Twitter is a wonderful tool to use to expand your church’s ministry, personal outreach, and professional image. Since I often start my morning out reading through Tweets, reviewing direct messages and retweets, and schedule posts for the day, I thought you might find it helpful to review these five tips for using Twitter more productively:
1) Use HootSuite. Hands down, this is by far the best Twitter application out there. I’ve used several others, and HootSuite is my favorite. There is no thin client to download on your computer, everything is accessed online in the cloud. You sign in and can schedule tweets in advance, view different “streams” for all the social identities you’d like to manage. For instance, I have two Twitter handles @ChurchTechToday and @LaurenHHunter, two Facebook accounts – one personal and one page for CTT, and a LinkedIn profile page. I can view everything in one place and post updates to any or all accounts at the same time, or schedule them separately. Please follow me if you don’t already.
2) Use lists to follow key people and organizations. I use HootSuite to do this, which is very simple to do. At the top left of the page, click “Add Stream.” Then select the profile you want to use to create a list, then click the tab “lists.” Make it private or public, it’s your choice, then add people into your list one by one. If you don’t know people’s handles, click the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the HootSuite screen, and search for company names or people’s names, then add the and type their name into the list window that is still open on your screen. Then, when you’re done, you can read this stream to read tweets from people that you really care about (rather than everyone in the world you follow). I’ve found that it’s frustrating to grow a huge Twitter following only to find that you can’t keep in touch withe the folks you really want to. Creating lists (you can create separate lists for people in different industries or categories) can help you see through the fog and make use of Twitter more easily.
One idea for using lists would be to create a list for all your church members that have Twitter handles. This way, you can easily interact with your members on Twitter without sifting through your entire list of followers.
3) Use texting for direct messages and @replies. If you want to know when people are talking to you or about you on Twitter, you can visit your Twitter profile via Twitter.com and change your messaging settings to receive text notifications whenever you are mentioned on Twitter. While this would be annoying for some folks that have tons of mentions, for others who are using this tool primarily for ministry, it can be a huge blessing to receive instant notification whenever you are being talked to or about.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of additional Twitter resources to help you decide what course of action is best for you:
- Great Insight from Scott Williams: http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/index.php?s=twitter&x=0&y=0
- Twitter Strategy from ChurchCrunch.com: http://churchcrunch.com/twitter-for-ministry-strategy-102/
- Insightful ebook on Twitter for Ministry ($10): http://brandonacox.com/twitterforministry/