December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 20

Member to Member
Taming Twitter

Adding a Twitter account to your agency's social media profile can help reach more
constituents and elevate visibility for events and programs
By Linda Oakleaf, Ph.D.

M

any park and recreation agencies have a robust presence on Twitter,
but for many others, Twitter remains one piece of the social media
puzzle that is missing. Twitter can be a useful way to publicize your
agency and the good work that your staff members and volunteers are doing.
Adoption of Twitter has been growing across all age categories. As of January
2014, 19 percent of adults in the United States used Twitter, and the largest
group of those users (35 percent) is between the ages of 18 and 29, according to
data from the Pew Research Center. Twitter can be an effective way to engage
with park users.
The public nature of
tweets means it is likely
that your agency is being discussed on Twitter whether you have an
active account there or not. This
could mean that disgruntled park
visitors' needs are not being addressed, but more importantly, it
means that you are not able to reap
the benefits when users publically
praise your agency or your events.
Managed well, an active Twitter
account means that you can be
a part of the conversation instead of simply being its subject. Joining that conversation
will mean devoting agency resources to the planning and maintenance of your Twitter account. As
with other social media, it is free to
join but will cost the agency in terms
of staff time and attention.
Once you've decided to take the
plunge, you will need to make a plan
and execute it. Most Twitter users
follow many accounts and cannot
read every tweet of the accounts
they follow. Instead, users generally

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read only the most recent tweets. As
a result, you will want to keep your
tweets focused on what has happened
in the last 24 hours and what will be
happening soon. Twitter was once
mostly text-based, but the site has
been redesigned to emphasize photos
and videos. Use of pictures and video can make your Twitter feed more
eye-catching. Make sure that many
of your tweets also include pictures
and consider adding video right in
your feed. To do that, you'll need to
use Vine, a service that allows users
to record and edit six-second long
looping video clips (www.vine.co).
Implementing a Twitter strategy
takes time and effort. To ensure that
you are tweeting regularly and that
you are being purposeful about your
content, create a calendar. Determine when you will tweet reminders for event registration, opening
and closing of seasonal facilities,
and other regular reminders.
Around these important dates,
be sure to schedule other content such as photos from events
and programs, pictures of staff
members getting ready for upcoming events, photos from
your archives for " Throwback
Thursday, " quotes, giveaways,
coupons, thanks to donors or volunteers, etc. As you schedule tweets,
think about what your followers will
find interesting and worthwhile.
You will want to tweet at least once
or twice a day. Make sure that your



December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 2
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 3
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 4
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