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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Twitter tips for Healthcare Social Media Users

I've been using Twitter to promote this blog for about two years.  Over that time, I've learned a number of ways to expand my twitter network.
  1. Content is king, but it need not be your own.  Finding good content can be difficult, but there are a few quick and easy things you can do:
    1. Locate content sources that you can trust to provide good information to your followers, especially if access is obscure or limited.  Using twitterfeed or feedburner, use that source's RSS feed to generate tweets for you.  A couple of the content sources I use include HL7 Press releases and events, and ASTM E31 Standards activity notifications.  I'm still pushing IHE to get some RSS feeds for its content.
    2. Forward public announcements that you get e-mailed to your blog (blogger has an e-mail submission capability).  You'll have to upload or relink the graphics in those e-mails, so make sure that they don't get automatically published.  I often send IHE announcements to this blog.  Do try to keep announcements limited (I try to keep it under one a day), because you should be focusing on good content.
    3. Some announcements you get have a web link.  You can save yourself time by just tweeting that link.
    4. Use something like the bit.ly sidebar on your web browser to make it easy to tweet an interesting article you've read.
  2. Use Hash tags.  Hash tags attract audiences that aren't already following you.  Every important communication should have one to three hash tags.
    1. Live tweet an event important to your audience using the event hash tag.  I have a netbook that I like to use for this, as I find my phone difficult to tweet from, but sometimes its the only resource I have. I find that live tweeting an event using hash tags is a great way to expand your audience, especially when they want to, but cannot attend the event you are tweeting. 
    2. Attend a tweet chat.  Tweet chats are great ways to connect to new people who are interested in what you have to say, and vica versa.
  3. Leave space in your tweets for others to retweet them.  A tweet that is too long to retweet is frustrating.  Based on statistics of my own followers, I'd suggest tweets no longer than 120 characters in length if you want them easily retweeted.
  4. Engage in conversations with others.
  5. DM new followers and ASK THEM A QUESTION.  When then mention you in response, it is another way to raise your visibility (to their followers).
  6. Make Friend Friday (#FF) an opportunity to recognize new followers, and to thank those who have RT's or mentioned you during the week.  It's polite, takes just a little bit of time (with the appropriate tools), and creates loyalty.  Don't #FF the same people each week.  Find new people to recognize.

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