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FORUM

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 broadcastIt’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 aboutOne 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 conversationThis 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 membersOne 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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  • How did you get started representing Ning on twitter Laura? How to you get to the point of conversation & retweeting? Finding followers etc.
    • I actually ended up representing Twitter first from the Advocacy side (some of you may remember @lauraoatning, which has since turned in to @NingAdvocacy). But I actually noticed that we weren't following some best practices — namely we were simply syndicating an RSS of the Ning Blog.

      When I started running the Ning Blog, I started running the Ning Twitter account. In general I'm more interested in hearing from Network Creators and communicating with them, then amassing a huge number of followers. I like to just look at the stream of people mentioning Ning on Twitter to find new people to follow.
  • I am here...
    • Hi Manny!

      Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to know: how to you manage to run FOUR different Twitter accounts, and keep them all interesting and relevant to their various subjects?

      -Laura
      • I find Hootsuite to be great at helping me manage multiple Twitter accounts (screenshot below):


        Depending on the kind of topic that I am tweeting about, I find it useful to tweet it from one or more of those accounts. For example:
        * @askmanny: personal tweets and retweets from the other accounts that I am particularly fond of.
        * @tudiabetes: TuDiabetes-related tweets. This pulls from multiple Twitterfeeds, but also replies to tweets to @tudiabetes and retweets relevant diabetes community-related tweets.
        * @estudiabetes: same thing... but in Spanish. Twitter has not been as useful to us in Spanish as it has in English, so we don't do too many "manual" tweets with this account.
        * @diabeteshf: this account we use mainly for tweets that are a bit more "official", pertaining the Diabetes Hands Foundation (the nonprofit that runs TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes), occasionally retweeting things form the other accounts.
        * @wddusa: this was an account a team of us set up (again, very easy to manage accounts with multiple editors with HootSuite) to help boost things in connection to World Diabetes Day in the USA this year.
        * @ningfordummies: this account is strictly focused on things related to my book and/or with Ning. Ocassionally (rarely) overlapping with the other ones.
        * @evolveartstudio: this account is used by my wife to promote her artwork.

        You gotta be topical. You gotta be relevant to people. Personal accounts can be (like people are) a bit all over the place. "Business" accounts need to be more focused, like our networks: can't be all things to all people.

        At the same time, you gotta find where to draw the line between Twitter accounts. You could create a separate account for your network's blog posts, forum topics, separate group topics, feeding via Twitterfeed on Twitter. Does it make sense? I don't think so. You will find yourself spreading yourself WAY too thin.
        • We use http://bit.ly/ too - to track clickthrough of links posted. Great service!

          Laura
          • Bit.ly is amazing! I also use the Bit.ly sidebar for "on-the-spot" tweeting (i.e. without going to Hootsuite, while being on a page) and I have my Bit.ly account connected to my @tudiabetes account. That way I can easily track which tweets have done best and figure out which ones may not make much sense tweeting and/or need to be "tweaked" to do better.
        • Wow Manny - I didn't know you managed all of those! You are a busy, busy person :)
          • LOL!

            Hootsuite makes managing multiple accounts easier.

            I also recommend getting volunteers/interns to help editing accounts (again, easy using Hootsuite) to maintain conversations with others on Twitter.
  • I wonder if any other NC's have created a Twitter List of their members?
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