Getting started on Twitter for your school, department or on-campus organization

Recently, I met with International Programs to discuss their plans this summer to roll out a presence on Twitter and other social networks in a way that benefits their enrollment efforts. Afterward, I sent them some useful links to articles and videos that have helped me over the past couple of years to wrap my head around Twitter success and management, and I thought it might be useful to others as well.

Twitter in Plain English: Common Craft’s video is a perfect companion starting point to understanding the basics of Twitter. It explains the way Twitter works in “plain English”, and is a quick way to indoctrinate your team members if they ask you what Twitter’s all about.

Kevin Rose: 10 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers: Though I’m always cautious when someone asks me how to grow their followers the fastest (as we discussed yesterday, it’s about quality, not quantity) Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, has some great suggestions. I think the title should be “How to be more interesting on Twitter”. The article is over a year old but every point still holds true.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s Talk and Q&A at the 140 Characters Conference in April 2010: Another great video — Gary’s talk begins about 3 minutes in. His networking skills on Twitter and UStream helped Gary build his wine business into a web sensation, and helped him to get a 10-book deal with HarperCollins. Warning to sensitive souls: he has a bit of a foul mouth.

How to Run Successful Contests on Twitter: Something you might not need to focus on right at the beginning of your Twitter experiment, but once you start thinking about giveaways or other contests for your network, this information will be useful for you. Shortly, we’ll also share our experience with contests toward the end of this past school year.

Grow Bigger Ears in Ten Minutes: Chris Brogan gives some concrete steps to increase your ability to listen to what people are saying about you online — and listening is the whole point of this exercise, right? I highly recommend Chris Brogan’s blog — his thoughts on the purpose and execution of social media are spot-on.

While you’re thinking about Twitter, you also want to think about how your page will look (and tie in to the rest of your brand’s messaging and visual experience). Boston University’s Marketing & Communications group has recently created guidelines for social network icons and backgrounds.

What other articles or videos would you add to this list?

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