Twitter Tips

Twitter is a great resource for sharing opinions and content but every letter counts. It’s a great way to get the attention of media and politicians.  Give it a try!

Basic Guide - Twitter best practices

The good news is there are no hard rules in social media. It is about having a unique voice, and reaching the masses directly. There are few right and wrong answers, but there are techniques and strategies you can implement to maximize your success.

  • The first step to tweeting successfully is establishing a strong profile. Choose your twitter handle (the @name) wisely. When others are tagging you in their tweets, that is what they will use. Using your name is recommended. Do not create multiple accounts for multiple purposes, when that can be avoided. It is far better to have 300 followers on one account than 100 followers on three accounts. You want to concentrate efforts wherever you can. A single account for a candidate (rather than a personal account and a political account, separately) is ideal. Just be sure that everything on it is appropriate for political purposes. Ridings can have their own account/handle, run by the EDA.

  • Now it’s time to get to the fun part. The most important element in successful tweeting is that you want to stay interesting! You always want to stay on-brand and relevant to your audience, but try to never be predictable. This means to vary your content, sources, posting times, caption styles, imagery, etc. Each tweet should have something unique and different to offer. Otherwise, why would anyone retweet it? You have to give them a reason.

  • Retweets are the key - Your goal is to tweet something so interesting that your followers will want to retweet it. Likes and Comments are nice, but without retweets, you will only reach your own circle (of people who have already followed you). Retweets expose your tweets to new audiences with multiple degrees of separation (your audience’s friends, and their friends, etc.). That is the key to spreading the word.

  • The best way to share information is by tweeting information from third parties, such as media stories. They provide credibility to the unique points you want to make. If you are retweeting something, it is always a good idea to add a comment, with your own catchy take. That means the tweet that appears in your followers’ feed is yours, rather than someone else’s, and when it is retweeted, you are the one seen, rather than just the account you retweeted. Give people a reason to follow YOUR account, not the account whose post you are retweeting. The best posts tend to follow this process (but remember, there are no rules):

    1. This is a fact, as stated by this reliable, independent source of information

    2. This is the unique perspective I/we have to offer in relation to this fact

Note that you are not regurgitating information, nor making a statement without a reliable claim. The combination of both, the reliability, and the unique perspective are what gives the tweet its power.

  • Always ask yourself, who is your audience and what is your goal? Is the goal to reach a new audience? To reinforce ideas among your existing audience? To gain support for a movement, or attendance at an event? Is the post for a younger audience? A female audience? All of these and many more are appropriate goals, but they will be most effective with different tones, content, imagery, etc. Be sure to pay attention and constantly think about those goals. It is perfectly fine to target segments of the potential audience with posts, as long as the proper adaptations are made to make the targeting effective, and that not too much time is spent reaching the same audience. (I.e. Targeting your existing audience is a good thing, but preaching to the choir without appealing at all to the people you haven’t convinced yet, or reached, is not an ideal strategy).

  • Very important: always take a moment to stop and review your tweet. Reflect on it. Social media does move very quickly, and the timing of your response is important, but there is always an extra moment to make sure you are making an appropriate statement. Before every tweet, ask yourself, “If I were a person who disagreed with this, what would I say?” If it seems like something unpopular and easy to refute, even if you believe you are correct, it is less likely to be a successful tweet. Tweets should have built-in credibility (such as information from a third party). When in doubt about the effectiveness of a tweet, reflect on it and make a judgment call. When in doubt about the appropriateness of a tweet, do not tweet it.

  • Try not to pay too much attention to comments. This is a very common mistake. More comments, both good and bad, are a good thing. If all comments are positive, you are likely preaching to the choir, which means you are not reaching new audiences. With new audiences comes skepticism, and with that, come healthy criticisms. Feel free to block or report anything you deem inappropriate (crude, insulting, etc.), but do not be afraid of criticism. You do not want it dominating the comments, but its presence is fine. It will likely engage your more supportive audience and they will offer the positive retort for you. In general, do not comment on your own tweets. Respond to audiences with your own, new tweets (i.e. if a post criticizing a trade deal receives lots of negative feedback from free trade proponents, post something separately, the next day, providing more detail as to why certain trade deals are acceptable, but that one in particular is not, for reasons x, y and z - reasons that go beyond simply free trade). Should you feel compelled to respond to a comment, keep it simple, friendly but professional, and end it there. Never reply a second time, especially to a criticism. Shouting matches on the internet never end well, and the likelihood of changing someone’s mind on the internet by responding to a Twitter comment is… zero. You are simply bringing more attention to the negative comments by commenting on them yourself.

  • Social media is notoriously weak for fundraising. It doesn’t hurt to try (as long as it’s not often), but rather than fundraising directly on social media, the goal should be to gain a new follower. Do not tweet other organizations’ petitions or donation requests. Your social media audience will tire very quickly of asks such as those, which means you only have so many. Be sure to save them for your petitions and direct calls to action, not someone else’s.