Friday, November 30, 2012

How can Third Sector CEOs use social media effectively?


I had the pleasure of running a couple of group sessions at the ACOSVO Annual Conference in Edinburgh earlier this month. 

Here's the Q&A of the 3 main issues raised on the issue of how Third Sector CEOs can use social media effectively.
                                
How can I use Twitter to connect with and influence key stakeholders in my area?

You should follow people you want to hear from and those you want to connect with.

There are a few tactics you can employ to achieve this.

Firstly, Twitter can search your address book to find your existing contacts who are already on Twitter which is a good way to start out. Click on ‘Discover’ at the top of the Twitter homepage and then select ‘Find Friends’ from the boxes at the top left of the page.

The 'Activity' stream in the 'Discover' tab of Twitter also shows you which people your followers are following. Twitter also recommends people who have similar twitter networks to you.

If you attend an event which uses a hashtag e.g. #ACOSVO12), a search for that on Twitter will show you tweets from other attendees as well as a (hopefully) interesting selection of comments/observations/contributions from the day. (Likewise fans of X Factor can find likeminded souls via #xfactor, etc etc). Looking though the follower lists of other Twitter users can be a good resource in finding similar people.

Some people create Twitter lists to group similar users together. @BIGScotland has created a list of the Scottish Third Sector on Twitter which currently has 500 members from across the sector. You can either click on the button on the page to follow the list, or scroll through the list members to find individual users at you'd like to follow. Other useful lists may include @newdirect's comprehensive list of MSPs on Twitter or @stevebridger's Charity CEO list.

How can I get enough of the right people to follow me?

·         Follow them! Most Twitter users will follow back someone who follows them, especially if your Twitter profile demonstrates that you share interests/sectors/friends in common.

·         Use appropriate hashtags for events etc so that other users can find you (but please bear in mind that #overuse #of #hashtags #is #unnecessary #and #annoying).

·         Say interesting and informative things (!) that are appropriate to your audience. This can involve:
·         Sharing links to articles that you find interesting and/or useful
·         Retweeting content from others (always credit your sources)

·         Talk to people. It’s nice to be nice, so thank people who have shared a link that you found helpful. Ask questions, as everyone knows it’s flattering to be considered an expert so you might be surprised who you can get into a Twitter conversation with. 
           
How do I find time for this additional activity when I'm already so busy?

Don’t letter Twitter hoover up your time. Instead set aside a few minutes every day to catch up on what your followers are saying and thinking about what you might say to them.

I know of one CEO who only uses Twitter when on the train to and from work, and when sitting in waiting rooms or receptions for his next meeting. This approach means that he’s not using up time on Twitter when he could be doing other things in the office, but still keeps up with what people are talking about today.