10 years ago, virtually to the day, I launched the @comms2point0 Twitter account into the world. It’s become an important part of my life. As my daughter would say – Dude, that sounds a bit dramatic.
by Darren Caveney
I posted this milestone, ironically, on LinkedIn too – and got some lovely engagements as a result. See, cross-promotion on the socials can work.
What was the reason for launching it a decade ago? Well I wanted a way to learn, share, engage and promote the work of us comms people. It worked and it grew. And very quickly a community of creative communicators was born.
I was a head of comms in local government back then, and really beginning to see where social media could act as an important tool in our comms box of tricks.
My 10 years on @comms2point0 have been a joy. I have met so many great people through the platform and learned a lot along the way.
Here are my top lessons and personal reflections. Some may chime with you:
1. The numbers count (to a degree) but they don’t tell the whole story.
As a comms professional I absolutely believe that you have to be on Twitter. Why? It only has 16.5 million active UK users.
But, it punches above its weight.
I believe it’s influencial, it’s where news breaks, it’s where the media are and look for stories, it’s where politics and the issues of the day get aired. And over-and-above that it’s a news channel. All you read might not be true (Where is, by the way? Did you always get fair and accurate coverage from your local newspaper, for example?)
Think too about crisis comms situations, reputational issues and customer services opportunities and feedback from some of your customers, patients and residents.
As a comms professional I would feel bereft without Twitter.
2. I want the truth (You can’t handle the truth)
Social media – just like any other platform – can be a place full of flannel. A personal and professional lesson for me is a simple one:
Just because someone says something it doesn’t mean it’s true.
And yes – please feel free to read into that as you will.
3. Love the one you’re with
On a personal level – and in your own time – absolutely choose to spend time on the platforms you like.
Which for me means not spending any personal time on Facebook. I don’t like the values of the company and they have broken my trust in them over the years with their data breaches. Would I use it on a professional level if it helped me in a major campaign? Of course. Use the platforms like they use us.
So be nice and selective with how your surf and scroll. Or, better still, switch all the socials off outside of work and look after your mental health and wellbeing.
4. Threads are still under used
Industry research suggest engagement rates jump 150% when threads are deployed. So why are they still such a rare sight?
Well probably because it takes take to craft a really good one and so many teams are still be stretched to the limit right now.
But if some of your campaign audience are on Twitter then absolutely try to create and use threads in your work. They are a brilliant opportunity for effective storytelling.
Who does it best? Many people but go look at the many examples the talented team at Doncaster Council have created.
5. We still don’t ask enough questions
I’ve reviewed over 1k organisational accounts now and it’s an absolute observation – and a bit of a generalism – that we’re still a bit too broadcast. We have lots to share so we share lots. That’s understandable.
But when we ask questions on Twitter – either via a Poll or with a straight forward question to gain qualitative responses – engagement rates increase. Think about it – when was the last time anyone asked you a question? We like to be asked, it makes us feel like our opinions matter.
So, we should all try to weave more questions into our day-to-day Twitter posts and into our more strategic campaign work.
6. Relationships have been forged on Twitter
Remember when we used to meet IRL at events? It was always nice to put a face to a @Twitter handle.
Now we do it via Zoom and Teams.
But for sure Twitter is still a brilliant place to create networks and build relationships.
I have done this with countless people – some just people to chat with informally, others have become customers for my consultancy work and training workshops. Some have gone on to become friends. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.
7. Where do people look first?
Google you and or your organisation and see where your @Twitter profile comes in the results. High up in the search results is the answer for most.
So from a search and find perspective your Twitter profile is, as the Americans would say, valuable real estate.
8. Know your analytics inside out
What do they tell you about your trends, what works, what doesn’t, what you should try more of and where your gaps are?
When was the last time you checked out your Twitter analytics?
I just looked at mine for @comms2point0 today.
So, I know, for example, that this month so far I’ve had 7,482 profile visits and just short of 900k Tweet impressions. Yes, just numbers. But it gives me a sense that engagements and activity for July are in a good place.
9. Keeping up to date
One of the biggest challenges for us all is keeping pace with the changes on social media. Algorithm changes, new enhancements, new platform entrants. If you have a day job to deliver it’s almost impossible to be aware of every single little change that happens each week across social media.
But what we can and should do is be aware of the bigger trends and opportunities. And the trick is picking and choosing where to trial, innovate and experiment.
It’s important not to jump onto every new thing – think Fleets.
But, equally, it might be worth having a little trial of say, Twitter Spaces. I tried it. Will it change the world? I doubt it, but I now know how it works and can have an informed opinion about it if asked about its potential use and benefits.
10. The power to lobby, to call out poor practice
Some people say that Twitter isn’t important because it doesn’t have the numbers of, say, Facebook. Tell that to Marcus Rashford.
He lobbied the UK Government publicly and made them change tack on their decision to not feed hungry school kids. As they say, that is worth the entrance fee alone.
Big thanks to everyone who has chatted, supported and worked with me via Twitter in the past 10 years 🖤
Darren Caveney is creator and owner of comms2point0 and creative communicators ltd
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