Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Twitter and SMS - Ways to Remove Barriers to Adoption of Social Media

Most people in outreach and education talk about the importance of understanding and removing barriers that prohibit people from getting to the information they want or keep people from participation.  Critical factors in most program planning involve identifying those barriers and overcoming them.  As social media use continues to grow, and platforms for networking come online, its easy to forgo accessing information or networking simply because you don't want to have to set up yet another account.  I have been remiss in mentioning one of my favorite reasons to adopt Twitter.  Twitter offers ways for people to follow your channels without ever having to have a Twitter account.  I know I talk about it, but I guess I didn't ever blog about it.

Twitter Fast Follow is a way to harness the value of texting for message delivery. When we strategize about which social platform to spend time building or ways to reach clients, we usually ask the simple question of how people are going to connect with what we have to offer?  Will it be an open website?  Will it be a social network?  When we look specifically at Twitter, there are several reasons to choose this platform and multiple ways to receive information put Twitter on top of other social networks.  Being able to receive information on a Smart/Mobile device can be the difference between which social networks you choose.  Twitter allows you to receive any or all of your Twitter information through SMS text by selecting that option inside your Twitter account.  You can change any user to be sent to your mobile device.  This is a great option if you have some users who you want to receive instantaneous information from without having to launch your Twitter app.

Twitter takes that one step farther (and a marketer would add "one step bolder") by enabling anyone to follow a Twitter user without having to have a Twitter account.  This is the perfect scenario if you have a Twitter channel that you want to promote to your users without ever having to ask them to join in your Twitter network.  Best yet, it's simple!  In your text messaging, simply type 40404 (Twitter short code) as the phone number/contact name and in the message area follow @[twitteruser].  For example, to follow the eXtension Initiative you would send a text to 40404 with the message "follow @BeGrowCreate"  (no parenthesis of course).  You get a confirmation message and Tweets from @BeGrowCreate will show up in  your text message inbox.

This small convenience becomes a great selling point on using Twitter for your work.  You can give your clients simple instructions on following your Twitter channel through their text messaging programs.  This can also help you remember to craft your messages to be timely and meaningful.  

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