit from these. It would be great to see more network groups representing all diversity strands on Twitter.

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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