Tipping Pitches: Technology: Follow the Growth of a Twitter Account III


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Technology: Follow the Growth of a Twitter Account III

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Please follow ACS_UT and be a part of its growth!

As part of a social media test to set some ground rules going forward for the American Cancer Society Great West Division's use of Twitter, we committed to managing the @ACS_UT Twitter account on October 21. It has now been just shy of two months since that time. I wrote an entry near the end of October revealing our strategies heading in. I wrote another entry a couple of weeks later detailing our progress and challenges.

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So where are we now? You can take a look at our progress graphically. I continue to update stats every few days to represent how we're progressing. But let's look at what's happening behind the scenes.

The progress is slow and steady, but noticeable when compared month over month. The ACS_UT account had 29 followers about a month and a half ago. That number is now over 100.

Lists have also become a representation of how interesting you are to your followers. Not on a list as of November 2, @ACS_UT is now on 12 lists.

Linda, who manages the account, is getting results. While the number of followers may not be all that high yet, she has productive followers -- which is what is important, after all. It's not only reflected in the lists that she is on. She is engaging by responding and retweeting others, and in return she is receiving more responses and retweets.

Twitter is a game of reciprocity. We're making a strong effort to seek out people who have an interest in American Cancer Society in Utah or who have been affected by cancer within that state. Of her 347 tweets, Linda has made 95 total @ mentions to 46 different people. The result is a more personal experience, and users who are willing to follow and share her message with their networks.

In addition to following, messaging and retweeting those affected by cancer in Utah, Linda is targeting other cancer organizations and publications in an effort to expand her reach.

Our biggest challenge right now is that we're limited to Utah. Granted, this was intentional, but it is limiting our reach, conversations, content and audience.

The growth has been somewhat slow, but we're still in the early stages. My personal account followed a similar path before suddenly spiking to 300+ followers. Given that we have only been actively managing the ACS_UT account for about two months, it's too early for any panic flags.

Our main goal is finding people in need and helping them. Limiting our search to those in Utah is limiting those we can help -- thereby limiting our audience, relationships and network.

As a result, our number of followers did recently eclipse 100, but we've been stuck there for about a week.

In Conclusion (for now)
Plenty to celebrate here as we look back on the first couple of months of this challenge. It is a challenge, after all, that many don't fully grasp when they first jump in. It's a commitment, and you can't make an assessment of value within the first few days, weeks or even months.

It takes time. But as long as the progress is continuous (if even slow), we feel good about the approach.

Should we expand our reach to the 12 states within the division or remain only within Utah? Too early to tell. This is the time of the year when there aren't many events -- particularly in Utah -- to discuss. During the spring and summer, it may be much more advantageous to focus on a single state and help engage people in ways they can get involved in the fight against cancer.

While the potential may be limited due to reach, it is still important to remain patient since we have not yet hit the magic three month mark. I believe we'll know much more at that point.

What do you think about our approach? Anything you've done, either with a non-profit or for-profit account, that we could learn from?

Please follow ACS_UT and be a part of its growth!


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