I make it my business to pay attention to how local LGBTQ groups are using social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. It is valuable information – 80% of LGBTQ folks are using social media, but fewer than 50% of us are “out online” according to a 2013 Pew Research study. That makes it especially challenging – but important – to engage with people.
What I consider best practices on Twitter:
- Creating unique content on Twitter and Facebook. Forwarding FB posts to Twitter is a disaster and I personally rarely share those types of tweets with my 3200 followers. With a scheduling tool like HootSuite or BufferApp, it takes a few extra minutes to manage this effectively.
- Follows the 70/30 (or similar ratio) rule of giving something to followers and asking something from followers, rather than constantly posting self-promoting content. Even sharing tweets from other local LGBTQ groups is better than 100% self-promotion which becomes rather boring after a while.
- Engagement. Responding to other Twitter users, sharing, acknowledging RTs, etc. This rules out the Facebook forwarders because they rarely look at Twitter. This is akin to acknowledging donations and being polite to people who attend your events.
- Ratio of “Following” to “Followers.” Organizations and community groups should be engaging the community. If you follow less than 50% of the people who follow you, are you listening to the community or just telling us what you think we need to know?
- Use hashtags and other tools effectively. This is an art, not a science.
- Consistency – it is easy to tell when someone logs into Twitter every 2 or 3 weeks, sends a bunch of tweets and logs off again for another 2 or 3 weeks. This is like ignoring your voicemail for 3 weeks. Again, tools like Hootsuite and BufferApp make it very easy to set up tweets for a week or more at a time in less than 15 minutes.
Groups that I think meet these criteria
@PFLAGButlerCo – they have a dynamic Twitter manager who posts interesting, original content and is actively engaging the general community. They share, they use hashtags effectively and they clearly know how to use the tool. Even if you live nowhere near Butler County, you will find this a useful account to follow.
@QueerVideoVault – they raises funds to save a LGBTQ video collection and now organize screenings. QVV posts original content about their own events, but also shares some incredible gems about queer films in general. Very unique links across genres. They are also attentive to RTing other local groups, even things that are not film related but may be of interest to their followers. If you like any aspect of pop culture, this is a must follow account.
@ReelQ – the official Twitter account of the Pittsburgh LGBTQ Film Festival, this is another group that gets it very right. They share all sorts of interesting info from various queer film festivals around the world as well as actively RTing and sharing information from other LGBTQ organizations in this region.
@ErieGayNews – while their style is a bit practical, this account is a rich resource of information about queer life in Erie and nearby regions. Lots of events, meeting listings and updates as well as content from their print publication. EGN also shares information from other twitter users, has all sorts of giveaways and shares actual national news. Extra points for thanking their volunteers and readers on a regular basis.
@TCWaters – while Tom is not a group, he is a blogger and a source of valuable information. He does a nice job sharing interesting and engaging news stories and links. He shares quite a bit, both RTing and sending regular #FollowFriday tweets. He also regularly thanks people who share his information.
@GLCCPgh – Full disclosure: I am the manager of this account, but I think I practice what I preach in this case. The GLCC twitter account shares event information, info from other organizations and general LGBTQ news. The account RTs many of the regions twitter content that’s LGBTQ related.
The GLCC has compiled a Twitter list of 52 organizational accounts in Western PA. You can subscribe to the list and see all of their content. Let me know if we should add an account. There are some folks doing a good job and it is clear who is invested in Twitter (and who is not.) The great news is that it is never too late to explore how your organization can use Twitter to engage the community.
Oh, hey, you might want to follow me on Twitter right? @PGHLesbian24
Yes, I can help your organization figure some of this out. Email me if you’d like more information.