In times of crisis, people look up to media organisations to find the latest and credible information. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different in that respect, with reporters and media leveraging the service for sharing real-time updates on the local, national and global developments, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on different sectors of the economy, generating awareness about the importance of social distancing, and more.
Journalism and news organisations have always been important to Twitter, as they use the service to ensure access to credible information for the public-at-large.
Here are some tips and best practices for news organisations using Twitter to effectively reach out to their readers and share the latest information with them:
- Showcase your best stories via Twitter Moments: Use Twitter Moments to curate your team’s best Tweets and narrate the full story. You can also use a Twitter Moment to help audiences break down complicated FAQs so that these can serve as an easy guide to clear their doubts.
- Use Twitter Lists: You can create a Twitter List consisting of journalists and editors from your newsroom who are covering a big story. This could include all the health editors and reporters covering COVID-19, for example, or you could include a list of trusted health experts that people can follow. Don’t forget to Tweet the list out! Anyone who subscribes to your list will automatically get updates from them.
- Create Twitter Threads: Let’s accept it, sometimes a Tweet just isn’t enough. There’s so much information you want to pack in. A Twitter Thread is a simple way of doing this: just hit reply to your own Tweet and starting composing. By using Threads you can expand beyond 280 characters and add more context and updates in real-time. Your Twitter Thread can be 3 Tweets or 13, as many as you need to tell the story! For instance, you can showcase tips to optimise productivity while working from home in your Twitter thread.
- Help people hear information directly from the source: You can host virtual interviews or live chats with experts for people to ask their questions directly and get their queries addressed real-time. Go LIVE on Twitter directly and include your guest. Alternatively, you can even host and participate in the old-school yet evergreen Tweet Chats.
- Don’t feel like you have to restrict yourself to sharing one or two stories a day: People want all the information that they can get and this is the time to share as many credible, compelling news updates as you have. You can also share infographics, helpful tips, trivia and updates from across the world.
- Talk to your audience to find out what they need to hear about: Get people to weigh in on certain subjects. You can use Twitter Polls or just simply Tweet to ask people for their comments, quotes and opinions on certain stories such as the situation in their locality, topics they want more information on, etc.
- Debunk myths: Owing to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many myths circulating around. Your audiences look up to you to share the latest and accurate news with them. It is a good practice to Tweet fact-checks or Myth-busters for your readers.
- Make sure to mention other people relevant to your Tweet:Back to basics, don’t forget to include @usernames of those you’re Tweeting about, so they get tagged and are in the know about a news story concerning them. It shows that the story has credible sources and builds engagement.
- Use hashtags sparingly to spread awareness: Use hashtags that are relevant to the story you’re sharing. But only one or two, not more. They don’t really add value beyond one, maximum two.
- Pin Tweets: This is your prime digital real estate. It’s how audiences know what you care about. Be sure to pin your most important or relevant stories, or the ones that are live or in progress on to the top of your timeline, so your followers can easily discover these. You can change your pinned Tweet daily, weekly or monthly, depending on your own news priorities.
Don’t forget, you can follow some of these best practices @TwitterMedia. We will continue to work with our news partners across the board and in multiple languages here in India; we are grateful for their journalistic leadership and commitment. #StaySafeStayHome and #FlattenTheCurve