9 ways for Tweeting MPs to engage with their Followers
This weekend marked my 50,000
Twitter follower. So to honour them all, Ipresent my random thoughts about how MPs (and other politicians for that matter)can better engage with their voters, critics and followers alike on Twitter.I should immediately point out that I don’t get this right all the time. And I’mdefinitely not suggesting that Twitter can or should be a constant 24/7conversation with your Followers. That just wouldn’t be practical. But I do thinkthere are specific approaches you can use to engage your Followers in a mutuallybeneficial way. So, here are 9 of them…1.
Hold your own “Twitterthon”
Every now and then I’ll make a series of posts in quick succession about aspecific issue or policy area. I’ll intersperse these by responding to peoplewho are commenting on my posts as I go along. In the process you canquickly find that you’ve engaged an audience of several thousand postersvery quickly. The whole thing takes 10 to 15 minutes.It’s what I call an impromptu Twitterthon and my advice is to keep thempretty much ad hoc. If you take the trouble to advertise the ‘event’ inadvance then you’re sure to attract organised resistance or “Twitter trolls”.2.
Offer exclusive content released only on Twitter
One great thing about Twitter is that you can use it to release informationthat’s not available elsewhere. An inside scoop or late breakingdevelopment in your constituency or policy area. And for some reason journalists seem to love reporting that such and such used their Twitter feedto let followers know XYZ piece of news.Depending on the size of your current following, you may of course need to‘tip off’ an interested journalist to actually notice your Tweet in the firstplace.3.
Build expectation and excitement
I’ve also found that Twitter can be a great way of creating a buzz around aparticular activity. This past weekend I knew that I’d be announcing the12winningPortas Pilot High Street bids. Given that 371 Towns had applied Iknew that folks would be anxiously awaiting news. And whilst I knew thatthe traditional media would cover the results, none of them were likely toflag up precisely when to expect them. I was able to turn to Twitter andusing just one or two Tweets ensure that – via reTweets – everyone whomight want to know could find out about the anticipated announcements. Itcreated a mini online buzz.4.
Aim for reTweets
reTweets, as mentioned above, are in fact an excellent measure of youronline ‘reach’. When you write something truly interesting, others will