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Best Practices: Twitter Pt.2

It’s here! Part 2 of our Twitter Best Practices posts. You can find Part 1 here or other Best Practices Posts here.

So in this post I thought it would be great to talk about the how. What are the tools or strategies that help when using Twitter. Obviously, this won’t be an extensive list mostly because so many others have covered it. What I’ll bring is my unique opinion and experience along with some of the practical tools that everyone from your normal Tweeter to a Power-Tweeter could use.

Usually one of the first questions you start talking about when using Twitter is what client or “app” should I use? Since the majority of people tweet from a smart phone I’ll start with app’s you can download. These are from the iOS (iPhone) perspective but most of them are on Android as well.

Twitter App – The Twitter App (free) is what most people start out on. It’s a great, simple app to use. It can be basic enough for a newbie to use and it has all the features that a Twitter elitist would want. In my opinion, there are usually to many steps to do what I want. Example, to do a basic replay requires two steps or clicks.

Echofon – Echofon (free or $2.99) has been one of my consistent favorite apps. I spent the $5 for the pro version. It’s worth it for the multiple accounts and syncing with the desktop version. I like the shortcuts it has to do different things, the themes, and it’s interface. It has always been a solid app to use.

Tweetbot – Tweetbot ($2.99) is a newer app. It’s pretty slick. With cool animations and sounds it’s like candy to the eyes and ears. It has most of the flexibility that the Twitter app and Echofon have as well. I’d recommend this app to the person who loves flashy user interfaces.

One key feature that all three of these apps have is Push Notifications. Typically, on Twitter you want to know when you get replied to. These apps will alert you of that even if you aren’t in the app itself.

Next we’ll move onto Desktop Apps. There are mainly just two that I usually recommend. But, there are also two power-user tools as well.

Twitter & Echofon both have desktop apps. They do everything you need them to do, as in the apps. Twitter is very slick looking and Echofon syncs with it’s iOS app. Those would be the two distinguishing features between the two of them.

For power users I’d recommend Seesmic or Tweetdeck. They support multiple columns, multiple accounts, and in my opinion, ugly interfaces. But, if you are a power user you are probably already using one of those apps.

For those of you on teams who may be using Twitter for your non-profit or church, there are two good options. One is CoTweet and the other is Hootsuite.

CoTweet is very expensive. It is also the better of the two platforms in my opinion. If your organization can afford it, I’d recommend it. Simple options like “who’s on duty” to receive alerts, to a extensive database keeping track of interactions. I will say that Cotweet offers a free version, but you can only load Twitter accounts. If you manage a Facebook page (which I imagine you do) and a Twitter account, this price jumps exponentially.

Hootsuite is much more affordable and includes bother Twitter and Facebook integration at that affordability. Again, the interface isn’t as intuitive but it’s easy to learn.

The key to both of these options is the team based platform. You can have multiple people represent one Twitter account or FB page. And you can do this without giving out the “master keys” (login info). Hootsuite is what I’ve been using now for about 6 months in a team environment and it’s been working well.

I want to wrap up this post there. It’s getting long enough. Maybe I’ll have to do a Pt. 3 with some other tips and tricks when it comes to using Twitter.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite tool? Android users, what’s your go-to Twitter App? 

Best Practices: Twitter Pt.1

Use it. Enough said. Just kidding, I’ll give you more then that!

Seriously though, Twitter is becoming a huge news and real time information hose right in front of our eyes. I’ve been on Twitter since 2008, so around four years and it’s been very cool to see it morph and explode. One of the interesting things to watch grow is how businesses and non-profits use it. There’s no doubt that if you run an organization there is a benefit to being on Twitter. Also, most people understand that you need to have a plan in place when using the platform.

Because there is so much to cover for Twitter I’m going to break this up over two posts. The first one being on the plan or “Why” behind Twitter and the second being on the “How” or how to use the tools available well.

Plan

Often times in churches or non-profits we have someone who learns about the effectiveness of Twitter and creates an account for the organization or someone else (A.K.A. The Person In Charge) hears about it and find the most tech savvy person on their team and deems them the Social Media Guy/Girl. While it’s exciting that these organization and ministries want to get involved with the conversation often what is missed is a plan.

Having a plan in place is extremely important. If there isn’t a plan in place typically what happens is the Twitter account get’s neglected, misused, or nothing good really comes from it. Then when it comes time to judge its effectiveness no one knows how to give results or answers. In a typical business people would probably look for the ROI (Return on Investment) and measure that by how many sales have been made through or because of the account. While sales for some companies are important, it’s a weak measure. In the case of non-profits and churches that metric doesn’t even translate.

Knowing that, here are the two most important parts of the plan to figure out first.

1) Why are we doing this? – This is extremely important to answer. It’s also important that there is a culture in your organization that understands why the Twitter account is there and what it’s used for. (That’s just a good rule for anything though.) Some of the questions to ask when working on the “Why” are “who is this account for?” and “how will it make our organization better?”. Also important to know is what your company values are and how will they be implemented into this  account.

2) What’s the win? – If you really think through these two questions you probably recognize that they are the same question, just two different ways of asking it. It’s so important to know what your win is. This comes from really understanding  what your Twitter account is all about but puts more context around it. “If we are doing what our account is about then what will that look like?” Knowing the win helps makes it a more useful tool in the long run.

These are just two building blocks for your plan. The rest is good leadership and management. Who runs it, what tools to use (I’ll cover that later), what type of content to push out. I really believe if you can get your organization understanding these first two questions of the Why and the Win then you will be on the right path.

Have you walked through this process? What challenges have you faced? Have you done this for your personal account? 

Best Practices: Facebook Pages Pt.2

A few weeks ago I wrote a post “Best Practices: Facebook Pages Pt.1“. It was more about how to setup up a Facebook Page well. I figured it’s about time to do part 2 of that post! I want to focus on the two most talked about themes when it comes to Facebook Pages. Content & Engagement. So you here you go!

1) Content - When it comes to Facebook Pages, I’m learning content is king! There are all kinds of studies on engagement and interacting with community but it all has to center around something, content. Now, when I say content I mean a little more then just posting updates about your church or organization everyday. That will be the easy thing to do. The challenge with content is to be able to figure out ways to provide information that adds value. Don’t become a commercial that fills up your followers news feed. Add content that they can interact with or even better, share! I’m as guilty with this as anyone with the pages I run. To help create some different content, take some pictures at your organizations next event. Make a video about the vision behind what you are doing or even the vision behind the page you are running! Create things that people can share with others. Every now and then it may be appropriate to share content from someone else. A blog post from an employee or a link about someone who is doing work that relates to you.

Also, when adding content to pages, make sure it is consistent with the “voice” of your organization. This might seem like a weird thing to say but it’s very important, even more so when you have multiple people who post on behalf of your organization. Things to remember with consistency, keep it simple and keep it positive. You don’t need to get all crazy with it making sure every post sounds exactly the same, but make sure it feels like your organization and what someone would expect if they interacted with you in real life.

For some other great tips on posting content check out this post on Inkling Media.

Continue Reading…

Best Practices: Facebook Pages Pt.1

Here’s the next installment of the Best Practices blog series. I figured I would try to tackle a big one! Facebook Pages.

I’ll start with this reminder. What I’ll share are what I’ve found to be the best practices in my experience. There are very many different opinions on how to run a Facebook Page, and I hope that you’ll share yours at the end of the post!

For part 1 I’ll have us look at some good tips for setting up your Facebook page.

1) Create a Page: If you are a church or non-profit looking to start a page the first thing you need to find is the “create a page” link. For some reason Facebook doesn’t put it where you’d think, but they put it at the bottom of the page. To get started, click that link!


2) Page Name: As you go through the set-up process of the page there will be a number of things to fill out. There’s one that you don’t want to mess up. The name of the page! Here’s why, after you get so many “Likes” on your page you won’t be able to change your name. This is an annoying feature. For example, one of the pages I help run changed the way it’s described itself a few years ago from “young adults” to “2osomethings”. Because of this feature I wasn’t able to take the Young Adult part our of our name out. Frustrating. So take the time to think through how you want your page named. Make sure it’s consistent with the rest of the branding for your organization.

3) Wall Tab & Default Page: Another option you have is to set the default landing page. When you are first launching a page, you probably want this to be set to “Wall”. The time you would change this is if you build a custom landing page for when people first come to your FB Page. Check out this example of a great custom FB Page. Once you set your default page then make sure you have your Wall Tab preference set to “All Posts”. If you don’t do this and someone shows up at your page they just won’t see updates from other people, they will only see the posts from your page. Some people like this, I really don’t. I love being able to see posts from other people and what they are asking/writing on your organizations wall. This is all about the conversation right?

4) Username: Once you get 25 “Likes” on your page there is a new setting made available to you. You can set a unique username for your account. Basically all this does is create a unique url for you to share with those you want on your page. So, instead of your url being www.facebook.com/pages/YourPageName/1234567898765432?sk=wall your url would be www.facebook.com/YourUserName. That’s a lot easier to share! So once you have 25 likes find that setting under basic information.

5) Your Settings: The next two things to check out are more preference based. There are two options under the “Your Settings” part of the page. The first lets you choose how your posts will show up on your page. The default is for your posts to always show up as your FB Page posts, but you can set it up to show as your personal profile. If you are the main person posting on your page, you probably want to keep this checked. The second option is notifications. What this does is notify you anytime someone comments or posts on your page wall. This is a good thing to know! The problem is that it sends it to whatever email you have linked to your personal profile. For me, that’s a personal email. I’d rather these notifications go to my work email. I actually turn this option off and use a service called Hyper Alerts. I like using that service because you can customize what you are notified about and when you are notified.

In effort to keep this post shorter we’ll stop there this time. This is enough to get you on the right step in setting up a Facebook Page. In part 2 we’ll look at setting up Admins and best practices for posting content. Obviously reading about setting up a page can be a little mundane but for some it can be overwhelming! I hope this quick run through is a help for some.

If anyone has other tips in setting up a page I’d love to hear from you. Let us know below how you like setting up a page.

Best Practices: Email Lists

I thought what better topic to start on then one that affects all of us. Email. That’s right, the thing that runs most of our lives. Most of us probably work for an organization that has email lists. These emails lists could be used to send updates, information, promotions, news, etc. to clients, customers, church members, or donators.

Here’s the problem I find: Most of the time you don’t have the permission to spam me.

I’ve found that most churches and non-profits don’t follow this best practice: Opt-In Email.

A few months ago my wife and I were at a favorite restaurant at the mall and on every table they had this form sitting there.

This restaurant is allowing me the opportunity to “opt-in” to emails about the restaurant, new menus, or specials. If my wife and I ate here all the time I would probably sign up for something like that. Now, obviously they don’t have any other way of getting my email. It’s not like they need it to order my food. But, most churches or non-profits usually gather that information from signing a slip on the weekend or by contributing financially. Then what happens? We start getting email blasts from these organizations because we are now in their database.

You may be thinking if there is really a difference from Opt-In compared to just sending emails out to everyone in your list. There is. Think of this this way. If I were going to start sending you emails 2x a week with random information that doesn’t pertain to you at all, what would you start doing when you see my email pop in your inbox? That’s right, “DELETED!”

Now, assume you’ve  opted-in for an email list. You know what to expect when that email comes in. It should be around a certain topic, interest, or product. You still might delete an email but you will probably be more likely to read what it says first.

So how do you do opt-in email? Here are some tips and tools.

First, pick a platform that you can like and use well. One that I really like is called Mailchimp. But there are literally hundreds of these types of platforms.

Second, think through creative ways to get the information you want and have it be opt-in. Have people sign up for a mailing list and do random giveaways every now and then. You can let them know the benefits of being in the know. Put places on your website where you can gather the info or allow people to text a number with their email to sign up. The possibilities are endless.

Third, be consistent and deliver on your promise. If you say you are going to email once a month, don’t start emailing every week. Trust me, people don’t need more email. Make it look nice and engaging. Make it worth their time to read. Make it beneficial for them.

I believe that if you move towards an opt-in email platform and follow these steps you’ll be doing some best practices, and you’ll see results!

I’d love to hear from you. What are some best practices in regards to email that you’ve experienced? We all get emails like this. Who do you think does it the best?

Best Practices Starting Tomorrow.

As I’ve been thinking through different posts for AdamHann.com and what (hopefully) would be most beneficial for you the reader, I’ve decided to do a series of posts called “Best Practices”. It’s pretty simple, these will be the best practices in the areas I’ll be writing about. Now you might ask what makes it a best practice. I have two criteria (as of now).

  1. It’s a generally accepted best practice.
  2. In my experience, I’ve seen the use of a certain practice come out on top.

These posts won’t come every week, but at least once or twice a month. I hope they will be a benefit to you and what you are doing! The first one will be on it’s way tomorrow morning. I’d love to hear your feedback!