Best Practices

Five beginner’s tips on how to manage your department Twitter account

Are you new to managing your department’s Twitter account? Or are you thinking of using Twitter to increase the online presence for your department/program/group? If you are completely new to Twitter, it can be overwhelming without having some knowledge and the right tools to help you start managing it. As program social media fellows, we’ve all been there. That’s why we want to share some basic yet important tips you should consider when you start creating and managing a Twitter account for your program. Our tips are more geared towards new program social media fellows at the Graduate Center of CUNY. 

— The Social Mediums

1. Create a good username for your program
Before you rush into creating a Twitter username/handle, give yourself enough time to think about the best name. Make it as short as possible and self-explanatory. Look at handles that other programs at the Graduate Center are using and try to make yours consistent with theirs, if possible. You can try out different ones and see how it looks before sending out your first tweet and following other users.

2. Follow other programs and entities at the Graduate Center
Now that you have created your Twitter username, it’s time to follow others and let them follow you. If you are unsure who to follow at first, start by following Twitter accounts of other programs, groups, and entities at the Graduate Center (e.g., GC Library, TLC, GC Digital Initiatives, etc.). You can find the list of most GC entities here. More than likely, they will welcome you and gladly follow you back. Also, getting to know what’s happening outside your program will give you some ideas about the kinds of things you can tweet about.

3. Be proactive in publicizing your Twitter
Let the members in your program follow you and be sure to follow them back to facilitate their engagement. Make an effort to attend your program’s events (e.g., regular colloquia, open house, and new students’ orientation) as much as possible and introduce yourself and the work you do. Ask the director/coordinator of your program to help you publicize the Twitter account by including its handle on event posters, program brochure or website.

4. Do research for effective tweets
You might have a lot of things to tweet for your department, such as upcoming events, news and achievements of faculty, students, and alumni of your program. Before you send out your tweets, take some time to research how other programs write their tweets for similar occasions. Write down some layouts you like or examples of catchy phrases. What you find effective or less effective should be reflected in your own tweets. Check out some general tips on how to effectively compose a tweet by using the ideal length, proper hashtags, or the right size of images.

5. Feel overwhelmed? Make plans and relax
When you first start managing your program Twitter account, you will find yourself constantly looking at the Twitter feeds, thinking about when to tweet, what to tweet, and how often you should tweet. This is normal, and it is not just you. We have all been in that situation. That’s why all social media fellows use social media management tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer. These tools will help you make plans and easily schedule tweets in advance. Once you get used to using these tools, tweeting will become much more manageable.

Happy Tweeting!

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