Some of you may know my name from reading the Ning Blog, but I also run the @Ning Twitter account as part of my job as a Marketing Manager at Ning. If you and your members are posting engaging, interesting and current content on your Ning Network, chances are you want to get the word out about it — and encourage new members to join. Twitter is a simple way to push out content, and pull followers back in. If you are new to Twitter, here are four short guidelines to get you headed in the right direction.

1. Do more than broadcast
It’s easy to set up a Twitter account, and even easier to stick in an RSS feed and forget about it. The only issue with this approach? No one wants to be friends with someone who only talks and never listens or replies. Use Twitter to highlight the best of what’s on your Ning Network, but refrain from tweeting out every piece of activity. TwitterMoms, Tu Diabetes and No Depression do a great job of highlighting only the cream of the crop on their Ning Networks in addition to replying to other people and posting their content unique to Twitter.

2. Monitor what people are chatting about
One of the most useful things you can do with Twitter is monitor the conversation that’s happening online about your Ning Network. I keep a running search of all mentions of Ning going, so I can see what people are chatting about (two good programs for doing this are 1) Tweetdeck and 2) Seesmic Desktop, which actually has its own Ning Network, Team Seesmic). Once you start monitoring, you can reply, or simply get a better sense of what people are thinking and talking about.

3. Become part of the conversation
This one is obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you are caught up tweeting, searching and listening; replying to other tweets is key. If your Twitter account represents your Ning Network, reply to other tweets that cover a similar subject. MyModernMet tweets out links to content on MyModernMet, but also replies to tweets from others about design and urban lifestyle.

4. Support your members
One of the things I like to do with the @Ning account is highlight some of the amazing accomplishments of Ning Networks and celebrate the accolades Network Creators receive. You can do the same thing for your members. If one of your members tweets out an accomplishment, replying at them, or retweeting it can help get the message out about your Ning Network, while reinforcing the relationships you’ve built with your members.

From 2–3 p.m., Pacific on Thurday, Nov. 19, I’ll be hanging out on Creators and answering your questions about Twitter in the forum replies below. I’d also love to hear your advice and experiences on using Twitter to promote your Ning Network!

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Replies to This Discussion

What an awesome name.
It's done well... I guess diabetics on Twitter was too long! :P
You are so creative, Manny!
+1
I haven't created a twitter list of members. I did create twitter list for autism, and floortime autism. Twitter is great for getting the word out about issues, legislation, as well as awareness. SO I make lists that are about those topics and list on my twitter search.

I created a twitter search for our particular network. So members could look up different topics going on in the autism community. My members recently helped us get the word about dir advocacy for Calif, on twitter. Thinking back actly an application for twitter, for activism, polls and events would be perfect for whats going. It does help
How can Network Creators use Twitter to market their networks?
Poor Mager... no one touched his question yet. =(

I'll take a shot:
* Announcing upcoming events
* Sharing active conversations from the previous day
* Reacting to pertinent conversations occurring outside the network {via search feeds}
* Asking questions
* RT'ing relevant content and adding the network's hashtag (assuming you've defined a hashtag for your network to use on other distribution channels)
* Creating a Twitter List of members
I can't seem to get my head round Twitter at all. When people (like you) talk about it, it's as if they are speaking a foreign language, or quoting algebraic equations. For example:

"Announcing upcoming events."

How/where do you make these announcements? And what do you mean by "events"? Real events, or virtual events?

"Sharing active conversations from the previous day."

What the .... is an "active conversation" (as opposed to a normal conversation)?
Conversations between whom?
And why would you "share" conversations from the previous day?

"Reacting to pertinent conversations outside the network (via search feeds)..."

I have NO IDEA what this means, and I am a person with a high IQ and a university education!

"Asking questions."

Like what?

"RT'ing..."

You lost me right there. I have no idea what RT'ing means. Ditto "adding the network's hashtag". Jabberwocky. You might as well be playing a tape of a conversation in Russian. Backwards.

"Creating a Twitter list of members."

Nope. Members of what? How? Where?

I have a Twitter account. I have no idea what to do with it, or how to use it. There is no useful information on the Twitter website. Apparently we're all just supposed to know (by osmosis) how to use Twitter.
I appllied for a Tweetboard (for my site) over a week ago. Haven't heard anything more about it.
I've seen Ning networks with a Twitter tab going to a Twitter page. I have no idea how they did that.

Somebody needs to write a basic primer for people like me (and I can assure you that Twitter has exactly the same effect on many other people that it has on me). I'm not "anti Twitter". I just can't get a grip on how it works, and everything I read on the subject assumes prior knowledge.
Hi Kate,

I also became member of Twitter a few days back.

The questions raised by you are normal and everyone has to face them in the beginning. But we have to basically understand that there is something missing on our side only, because Twitter's language and culture is wide spread & thus understood by billions of its members.

About this subject, I am reading following two interesting write-ups at:

http://www.lostartofblogging.com/twitter-guide
http://www.lostartofblogging.com/

Hope they will clarify your questions also.

Happy reading & then fruitful twittering !

Thanks
RN
Hi Kate,

Second guidance (adopted by me simultaneously) is an old saying: If you wish to learn swimming, throw yourself into waters. Just avoid deep waters.

I have started following quite a few wise people on Twitter, including Laura ofcourse.

Thanks
RN
Hi Kate,

It sounds like there are two separate issues here:

1. Some of the language people use around Twitter is confusing

and

2. You aren't quite sure what to do with Twitter now that you've signed up.

To address the first, Twitter is pretty simple. You can post an update. If you like what someone else says, you can re-tweet it, which is where you'll see "RT". So, for example, I just read an interesting Huffington Post piece, so I RTed it from @Ning's account.


Twitter also recently announced a List feature, which allows you to create lists of people you follow. Again, using the @Ning account as an example, I've created a list of educators using Ning: http://twitter.com/Ning/education

To address the second issue:

As RN said, it's sort of just about jumping in. You wrote:

""Announcing upcoming events."How/where do you make these announcements? And what do you mean by "events"? Real events, or virtual events?"

All you would need to do, is get a link to an event you've posted on your Ning Network, and then add that link to a tweet! That's it! No secret steps here, or things I'm not mentioning; it really is as simple as simply using a link to an event in your tweet.

I would also suggest, if you are feeling confused, checking out what some other Ning Networks are doing with Twitter.

http://twitter.com/mymodernmet
http://twitter.com/neighbortweet
http://twitter.com/SwapMamas

Hope that helps!
-Laura
Hi Laura,
I forced myself to go back to the Twitter website last night (for the fifth or sixth time) to look through their tutorials, FAQs etc. again). My head is still spinning - but I still have no idea how to start Twittering. All the information seems to be predicated on the assumption that the user has already figured out how to send and receive - "tweets", is it?

Okay, look, I created a Twitter account over a month ago with the idea of using it in conjunction with my new network. So I have a twitter account, and a twitter page witrh the name of my network at the top.

Does this mean that I should now be able to send and receive tweets? Or do I have to do something else first?

The Twitter "how to" video makes it look very simple. You create an account, login to your Twitter page, and start sending tweets.

But in the video there's a text box at the top of the page. There's no text box at the top of my Twitter page. From where do I send tweets? Should there be a text box on my page?

Then there are buttons that you can install on your website. "Follow Me On Twitter" etc.
I installed one of these buttons on my website, clicked on it, and landed on my Twitter page. But there is nothing to see or do on my Twitter page! What would visitors do on my Twitter page? There are no messages (sorry, "tweets") to see, and no text box from which to sent tweets.

I just don't get it.

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