Microblogging can be very helpful in driving traffic to your website, videos, and other content. But what exactly is microblogging? According to Webopedia, microblogging is a type of blog that lets users publish short updates. Twitter, Vine and Tumblr are a number of services that can be used to push out these short messages.
Twitter is used by 302 million monthly active users, who send 500 million tweets a day. As most of you know, each twitter message is limited to 140 characters, so every message needs to be concise and thought out. Public Health Talks (@PubHealthTalks) sponsors Twitter chat for #publichealth professionals on the first and third Monday of every month at 9pm ET. Why are there @ and # in that last sentence? Because that’s how you communicate on Twitter – check out the anatomy of a tweet and 8 Tips from #PubHT for using Twitter for health-related events:
Twitter chats are an easy and inexpensive way to communicate with the general public about public health issues. Many other groups, including the CDC (@CDCgov, #CDCchat) and ABC News’ Dr. Richard Besser, use twitter chats to talk about a wide variety of subjects. Here’s Dr. Besser himself, teaching how to join a twitter chat:
Cross-promotion with similar partners can increase your ability to reach your target audience. When talking about emergency preparedness, for example, a local health department can involve their emergency services, city officials, and organizations like the Red Cross, to tweet with them.
Have at least one moderator to make sure things don’t go too far off topic. It helps to have your topics laid out in advance and then mark the beginning of each tweet with T (for topic) or Q (for question) and a number, i.e. ‘T1: How to run a twitter chat’. Then encourage responders to use the same nomenclature to mark their questions and responses.
Always include the hashtag in your tweets. This is how your Twitter chat will be tracked. If you don’t include the hashtag, the tweets won’t show up as part of the conversation.
When responding to a question, include the questioner’s Twitter handle. Because Twitter chats moves quickly, by including each person’s Twitter handle, it will be easier to track the conversation.
Include links to helpful websites and information. You’ve drawn your audience in, give them good information to take away, and hopefully retweet.
Have you ever sponsored a Twitter chat or used microblogging to promote public health issues? Do you have tips and tricks to share? Add yours to the comments below.