Last week, Bob Farrace, director of publications for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, asked this Twitter question on the ASAE Technology Listserv.
Are any associations out there maintaining an official association
Twitterstream? I’m considering setting one up and I’m looking for some
successful practices that will let me use it for more than “Early bird
registration ends today…” messages.
Yes. There are a bunch of associations with an official presence on Twitter. Why? See the BONUS below. In addition to the association Twitterstreams I already knew, a quick association search on Twellow pointed me to some of the most followed association Twitterstreams. Having a large number of followers does not necessarily translate into success on Twitter, but for these groups, it’s a good indication that they’re doing something right.
NTEN â€“ Nonprofit Technology Network
It’s not too surprising that one of the most effective Twitter presences comes from the Nonprofit Technology Network. NTEN mixes a conference stream with personal streams from both Holly Ross, the executive director, and Annaliese Hoehling, the membership and outreach manager. The result mixes updates of what’s hot at NTEN with personal connections to the NTEN staff. The official presence also facilitates members meeting through any one of the Twitterstreams.
09NTC, a conference presence
Holly Ross, NTEN executive director
Annaliese Hoehling, NTEN membership & outreach manager
Here are Annaliese’s thoughts on Twitter in a blogpost and a quote from her Listserv message…
We avoid the broadcast model of using Twitter at the organizational level – as individuals, Holly and I incorporate organizational announcements, questions, and other communications into our personal professional Twitter updates – we think the personal communication is what resonates on Twitter.
ALA â€“ American Library Association
Techies aren’t the only ones benefiting from Twitter. The ALA’s presence, while different from NTEN, is quite effective. ALA provides different Twitterstreams for different divisions, plus one for their annual conference and one for Valerie Hawkins, the library reference specialist at ALA. Their streams all emphasize pushing out content from their blogs and websites.
Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the ALA
Valerie Hawkins, ALA library reference specialist
Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the ALA
Reference and User Services Association, a division of the ALA
ALA Annual, a conference presence
APHA â€“ American Public Health Association
APHA uses Twitter to push messages to their members and the public, including updates on advocacy, health statistics and updates from their blogs and websites. If your association has public education in its mission, this is a good case study for you.
APHA, the main Twitterstream
National Public Health Week
APHA’s Get Ready campaign, helping Americans protect their health and prepare for pan flu and infectious disease.
More good examples from national associations
- AFCEA International’s Signal Magazine Twitterstream.
- IxDA and the Interaction08 Twitterstreams.
- NAPP News for Photoshop professionals
Good examples from state and local associations
- AIGA ID is Idaho’s professional association for design
- Doterati is Central Florida’s interactive marketing, media and technology association.
- Amanda Smith, the executive director of the Florida Borderline Personality Disorder Association
- HiMA is the Houston Interactive Marketing Association
- MACPA is the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants
- NYSCATE is the New York State Association for Computing and Technology in Education
Examples from Twitter newbies already gaining momentum
- AHCA/NCAL is the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Check out this savvy intro they did for their non-techie members.
- ASHA is the American Speach-Language-Hearing Association. Their presence is totally under the radar at this point.
- And check out the ASAE Annual Meeting Twitter presence.
What are the successful practices?
Bob is right to look for practices that go beyond sending early bird registration messages. Twitter is about adding value to your network, which means you need to provide both great content and social capital for your followers. For more content tips, check out Ben Martin’s 10 rules for association using Twitter and the Twitter tips I shared here back in July. If you focus on sharing news-worthy links, acting as a resource, and being a connector for your members and fans, you’ll have a head start on Twitter success.
BONUS: Here are a few reasons you’ll find associations on Twitter.
- Connect people around an upcoming conference.
- Promote content from your publications and blogs.
- Help people connect personally with the association’s executive director and staff.
- Reach out to the public and gather momentum for a public campaign.
- Help components connect around their common agenda.
- Build a grassroots advocacy movement.