Publicity Team Project: Social Media Command
As part of our commitment to reaching new audiences, we have both a Twitter account and a Facebook Fan Page for our group. These accounts serve in the same capacity as the Vessel Websites to not only inform and entertain our own members with information about our group, but also entice non-members to at least take a look at our website and see if they'd be interested in participating.
Participants in this project are responsible for helping define a public face for our organization. They must be sociable, cheerful, friendly, positive, and not jeopardize good publicity.
To work as a team on both Twitter on Facebook requires access to both sites as an administrator. We use HootSuite, which allows us to give access to people other than the account owner, and also provides a number of collaborative tools to make working together much easier.
Once you've been confirmed as member of this project, head to the HootSuite website and click the Sign Up button. Fill in your basic information (we recommend using your real name, in case you decide to also use HootSuite to update your own accounts!). As mentioned, you can add your own social media accounts after you start registering.
Upon completing your registration, pass on the e-mail address you used to register to Wolf, and he will then give you access to the Facebook and Twitter accounts. The next time you log in to HootSuite, you will see two new tabs available to you, each with columns.
The "ufopsb118 (Twitter)" tab
You'll find the following columns under this tab:
- Home Feed (ufopsb118): This column displays the tweet of the accounts we follow. So, for example, our account follows @BrentSpiner, the actor who played Data on TNG. When Brent tweets, we see what he tweets in this column.
- Mentions (ufopsb118): This column displays any tweet that has "@ufopsb118" in it. These are incredibly valuable for two reasons: first, because people are engaging our account, which allows their own followers to notice us; and second because if people "ReTweet" what we post, their own followers see that we've said something valuable. A ReTweet just means that someone has taken our tweet and sent it out to their own followers.
- star trek / Keyword (ufopsb118): This column searches what everyone is sending out on Twitter to see if anyone has said "star trek". This is a great source of conversation and probably our most important resource. For example, someone asked if anyone in Star Trek ever drank tea. We then responded with a tweet quoting Picard, "Tea, Earl Grey, hot!" and a link to a YouTube video. Another person picked up our response and retweeted it out to their followers.
- Other keyword columns: from time-to-time, we add, remove, and tweak the other keyword columns to find ones that are particularly relevant to our group. We want to find people who are talking about things that we can then respond-to, and thus direct them to our website.
You may find the following tabs by scrolling the screen to the right:
- Direct Messages (inbox): Here are messages from people who we are following AND who are following us AND sent us a message that only we can see. These are less valuable, mainly because they provide no publicity value. However, it's important to at least review and respond when necessary.
- Pending Tweets: This column shows any tweets that are scheduled to be sent out. It's important to review these when first logging in, just to make sure what you're sending out is not going to conflict with anything intended to be released. It is useful to schedule tweets when we've recently posted something interesting, and want to keep content coming from the account, but don't want to stack tweets too often.
- Sent Tweets: Here, you can review tweets that have recently been sent from our own account.
The "Facebook Pages" tab
This tab is somewhat sparser, and simply shows our own posts, and any pending posts, to our Facebook Fan Page.
Features of HootSuite
Take some time now to hover your mouse over one of the tweets in any column, and you'll notice how four icons pop up in the upper right-hand corner of that tweet. Let's review how these can be used:
- Reply: This is the furthest icon to the left, and appears as a curvy, left-pointing arrow. This feature creates a reply to the person who sent the tweet. Upon clicking, you'll notice that the box in the upper left-hand arrow of this screen opens "pops out" and the person's name who sent that tweet you clicked-on is inserted into the box, preceded by the @ symbol. This is how replies are sent on Twitter. You then add your message after the name and @ symbol (include one space after the recipient's name), click on the small icon to the right of the box that represents the ufopsb118 Twitter account, and click send.
- ReTweet: As mentioned above, this tool sends someone else's tweet out to all of the followers on our account. This is useful if someone posts a tweet that our followers may find interesting, and can be flattering to those people we retweet.
- Direct Message: Can only be used if someone follows us, and we don't want anyone else to see what we're messaging them.
By clicking on the small down arrow, you'll see the following options:
- Reply All: This feature is similar to "Reply", except anyone mentioned in that tweet, beyond the person who tweeted it, will also receive a "mention". For example, with the following tweet from @EnsBloggs: "Hey @BrentSpiner, great performance last night!", if you used "Reply All", the following people would automatically be inserted into our tweet: @EnsBloggs, and @BrentSpiner.
- Favorite: This marks the tweet as a favorite, and saves it to our list of favorites. If someone says something flattering about our account, or about our group, click this!
- Send to E-mail: Not useful for our purposes, but pretty self-explanatory.
- Assign to: This features all you to mark a tweet as something we want to respond-to, but perhaps someone else on the team might be better for. Generally, you should as quickly as possible to anyone who tweets something interesting, but if someone else would be a better resource, assign it to their account and they will be notified to follow-up.
Posting new content that is not a response to others is quite easy. Simply click on the white box in the upper left-hand corner of the page, and the posting box will expand. Type your text into the box, taking note of the small gray box counting down a number from 140. Tweets, specifically, can only be 140 characters long, so you'll need to do a little creative editing to make longer phrases fit. (If your phrase is too long, try cutting out vowels, substituting & for "and", using shorter synonyms.
Below the text box is another white box, to the left of the button titled "Shrink". Enter a URL into this box, and click that "Shrink" button, and HootSuite will substitute your URL with a URL from their shortening service, cutting down on the number of characters the URL uses. If someone clicks on their shortened link, it will automatically redirect them immediately to the link you wanted people to see.
Other buttons along the bottom of the text box allow you to add images (which HootSuite will link-to for you), allow you to schedule the tweet for later posting, save the tweet as a draft to work on later, and then to send it now.
Be sure to click on the icon, to the right of the box, which represents the ufopsb118 account, to ensure it goes to the right place. A small green check will appear inside the icon when it has been selected.
Posting to Facebook
You can also post to the Facebook Fan Page from the same box as a Tweet. Just make sure to click on the Facebook Fan Page icon to the right of the posting box.
Note: posts to the Facebook Fan Page will automatically be tweeted-out, as well, even if you did not select to post to Twitter. The two accounts are linked, and anything sent to Facebook will post to Twitter, but things you post to Twitter will NOT post automatically to Facebook. Thus, if you plan to post something to both accounts, post it instead to Facebook, and it will also end up on Twitter.
What to Post
Take some time to review tweets that have already been sent out, before diving in. Review the keyword streams and look for interesting content that other people are talking about. Acquaint yourself with how other people interact, by watching those we follow and the keyword streams, to see what types of content that people respond to.
No matter what, stay positive. Avoid talking negatively about people, other shows, or specific Star Trek content. Remember that you are a representative of our group while using this account, and that our primary goals is to attract people to our organization and get them interested in joining us.
When the opportunity strikes, provide tweets that answer questions, provide interesting content, and give people something to talk about. Here's a good example of a quality interaction:
- @mightleaf: User asks if anyone on Trek ever drinks tea. Of course, Picard is well known for this!
- Our response: Not only does the tweet answer the question directly with an amusing quote, but it also links to a humorous and timely YouTube video compilation of Picard asking for tea at the replicator.
Our response was retweeted at least three times within just a few hours, reaching dozens if not hundreds of people. While it certainly doesn't guarantee us any actual views on our website, it does get our name out there and provides the opportunity for people to look at our Twitter account page, and then link to our website.
Don't be afraid to seek-out questions; create a poll using twtpoll (you can even post our "Poll of the Week" from the forums onto twtpoll); and post funny videos, links or images. Always feel free to post about internal works of the group, like character promotions, new ships, etc.
Social Media Resources
Feel free to add links that you find.