Using Twitter to Connect with Local Audiences

Lauren Saks from PBS Engage offers up some advice to stations looking to get started on Twitter:

If I've learned one thing from working in social media, it has been how to write clever or informational things in a very small amount of space.  See: facebook status, text message, post-it note.

Over the last year, Engage has encouraged member stations use Twitter as part of their web presence. Today I'll offer up some fresh examples of how to participate in the platform.

For those who need a quick introduction, Twitter is a web site that lets people answer the simple question "What are you doing?"  The trick is, you only have 140 characters (the length of a cell phone text-message) to answer.

Posting messages to the site takes only a few seconds.  You can also post 'tweets' from pretty much anywhere, using your web browser, text message, even  your cell phone.

If you're just getting started on the site I recommend just keeping a tab open in your web browser with Twitter open in it. Check in on the site a few times a day and post messages here and there (you can even share duties with a couple co-workers).  Start with simple messages like what's on TV that night or community events going on.  As you grow your audience, you will start to converse with individual members.

Take a look at some of the stations on Twitter right now to see how they are using the tool effectively:

PBS Engage is also active in the Twitter community.   I do my best to reply to people talking about programming and needing assistance.  I simply use to find people saying "PBS."  If I need to direct them to their local station, or a program site for more information, I will.  Otherwise I just try to converse with them casually, in hopes that they will start to follow me and read future updates.

Before you leave this blog and go do something else, visit and sign up for your station's call-letters. Even if you're not ready to start using the service; it is vitally important that you control the account name (as opposed to someone else swooping in and grabbing it).

If you need assistance or more ideas on how to use Twitter, let me know.  Find me on Twitter as @PBSEngage or @LaurenPBS.  Or the regular ways: or 703-739-5068.

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