“140 Characters Is Plenty!” Says Fuentek’s Chief Tweeter
Having majored in creative writing with a focus in poetry, I think limitations help us communicate more clearly. So taking over Fuentek’s Twitter account seemed like a natural fit for me.
Note: For those of you who don’t know, Fuentek has gone “on the record” regarding the positive value of microblogging and other social media tools for tech transfer offices. Our insights on social media have been gathered together on our Web site. And we’ll be hosting a webinar on April 7th to share our lessons learned in a real-world technology marketing effort.
In the 6 weeks or so I’ve been tweeting for Fuentek and monitoring the feeds of technology transfer offices and innovation experts from around the world, I have come across a few things I’d like to share.
1. Understand @ replies vs. mentions. An @ reply is a way to chat directly (albeit not completely privately) with someone. If you start a tweet with @[name], only the people who follow both you and the person you’re tweeting will see it. If you want to start your tweet mentioning that person, putting a period before the @ makes it a public tweet. (More on this.)
2. Schedule your tweets. Personally, I am more likely to read (and click on) all the tweets of people I’m following if they tweet 10 times over the course of a day rather than 10 tweets all at once. So use a tool like TweetDeck to schedule your tweets so they distribute throughout the day.
3. Use hashtags. Tack a #techtransfer at the end of your tweet (or use it in the “body” of your tweet) so it will get picked up by your industry colleagues. As you market your licensing or other opportunities, use the appropriate technology-related hashtag(s). (Here’s some good info about using and finding hashtags.)
4. Retweet what you find valuable. ’Nuff said. (Well, if you need more, read this.)
5. It’s okay to lurk at first. Although proponents say you shouldn’t lurk, I think it’s okay when you’re getting started. Set up a Twitter account for yourself and find some people to follow. Besides @fuentek, we recommend:
- Fuentek staff like @khiser2010, @mccullochdd, and @jackspain (You can see more of our staff using Twitter and other forms of social media at Fuentek’s LinkedIn page.)
- Tech transfer offices like @UFOTL, @JHUTechTransfer, @ILinnovations, @ColoradoTTO, @UVAPF, and @wisystto
- Associations like @AUTM_Network, @LESUSACanada, @federallabs, and @PDMAIntl
- Sources of tech transfer news and ideas like @techtrantactics and @lindegaard
Then take 15 minutes each day just to read through the feeds that appear on your Twitter home page. You’ll start to pick up the lingo and find other people to follow. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to start tweeting yourself. (Don’t forget that Karen’s advice about keeping your online appearance professional applies to Twitter as well.)
So what about you? What tweeting insights can you share?
BTW, if you use social media—and even if you don’t—take our survey on social media practices in tech transfer. It closes March 15th, when we’ll have a drawing for a free registration to our April 7th social media webinar.
Have a gr8 wkend!
– By Nancy Pekar