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Your association is using Twitter wrong – and that’s okay

Twitter LogoScanning a list of the top 100 Twitter account and you’ll find a lot of singers, actors, athletes and other celebrities. Only a handful of accounts are branded as organization accounts. Organizations that do break into the top 100 represent social media companies, news organizations, and sporting groups (while an association does come in at #60, there model isn’t something most associations could hope to replicate). Yet organizations generally spend much more time and money trying to create an engaging twitter presence. So what’s going on? Here are a few key issues most associations struggle with:

  • It’s not personal – Twitter is all about that personal connection. What did Justin Beiber eat for breakfast? Who was Katy Perry eating breakfast with? Was LeBron James wearing his hat while eating breakfast? Beyond the fact that I probably shouldn’t write blog posts before finishing my morning bagel, the issue your organization struggles with is making anything it does personal. Sure, the Supreme Court has ruled that an organization has the same rights as a person. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to post a photo of your organization picking up a spoon and dipping it into a bowl of corn flakes.
  • No 1-to-1 connection – Twitter is great at sending a quick message to someone, either personally or privately. Justin Timberlake can send a quick message of support to Charles Barkley and everyone loves it. But when it comes to your organization’s twitter account, people don’t know who’s behind the curtain. They know someone is tweeting that presumably works at your organization, but without knowing who engaging becomes less appealing. They’d much rather call or email a real person then try and reach out via twitter.
  • Inconsistent use – Most small staff associations have someone responsible for Twitter…and the website, customer service, membership renewals and the holiday party decorations. With so many responsibilities, staff don’t have time to think about creative ways to engage users. So they don’t, instead choosing to send out generic announcements, with the only thought to content being how to fit a 220 char sub in2 140 char. Unless you’re in the business of coming up with cre8ive abbreviations, it’s probably not helping you out much.

So is it worth having a company twitter account? Short answer – yes.

Even though most associations cannot afford to have a well thought out twitter strategy, having a twitter account does one thing very well – signal. It tells your members you’re aware of the latest trends and trying to use them. Even if most of your members do not have a twitter account, all have likely heard of Twitter (Twitter does have over 40 million followers on Twitter after all). And you can still use it for announcements – there are plenty of tools that will enable you to post automatically on Twitter when updating your website or other social media without having to go to Twitter. This ensures that your account has a respectable number of tweets, you’ll inevitably pick up a couple followers, and you won’t waste a lot of time trying to have the greatest Twitter feed ever. Because no matter how hard you try, you’ll probably not going to catch @taylorswift13 anytime soon, and that’s okay!

Have your own thoughts on Twitter? Feel free to share them in the comments!

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Justin Burniske

Justin Burniske

Justin serves as the Director of Enterprise Solutions at fusionSpan, bringing his experience implementing and overseeing an association management system for an education nonprofit. Additionally, he brings his positive, can-do attitude to any project on which he is working. Justin graduated from University of Maryland’s MBA program, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining fusionSpan, Justin taught middle school math and worked with education nonprofits. Also, he wants you to know he loves his family.

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