Meeting face to face is still powerful – the next NFPtweetup is coming soon
Just to get it out of the way, tweetups started out as a meeting of people who would normally connect via twitter. In less than two years, whilst that core principle has remained the same, their usage has become more widespread and the impacts far more powerful. If you want to hold a conversation with lots of people, in real-time, sharing experiences and learning and involving those in the room with you as well as others online a tweetup is a powerful tool.
I have two favourite examples to share which I’m actively trying to emulate for various organisations right now. The first is NASA’s live tweetup from the International Space Station held in October 2009. Members of the public were invited to the session live with the team IN SPACE to ask questions, learn and share experiences. The twitter community followed online and got involved in the conversation. When I was a child, Skylab was the space station reported on almost daily by John Craven’s Newsround but it was so far away and I never got the chance to even think about having a chat with the astronauts and other like-minded fans. Its incredible to think that children in school today will have the opportunity to ‘meet’ and converse with people in space! For an interested audience, it doesn’t get much more engaging than that.
My second example is the title event, the NFPtweetup held in London. Event number 8 will be held on 15 September and promises to be filled with ideas and stories of how charities around the UK are using twitter and other social media to help achieve their goals. And this is my main point. As well as a great reason for like-minded people to get together, the NFPtweetup is a real-world learning experience. I’ve attended several events up to now and have been hugely impressed by the amount I’ve learned from the efforts of others. I’ve also been able to join in brainstorming sessions on where the tools can help charities in the future and share the experiences of my organisation and those I work with to add to the collective learning.
Here are just five of the things I’ve learned from previous tweetups which have been useful:
- Continually updating or creating content for social media sites isn’t in reality a problem. Every time we receive a complaint or compliment letter, update or create a new campaign, publish a new case study, win an award, write a newsletter, create a fundraising campaign, policy drive or commission research we have something to talk about. Share what you already have.
- Stories from service beneficiaries or other impacted groups always work better than our opinions in getting key messages across. This is true of all successful marketing but using twitter enables us to engage with and empower followers to tell their own stories which, over time, reinforce the reasons why others should join, support, donate etc. Especially as twitter allows us to integrate videos and pictures very easily to enrich the stories.
- Twitter, like all good marketing and communications tools, is far more powerful when integrated with other activity. Including twitter widgets within websites, emails, e-newsletters etc. gives users more opportunity to engage with you and learn about your campaign or message beyond seeing an advert or campaign pack.
- Tracking and measuring success is key to understanding what is working and helping others within your organisation understand the benefits more clearly. The benefits are tangible and Whizz Kidz shared the best example I’ve seen to date of how integrating twitter effectively has a positive effect across a range of campaign metrics. There are many free and cheap tools available and most are also easy to use so we have no excuses really…
- You get out what you put in. Like all communications activity, a one-shot message is unlikely to have any lasting impact on your audiences. When charities invest time in building relationships with the social media community, integrate twitter into other activities and ensure content is relevant, fresh and engaging, the benefits multiply exponentially.
These gems were all based on real-world evidence and freely shared. That’s why I shall be attending the next NFPtweetup and hoping to learn even more. I will also post any new ideas I pick up after the event here so watch this space…