Four Tips for Getting More Twitter Followers, Engagement

Mark S. Luckie takes questions at Twitter headquarters after a reception during the Online News Association conference.
Mark Luckie takes questions at Twitter headquarters after a reception during the Online News Association conference. Photo by Joe Grimm
By Joe Grimm

SAN FRANCISCO — The founder of the 10,000 Words blog who mashes up journalism and technology keeps helping others as he reinvents himself.

Mark S. Luckie took the stage at Twitter’s HQ for a reception during the recent Online New Association conference and tried to engage attendees in call-and-response Twitter training.

The evening’s tough decision was whether to go to the Facebook reception or the one at Twitter. Both were at the same time. I chose Twitter and talked to several journalists who saw the walk to the Twitter house as a nearly religious pilgrimage.

Luckie, who has worked for newspapers, Entertainment Weekly and the Center for Investigative Reporting, joined Twitter in June as manager of journalism and news. That makes him a Twittevangelist.

Later in the conference, during a panel about life beyond newsrooms, Luckie said, “No job exists for me in today’s newsroom.” On stage in his new workplace, he gave journalists four strategies for getting more out of Twitter. He packed his advice with metrics:

• Tweet your beat. (This is where he tried to get the crowd going in call-and-response. It was a listening crowd.) Luckie said journalists who post high numbers of tweets in short spans see 50 percent greater follower than what average users see.
• Use hashtags. The # followed by a keyword related to the subject of the tweet can double engagement. He cautioned about packing too many hashtags into a single tweet.
• Cite sources. Twitter research shows that naming people or brands you discuss with the @ sign, mixed with tweets that carry links, increases traffic more than sharing links alone. The gain is modest but significant.
• Share, share, share. Reader engagement can double for news accounts that share links to other sources of information.

You can find Luckie’s full report on the Twitter blog.

Joe Grimm, a consultant and adjunct faculty member of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, recruited for the Detroit Free Press, Knight Ridder and Gannett from 1990 until 2008. He now teaches at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. He has run the JobsPage journalism careers site at since 1996. Questions about careers? E-mail Joe for an answer.


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