If you haven't been paying attention to the 'Follow This Community on Twitter' button on your brand spankin' new Community on Lunch, it's time you start. These days, if you aren't on Twitter then you're not utilizing the wonder that we call 'social media' to its full potential. On Lunch, we have a beautiful feature that allows us to automatically export our content to any number of social sharing platforms.
What do I mean by "export"?
I'm glad you asked...
Anything you publish to your profile, whether it be a review, micro-review or list is searchable on the site, hosted on your personal profile, and also within the community it lives in, if any. When you complete your review you have the option of publishing that content to any number of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and a handful of sharing channels using the 'Share More' tab (pictured in one of the thumbnails just above this text). What this does is syndicates your post across several different websites so that others can read it. This ensures that all the time and effort you put into creating that post is not only valuable to Lunch members but also to people outside of the Lunch community. This is a valuable tool for information sharing and it's as simple as clicking a button. What is Twitter?
Twitter can be explained in plain English in the video below
How do I sign up for a Twitter account?
The process is very simple: First, go to the Twitter website and sign up. In order to create an account you will need a working email, and will need to agree to their Terms of Service. This is basically agreeing that you will not post highly offensive content or use the service to spam people. Now pay special attention to the part where you will select your USERNAME you will also hear people call this your Twitter "handle". This is crucial for consistency in marketing your community. When you create your Community on Lunch you are asked to assign a name to your new review website and also claim your URL by entering it into the super simple sign up module.
When selecting the name for your community you should also consider your Twitter handle, and vis versa. In some cases you may not be able to get the same name for both your Community on Lunch account and your new Twitter community. If you have already established yoru community, and the Twitter handle by the same name is already taken try to come up with a name that is similar or an abbreviated form. For example, if your Community on Lunch URL is http://www.lunch.com/JustBaseball and 'JustBaseball' is not avaiable on Twitter then 'just_baseball' would be an acceptable alternatie. Who should I be following on my Twitter community page?
Well, you should start with the people you know first. By adding your friends to your Twitter community page you will ensure that the content that you export from Lunch using your new Twitter account will be shared or in Twitter speak 'RT'd (pronounced: are Teed) among their friends. What happens here can be defined simply by, you tell one person, that person tells someone else, who tells another someone...You get the point.
When finding others to follow with your newly-created Twitter account you should start with a general search using keywords that relate to your Community on Lunch. If you are the Founder of a Green Living community it would be a good idea to enter keywords such as 'environment,' 'eco,' 'green,' 'sustainablity' and the like. What this will do is create a page where your search term is recognized in bold font within the Twitter feed. At this point it is up to you to click through Twitter handles that seem especially relevant to your community.
My piece of advice here is to take your time and follow people based on the quality of their tweets and not based on how many people are following them. This is not a race to see how many friends you can collect. You want to take your time to ensure you are following people might be interested in joining your community and will have something valuable to offer your members. You can also use Twitter directories like We Follow to find people who might be interested in joining your community. Pay special attention to their short bios, this will help you get to know them a little better before you commit to following them.
Here is a helpful Twitter online dictionary that you can refer to when you come across any abbreviations you see on Twitter that you don't understand.
Why would I want to export my content to Twitter?
By using Twitter you are tapping into an audience who is already talking about how much they love bikes, fashion, books, the environment and a million other topics, it's your job to find them and draw them in with the information being shared within your community. A wise man once said, 'Seek and ye shall find,' and he may very well have been talking about Twitter. There is no topic that is not being discussed on Twitter at any given moment.
Something to keep in mind is that on Twitter you are only allowed 140 characters or less. This means that whatever you post has to be short & sweet. The great part is that when using Lunch to export the content from your community, the website will automatically Tweet out your review in 140 characters or less, including the short link back to your community.
Isn't that blatent self promotion?
What's the fun in creating useful information online if you aren't going to share it with someone else? You may not realize it, but there are people who actually benefit from reading what you have to say.
If you still have a hard time justifying this sort of self promotion, think of it as expanding & marketing your brand. By putting this invaluable information in front of the people who matter the most you are creating community.
And while we are on the topic of self promotion (don't say I didn't warn you) I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own community on Lunch called 'Hey, That's My Bike!' - a community for people who appreciate the elegance of bike culture; a place for people to connect through their shared passion for good design as much as function when it comes to bike gear.
You can follow our community on Twitter for updates, the best in reviews, lists and general awesome conversation.
Twitter can serve as tool for Community Founders to connect with fellow enthusaists who share their passion for the topics in their Community on Lunch.
Simple Twitter searches can provide a timely list of people discussing certain topics. Sending the relevant tweeps a direct message or an @-reply to check out the content in a Community and join can help grow Community membership.