How do you build local engagement on Twitter? (via The Buttry Diary)

Steve Buttry nails it with this post in building community engagement on Twitter. The meat of it is this:

However you find people tweeting about your community, the key to engaging them is conversation. If your Twitter feed is a one-way stream of self-promoting headlines and links, people are not likely to engage with it. But if you answer their questions, ask them how they know newsworthy information that they tweet, retweet their observations about community life, they will engage with you.

Excellent advice for anyone or any business on Twitter. He goes on to give tips for using several 3rd party tools and Twitter’s own Advanced Search.

In my experience working with small newsrooms the tools we provide have to be both comprehensive and easy to use. The staff at a small newspaper (or news site) are each handling multiple roles and the added role of managing social media may not be welcome.

At my job, I’ve deployed HootSuite to more than 30 newsrooms and am in the process of training the staff on how best to use it. It’s a deceptively simple tool that can grow with them as the staff learn more about how to use social media, and yet it lets them manage multiple social accounts at once.

HootSuite has a built-in Twitter search function with options for geocoding, boolean searches and keyword searches. During training, I instruct our news teams on how to create geotargeted searches for common local phrases, proper names, or topics and to save those searches as new columns (or ‘streams’ in Hootsuite-ese) to their dashboard.

A ‘nearby tweets’ column, á la, would be a great addition to HootSuite but I’ll definitely add it to my training program as a good site for them to visit.

Our teams are just getting their feet wet with the tools so it’s too early to tell how well the built-in search functions have worked for engagement or as an early warning system. I’d love to hear from someone who’s made good use of these features in HootSuite.

How do you build local engagement on Twitter? A Journal Register Co. editor mentioned a common challenge in a newsroom trying to master social media. How do you build an engaged audience on Twitter? My answer to the editor (expanded some as I’ve thought more about it): Engaging followers is largely a result of two factors: following people who care about your community and conversing with them. How many people follow you (and how many you follow) are not as important as identifying the peopl … Read More

via The Buttry Diary