Twitter Bootcamp Lesson 4: Managing Twitterville

Ok, so you understand the concept, you’ve signed up and you’ve tweeted! Congratulations. Now comes the fun part. A backstage pass, behind the scenes look at my own personal Twitter management system. The 4th in this week’s series, we’re going to make sense of the neighborhood that is Twitterville.

Remember the bazillion messages we talked about in the first post? We’re going to get you set up on Hootsuite so you can filter all those tweets and only see what you want, when you want to see it – so that you can get to the holy grail of social media – appropriately engaging with the right people and not being so overwhelmed with info that you loose sight of its value.

Understanding streams

First, it’s important to understand that I only use Hootsuite for Twitter.  You can connect all sorts of social media outlets to it but I haven’t…yet.  That said, here’s how I think of streams. Take a colander from the kitchen and put it under a running faucet.  The water goes from one faucet stream to 10-100 smaller streams of water. Same concept in twitter streams – you’re using keywords and searches to separate tweets you want to see from those you don’t. As a bonus, you can lump similar streams into tabs – think of tabs as overarching categories. Hootsuite has made it pretty easy to technically set up a stream, the harder part is thinking through what all you want to see.

Read through these examples and we’ll work on your shortly.  I get a little stream/tab happy and to be honest, can’t keep up with the ones towards the end…but here’s what I have…

My tabs and streams

Tab 1 – Mine still has the default name of ‘Featured’.  I use this tab for hashtags (remember, index/topics) at conferences or when I’m using Hootsuite on my iPhone – because it’s all about the quickest access on the fly. Currently on that tab I have streams for #afpmeet, #fundchat, #SMindyNP, #ynpn, #11ntc #ynpchat and #ynpn.

Tab 2 – My second tab is titled with my Twitter name and follows (in order) my home feed, mentions, a search stream for @nathan_hand (I use this as a fail-safe/backup for mentions because hootsuite can sometimes miss mentions and it’s embarrasing/rude to not respond to peeps!), #fundchat, #bin2011, #millennialchat, #givingshow, Direct Message Inbox, Direct Message Outbox, Sent tweets.

I manage several other Twitter accounts – each account gets its own tab along with relevant streams.

Tab 3 – Titled @indysow and includes streams for Home, Mentions, search for @indysow (fail-safe), Direct Message Inbox, Direct Message outbox, Sent Tweets, Pending Tweets, and a list of those that tutor for us – ambassadors of sorts.

Tab 4 – Titled @AFPIndiana and includes streams for Home, Mentions, search for @AFPIndiana, Direct Message Inbox, Direct Message outbox, Sent Tweets, Pending Tweets and #afpmeet.

Tab 5 – Titled @Backpackattack and includes streams for Home, Mentions, search for @Backpackattack, Direct Message Inbox, Direct Message outbox, Sent Tweets, Pending Tweets

The remaining tabs are for particular subjects/topics that include streams for ‘sub-topics’.  For better or worse, I only use searches and keywords.

Tab 6 – Titled indysow – for topics related to that entity that show tweets we might care about. Streams are @indysow, “School on Wheels” (a search for our org name in quotes so it grabs those exact words), homeless, homelessness, homeless indianapolis, homeless children, homeless education, homeless youth, donate homeless, donate homelessness.

Tab 7 – Titled ‘fundraising’ – streams are fundraising, major gift, annual fund, planned giving, fundraising indiana

Tab 8 – Titled ‘nonprofit’ – streams for nonprofit, nonprofit management, nonprofit marketing, nonprofit leadership, not for profit

Tab 9 – Titled ‘marketing – streams for nonprofit marketing, social marketing, nonprofit email marketing, cause marketing

Tab 10, 11 & 12 are for ‘philanthropy’, ‘Indianapolis’ and ‘Leadership’ with streams for related sub-topics.

The advantages to tabs and streams are abundant. If you follow more than 20 or so people, the ‘home’ stream is difficult to keep up with – especially if those you follow are prolific tweeters.  Let’s work on your set-up.

 

(UPDATE: At the request of @Maggie_Stevens – here’s a screenshot of my hootsuite dashboard)

Your tabs and streams

Grab a blank piece of paper and map out the keywords and topics you want to follow, personally and professionally.  Use the bio you wrote as guidance.  Let’s say you wrote “Dir Digital Communications for Seattle Agency for the Aging. Husband, Dad, aspiring BBQ judge, runner, photographer and organic chef.”  I’d suggest,

Tab “Work” w/ streams – digital communication, social media, nonprofit email, aging, elder care, elderly, over 60

Tab “BBQ” w/ streams – BBQ, bar-b-que, BBQ judge, BBQ judging, food contest, BBQ festival, BBQ expert

Tab “Run” w/ streams – running, run, runners, marathon, fitness, 26.2, distance running

Tab “photo” w/ streams – photography, digital photography, photo composition, digital camera

Tab “chef” w/ streams – foodie, organic, chef, food network, hell’s kitchen, chef show

Use paper or a white board and map this stuff out before you set it up. The reality is that you’ve got to start somewhere. As you engage further on Twitter, you’ll learn the different hashtags and terms people use to discuss all these.  You may start out following words, and later you’ll have streams and tabs of hashtags.

So you understand Twitter, you’re set up, you’ve tweeted and now you’re managing tweets and info. Tomorrow is the big, last and most important. Engaging!

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