How to use Twitter

Whether you’re new to Twitter – or are looking for expert tips to get even better – this section is for you.

Using your phone to capture images for social media is a quick and easy first step.
Using your phone to capture images for social media is a quick and easy first step.

As well as finding easy-to-use tools and tricks, you’ll also discover how you can use Join In’s social media community to reach new audiences.

Twitter for local sports clubs

Twitter is a brilliant way to reach potential supporters and volunteers. That’s because – unlike with Facebook – your Twitter profiles and tweets are visible to the public.

You may only have 140 characters to say everything you want, but this is actually the perfect length to share little club updates – such as upcoming events or new volunteer roles. Twitter also makes it easy to link to any blog posts or videos.

New to Twitter?

If you’re brand new to Twitter, this Twitter page for beginners ↑ will help you get started. Why not take a look at the @JoinInUK ↑ account too to see how we use Twitter.

Twitter: the basics

External Resources

Follow and be followed
On Twitter you ‘follow’ people and organisations you are interested in. They could be anyone from famous athletes to governing bodies. When you follow someone, you see what they post in your feed. In the same way, your followers will see your tweets in their feed. The more you engage with people, the more followers you’ll have.

Retweets and @replies
If someone likes a tweet, they can ‘retweet’ it to all of their followers. This is a good way to keep things interesting – as you can share a mix of your own updates and other people’s interesting posts. If you want someone in particular to see a tweet, use the ‘@’ command and the person’s Twitter name. Remember that starting your tweet with ‘@’ means that you’re speaking directly (and only) to them rather than to all your followers. (If you include anything before the ‘@’, even a full stop, your tweet will appear in all your followers’ feeds.)

Hashtags #
When people talk about an event or topic on Twitter, they often use hashtags – words preceded by the hash (#) sign. When someone clicks a hashtag or searches for the term, all of the tweets with that hashtag appear. You can use this to your advantage, particularly with hashtags for your local area. For example:

Fancy being Robin Hood for the day? Come to Westfield Archery Club, 18th Aug and become a sharp shooter! bit.ly/348748 #Swindon @JoinInUK

People searching for “#Swindon” are now more likely to see your tweet. Clever use of relevant hashtags can help you reach people who might otherwise have never found out about your event. Combine it with the Join In handle @JoinInUK to encourage your followers to follow us.

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Remember that building an audience on social media platforms takes time, consistency, creativity, patience… and a bit more time.

It’s always a good idea to build a social network that extends beyond your core club members – as there are plenty of other people who may be interested in what you have to say. The challenge is telling the 11 million or so UK users that you’re out there!
 Eoin Redahan
Eoin Redahan
Social Media Manager, Join In

Join In's top Twitter tips

How to make your mark in the Twitterverse…

  • Mind your tone. Twitter is an open and relaxed environment – and the people with the most followers tend to have an informal “conversational” style. It's a great idea to add a bit of personality and fun to your posts.
  • Use #hashtags frequently… but wisely. Hashtags connect users around a shared topic or phrase. They're a great feature but watch out for using too many hashtags in a single tweet – this can make it hard to read (and understand).
  • Smart shortening. Twitter has its own shortening tool if you're including long web links – but if you use a free service like Bit.ly↑ you’ll also generate analytics, which means you’ll know how many people clicked on a specific post.
  • Leave a little room. Yes – you have 140 characters to play with. But if you try to limit your messages to around 120 characters, your full message and name will be visible if someone retweets you.
  • Don’t just broadcast… chat. Twitter shouldn't be a one-way blast of information – it's all about connecting with other users. It's a good idea to frame your tweets to end with a question, try to create debate, and mention by @name influencers or people who mention you.
Join_In-CH-Promote-Using-phone  
  • Promote yourself. Make sure that your email signature, business cards, promotional material and presentations always display your club’s Twitter @name. Where appropriate, why not get into the habit of asking people to follow you after meetings, email exchanges or at social events?
  • Share rich media. Did you know that pictures and video are shared much more widely on Twitter than words and links alone? Roughly 60% of all social media traffic includes this kind of rich media – so remember to post photos and ask followers to share their snaps with you.
  • Decorate. Have you added a Twitter profile image and background? There are many different ways to make these attractive – including Twitpaper (free) and Twitterimage (not free but still good). Remember to fill out the ‘bio’ and ‘info’ section too, so people can see who you are at a glance.
  • Get the timing right. Peak times on Twitter are typically 9-10am and around 3pm – but if there’s a major sporting event related to your club, don’t just it watch on TV: have your Twitter account open too, and take part in the online chat. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people, increase your influence and grow your online audience.
  • Reach out. Start looking for people in your network. For example, why not connect with other clubs in your league or area? Have you identified a list of relevant bloggers and local journalists? Make an effort to engage with them – if they retweet or favourite any of your posts, it could shine a spotlight on your club.

How can Join In increase your reach?

Want to use social media to speak to new audiences? The magic phrase is ‘increase your reach’.

Join In has over 8,000 Twitter followers and over 50,000 Facebook fans, and we love to share and link our keen volunteers to active club pages. (Another great reason to keep your club page up-to-date.)

To boost your reach even more, it’s a great idea to post about your Join In club page on your social media channels. You can ask your members to share it, retweet it and spread the word across their networks. If you’re looking for new members or supporters, this is an amazingly powerful way to reach people in your community.

So what are you waiting for? Spread the word about your Join In club page – and we’ll make sure that we retweet it too.

Say a #BigThankYou

BBC Sports Personality of the Year is always a special time in the year – and in December 2014, we worked with BBC Get Inspired to create the nation’s biggest national recognition of sport volunteers. From local ‘thank you events’ to sporting heroes picking up the phone to thank local clubs, it was a great success and a lot of fun. But the most amazing part was the public reaction on Twitter. When our Patron Eddie Izzard asked the nation to thank sport volunteers live on the BBC – while presenting the Unsung Hero award – the hashtag #BigThankYou trended worldwide on Twitter.

This year, we’ll be working with the BBC yet again to make 2015 even bigger and better. Stay tuned to be part of it – and join the nation in thanking your incredible volunteers.

Need a social media superstar at your club?

If you’re struggling to find someone in your club who is keen to set up and run your social media, why not use Join In?

Log in to your club page and tell potential volunteers that you need people with strong social media skills. Update your club page today.

A volunteer record?

Afewee Boxing Club in Brixton

External Resources

Why promote your Join In club page on Twitter? Just ask Afewee ABC boxing club in South London. Less than two hours after creating their club page and sharing it on social media, they had found a new volunteer.

- Read more about Afewee's volunteer match with Join In