Twitter Bootcamp Lesson 2: Signing Up

Good morning everyone! This week I am privileged to be attending Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Midwest Leadership Conference in Milwaukee, WI. With all hustle and bustle associated with attending a conference, I decided to find a “guest blogger” to take over for me this week. It wasn’t a difficult search. As a subscriber to the Nonprofit Nate blog on WordPress, I have become a huge fan of Nathan Hand and was thrilled when he agreed to step in for me. The cherry on top of this sundae is that Nate agreed to post all week on the subject of Twitter and how non-profit organizations can/should use that social media network. So, the following is a little bit more about Nathan and today’s post. Enjoy . . . and I’ll see you next week. Here is to your health! ~Erik Anderson, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC

Nathan Hand is an AmeriCorps alumnus, holds an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University, a Masters in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University. Nathan is Vice President of Development at School on Wheels, an organization helping homeless children in Indianapolis. He writes at sharing thoughts for nonprofiteers and helping visitors navigate the world of giving. For more, follow Nathan on Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to his blog!

Twitter Bootcamp Lesson 2: Signing Up

So you’ve heard enough about Twitter and you’re ready to at least sign-up and see what it’s all about.  No, I’m not going to do it for you but here are some tips to get off on the right foot.

The second in this week-long series, come back each day, subscribe via RSS or get posts via email (see right).

Your handle

Your handle is your ‘Twitter name’.  Pretend you’re a trucker. It’s what people will know you by, what they’ll click on to learn more about you and what you’ll be associated as.  You can technically change it later but it’s better not to.  10-4 good buddy.

  • Keep it real & simple – many people (myself included) select their name, see @nathan_hand.  Or some combination of their name, title, identity or descriptor. See @profsaxton, @charityideas, etc.
    Don’t use trucker language…or ’10-4′ or ‘over and out’ on Twitter.
  • Keep it short – remember that tweets are only 140 characters. The shorter your name, the more space you (and others) will have to converse.
  • Keep it clean & appropriate – people will come to know you by this. Would you want your Grandma yelling @BgKahuna in church? Maybe if you’re @BgKahuna.
  • Keep it transferable – Including your work or location can make it difficult when/if you ever change jobs or locations.  Then again, it can make you more relevant or help people understand more about you.  For example, if @NicoleWTHR ever switches stations or cities, she may need to change her name.  However, those that come across her tweets are more likely to understand she’s connected to a TV station than if she was @NicoleMisencik.

Your avatar

No, I’m not talking about the 12 ft tall blue Na’vi creatures from James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. Your ‘avatar’ is the little picture that exemplifies you on Twitter.  Brands usually use their logo. Some people use professional headshots, others crop family photos or create cartoon versions of themselves.  I really don’t think this matters a lot. HOWEVER, make sure you use it. Otherwise Twitter puts a big ugly egg there until you do – and you’ll be known as an egg-head – not to mention it’s very impersonal (the opposite of social). Remember, the pics are small, so don’t use a full-body image or group shot – you want your head/shoulders so people know what you look like or what you stand for.

Your bio

This is where the magic happens. The purpose of your Twitter bio is to let other people know who you are and why they might want to follow you. If you’re a squirrel expert or are only going to tweet about fireworks, it’s probably a good idea to say that. What makes you interesting? You’re looking for quality followers, not quantity, so be real and honest. Here’s one of my favorite posts on Twitter bios.

Your location

This is simple.  You can put the city, state you’re in. Maybe the area of the country/world you spend most of your time in. You can use it to make a statement, or just follow the norms for once. Maybe you want to be creepy and put “Psst! Right behind you!” You only have a few spaces so think hard and wordsmith wisely.

Your settings

Most of them are easy but there are a couple I think are important. Like any social media, you want to be (somewhat) responsive – meaning if a week goes by and you haven’t responded to someone who tweeted you – you’re not following the Twitter customs. So, under ‘Mobile’, set up mobile alerts for when you’re mentioned or sent a Direct Message (DM – I’ll explain soon).  That way you’ll receive a message if someone’s trying to contact you via Twitter…and you’re not lame-o. Also, go to ‘Notifications’ and determine when you want emails.  I prefer the ‘less is more’ approach to emails – you can uncheck all the boxes because we’re gonna use Hootsuite and mobile to handle it – not email.

Now you’re ready. Open Twitter in another window or tab and refer to this post as you sign up! Tomorrow – we’ll TWEET!


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