I remember when I first tried using Twitter many years ago. Try as I might, I couldn’t limit myself to 140 characters. I couldn’t even THINK what I could possible share with such a tiny post. What in the world can you say using only 140 characters, including punctuation & spaces? I turned to social media, asking for help & a friend, Susan M. Heim helped me. She offered me ideas for effectively using Twitter. I took her advice & still use her advice today.
The thing to remember about social media is it constantly changes. How people use it today may not be the same as it was 6 months ago. You must keep an eye on social media & evolve along with it. However, you don’t need to make yourself crazy. You just want to find the most effective ways to use social media for your group.
That being said, let’s look at Twitter. You do only have 140 characters for each post. If you need to say more, you must use multiple posts to express your message. I would seriously think twice before doing this. Twitter’s greatest feature is its brevity. Short & sweet bursts of information to create excitement & a sense of urgency.
Your group should have a Twitter account specifically for your group with a name that represents your group. Your social media person should be the one responsible for this account. She is the one adding Tweets to the page. You also want to create a hashtag # that is specific to your group. This can be a very short abbreviation of the group name. Short because you want to add it to every Tweet. Before choosing a hashtag, do a search on Twitter to be sure this isn’t a tag already being used. When someone clicks on your hashtag, only Tweets made by your group should come up. Keep trying hashtags until you have a unique one just for your group.
How & why should you use Twitter in your small group?
- Create excitement when your gathering is about to begin. Post early that your group is meeting that day. Add new posts as the meeting time draws near. Have group members add their own post on their own Twitter pages using your group’s hashtag in their post. You want your hashtag to come up frequently as your meeting time approaches.
- Share information about the lesson.
- Share photos from your gathering as the meeting is taking place. This allows other women in your area to see what they are missing. Encourage women to join you.
- Share links to your other social media sites, the Gathering Hearts site & other information.
- Have members, especially your social media coordinator, add Meerkat to their phone. Meerkat creates a streaming video that streams live & directly to Twitter. So, for example, your group is creating a craft or having a special celebration, you do a short live feed showing your Twitter followers what you do at your meetings, how much fun you have. This allows them to feel as if they are right there. Then, encourage local women to join you; encourage women in other locations to form their own groups.
You want to have Tweets added to the page throughout your meeting without it becoming a distraction. Give women a sense of your activities, a sense that they are there. Twitter has an immediacy to it that I feel other social media sites lack. Facebook is great for upcoming events & to share events that have occurred (among other things.) Twitter is great for showing what is happening RIGHT NOW!
Group member should be encouraged to create their own Twitter accounts & share info about your group. You might need to hold training to help members learn how to use Twitter, follow people, add Tweets & understand terms, like hashtag. You can have a short presentation every meeting to help them gain a better understanding.
Twitter is a great tool with many uses. Take time to discover ways it can be used to help your group grow & used to reach women with the Gospel.