I opened a Twitter account for work last month. For HealthConnect One. I’ve been holding out for a really, really long time. Our E.D. gave me chocolate and my colleagues circulated a card for me full of Tweets. It may be an understatement to say they were happy with my choice.
As a one-woman communications shop/strategist/coach/explorer/marketer for a non-profit organization with on-the-ground partnerships in 17 states (wanna see?), I’ve held out – staunchly – for over two years. But the day finally came when I could hold out no more.
What, you may ask, triggered my change of heart?
For weeks, I’ve been poking around online, gathering ideas for how we might better engage supporters on our website. In other words: I want people who see our website to give us props and money and their undying love, to tell all their friends how cool we are, and I want these friends to give us props and money and undying love, too, and I’m searching for some good examples. Some role models. Some organizations who do this REALLY WELL. (Is that you? Please comment below!)
In my exploration, I landed on Hubspot’s Marketing Grader. “Grade your marketing,” they entice. “Make it better. Outpace your peers.” Right. Because we’re such a competitive bunch at HealthConnect One. (Not.)
All I have to do is type in the URL (the web address) for my agency’s website, and within two minutes, our 128-page website is analyzed and annotated in a 14-page report. This is automated, free, and strangely, incredibly helpful.
Sprinkled throughout our report, however, there are little tidbits like this, always with the same complaint: “We can’t find a Twitter account for your company! Seriously? Companies that use Twitter average 2x more leads than those who don’t. Don’t you want more leads?” Of course we want more leads! Can’t you tell? We have a blog, we have inbound links, we’re on Facebook and LinkedIn, our blog titles are beatifically brief, and we totally rock on keywords. But we are not on Twitter.
It was the last straw. I caved. I put us on Twitter.
Within a week, I was pulling photos from Twitter – photos from Lobby Day on Capitol Hill – and posting them to our Facebook page. They were tagged and regaled and appreciated and we had arrived! Within two weeks, our Executive Director and Program Director were participating in Twitter Parties and Chats – 140-character interactions with anyone. Seriously, anyone. You want to join that national conversation over there about sequestration? BAM. You want to talk with the President’s staff about LGBTQ students? BAM. Anyone, anytime, with an ampersand and a hashtag can be heard. For a non-profit communicator, this is like opium. Seriously. (Do I hear an “Amen!”?)
So mostly it’s me on our account, the gal behind the type, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s our E.D. , or someone else on our team. We find and tweet articles and charts and pictures and the latest news and fancy quotes. We’re following and being followed and it’s not creepy, I promise. It is addictive.
Like any good social media explorer, I first opened a personal Twitter account to test things out. I literally described myself as “hovering on the Twitter outskirts” – and during the weeks that my personal Twitter account lay dormant and my professional Twitter infatuation took hold, I acquired four followers I’ve never met without ever tweeting a thing. (And this was BEFORE I landed in the cast of Listen to Your Mother – Chicago.)
It felt a little like when I was in college and got a sassy new haircut, and suddenly these boys I’d been in class with for six months noticed me, flirted with me – and one even stopped me on the way out of class to ask with a lopsided smile, “Are you new?”
Twitter was pure gold. Sitting at my desk, it gave me a rush — like being onstage or riding fast – super fast – down the highway. But did I really need it in my down-time?
I worried: All the best writers are there, aren’t they? Did I need Twitter to take my writing to the next level – whatever that is – did I need to get out there and tweet … as myself?
But what about storytime with my daughter? Facebooking with friends? Did I have time for all of this and Twitter, too?
“Twitter for personal use… mystifies me. Facebook, you will always be my one true love,” I posted (on Facebook, of course). Here’s how my friends Sheela, Raymond J, and Linda broke it down:
- FB is like a big party at your house, Twitter is like being at a bar.
- Twitter is where you can fall in love with strangers and Facebook is where you discover some of your friends and family are terrible.
- If you have a specific topic or two you are interested in, then Twitter is a great way to meet, connect, share, and receive info on that topic with strangers.
Twitter, you confound me. You entice me. You threaten to take every hour of my day.
I am more of a homebody, really.
I tweet in the daylight hours and I’m giddy at work with the thrill of it, but at night, Facebook is still my one true love. Next to Kelly. And Miss E. And Grace. Of course. Next to – no, after – them.