I admit, I’m not an expert on social media. I didn’t go to school to study it, but I have been on Twitter for 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days*. I’ve followed people and companies alike, and have seen a lot of tactics that companies and individuals have employed in promoting themselves. These are my thoughts on tips for using Twitter more effectively for promoting yourself or an event. If you disagree or agree, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments- mostly because there are no rules for Twitter Etiquette right now. Everyone has a different idea, and it’d be nice to discuss it openly as an internet community.
Using Twitter is easy. You can send a quick missive out into the ether and it’s so easy to keep following up. But at some point in time, you might wonder if you’re crossing over from having a frequent presence on Twitter to being in danger of spamming those who follow you.
One of the Twitter users I follow is Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago). Yes, the film critic. Due to surgeries to remove cancer from his throat and jaw, he no longer has the use of his voice. So, he tends to use Twitter to publicly converse. And he tweets a lot. Sometimes it seems the only thing that stops him from tweeting is sleep, and occasionally it seems as though he doesn’t sleep much. He’s an interesting fellow, but tends to tweet a lot. I’d say he was on the verge of spamming, but the man doesn’t have a voice. I won’t deny him the ability to converse with the world. But, odds are, you have a speaking voice. So people likely won’t grant you the same exception.
I follow Disneyland’s Twitter Account (@Disneyland). Fairly recently, they’ve stepped into social media. They have a blog for the two resorts, as well as Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for them as well. Typically, @Disneyland would post 2-4 times a day. Mostly trivia, links to their blog posts as well as tweets about upcoming events. Tonight marks the beginning of their new nighttime show World of Color (at Disney’s California Adventure). In the week leading up to it, they began tweeting 4-8 times a day. Which is still acceptable. Works out to about 1 for every business hour of the day. Yesterday, in leading up to the Opening Ceremony and special premiere (complete with blue carpet), they tweeted around 20 times prior to the Blue Carpet beginning. Trivia about the show mostly, and a couple reminders about their webcast of the event. Then, they tweeted the Blue Carpet as well as livetweeted the Opening Ceremony and the actual show. By the end of the day, they had posted 70 tweets, approximately 50 of which were in a 2 hour time span.
That is a lot. It went well beyond what anyone would have expected @Disneyland to tweet, even in live-tweeting.
I admit, I am not a fan of live-tweeting. I would suggest, that if you have a company with special events like this, or run a site where you cover award shows and the like- you might want to create a separate Twitter account for when you live-tweet an event. That way, you know that the people who are following that feed know to expect frequent updates when those events occur.
I do however, think that for special events, that live blogging is the way to go. That way, when you’re promoting the live event earlier in the day, you can provide the page that the live blogging will appear on and your audience will know exactly where to go. And, you can tweet some of the more interesting elements and remind your Twitter followers where you’re live-blogging. It will keep your audience interested without overwhelming them. Also, if you were planning on blogging about it, live-blogging will do most of the work for your full piece.
If you read this, Disneyland Social Media team, I am thrilled that you’ve embraced Twitter. I think it’s a great tool for the Park, but make sure you don’t overdo it. I was looking forward to seeing World of Color, but yesterday’s deluge of tweets made me wonder whether or not it was something I wanted to see right away after all. And especially since you posted pages with pictures from the World of Color Blue Carpet event as well as today’s What’s Next press event immediately after both concluded.
Now, for everyone else, how do you know if you should tweet or blog if it’s a non-event situation? For me, if I’m tweeting anything that might be a spoiler for a television show or awards show, I will post it to my blog and then post the link to my Twitter account with a spoiler warning (and one on my blog as well). If I’m tweeting your opinion on something that takes more than 280 characters to explain (2 tweets), then I’ll write a blog about it for clarity and post a link to Twitter.
*When I discovered that’s how long I’ve been on Twitter, I knew I had to share that. I used How Long Have You Been Tweeting to find out.