Spitfire Strategies

What @PeteGoesPunk Taught Me About Twitter

When I announced that I was taking my two teenage kids and a couple of their friends to the alt-punk-pop-metal concert extravaganza known as the Vans Warped Tour, my fellow Spitfires were eager for a real-time report on the music, fashion and happenings of the festival. Some colleagues suggested I live-blog the experience via Twitter. In the end, the two days I spent preparing and then tweeting from the Vans Warped Tour were a crash course in how to think strategically about your social media activities.

Here’s what I learned.

Know why you’re tweeting

I already have another Twitter feed, @prafle, where I say smart things about messaging, strategy, environmental issues and politics to build my profile as a communications professional. @PeteGoesPunk has a totally different mission: entertain my friends, provide an outlet for my lifelong interest in music and reinforce my own street cred as a forty-something who can still rock with the youngsters.

Have an authentic voice

The tweets that got the most attention were the ones that sounded the most like me. Make sure your posts are true to your personal or organizational brand.

Want to reach an audience? Go where the people are

One of my tweets calling out rockers Allstar Weekend was retweeted on the band’s own feed – which tapped into their base of more than 250,000 followers and was re-tweeted by people far beyond my own tiny following. Think about where you can strategically use others’ followings to reach your target audiences.

Promote yourself through other channels

Using the HootSuite app on my phone let me post all my tweets simultaneously on Facebook – sparking a whole separate set of conversations among my non-tweeting friends.

Plan ahead

It helped that I was already a follower of several of my daughter’s favorite bands and was ready to tag them in my own posts. Before I launched a single tweet, many of them had already followed me back. If I had to do it again, I’d also cue up some pre-written tweets to save typing time during the event.

Twitter is easy to do, but hard to do well. It took me only a few minutes to set up @PeteGoesPunk, and an hour or so to alert my friends and follow my kids’ favorite bands.

Tweeting live from a 150 decibel concert while keeping track of four teenagers? That was a bit harder. I plan to keep @PeteGoesPunk alive as an outlet for my rock and roll side – and I’ll use the lessons I’ve learned to make my businesslike tweets from @prafle’s even more effective.

“This is a truly transformative program and there is no question that it is preparing leaders to be courageous communicators.”

- Colleen Bailey, Executive Director, The National Steinbeck Center

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