Tips for Using Twitter

Know Your Purpose

  • Whether you’re using Twitter to represent the voice of your entire Department or representing a smaller initiative within a Government agency, it’s always important to start with why.
  • Some common reasons as to why public sector agencies want to be on Twitter include tapping into existing conversations around similar topics and issues, driving community engagement with Government or fostering real conversations about important issues facing the community. This is an important step that should not be overlooked as it a key driver for many subsequent social media decisions.

Passions and Ideas

  • Once your Twitter profile is up and running, it’s important to develop a clear sense of what passions and ideas connect with your initiative.
  • Once you have listed approximately 3-5 core passions or ideas, you should develop a ‘white list’ of people to follow and retweet to spur on conversations.
  • It lets people in the Twitter universe know about your profile. It’s important to focus individuals and organisations travelling in similar circles because it enables the organisation to adopt a more inclusive and informed approach to understanding communities.

Learn The Ropes

  • Great social media marketing demands that you learn the ropes. This involves understanding the terminology and becoming comfortable with using it.
  • Terms like RT and hashtags should be a core part of your vocabulary and extend into the management and operations of your social media presence.




  • In order to foster the idea of a government that understands the people, it is important to also be across what is trending on Twitter. For example, social media marketing managers and other important communication functions within a Department can quickly ascertain what is trending through Twitter and where appropriate, use it as a proxy for what the public is currently thinking about.

Nurture Your Hashtags

  • Hashtags serve an important function within the Twitter universe. By understanding trending hashtags, public sector agencies are able to craft messages which already have the mindshare of the public.
  • Agencies can also create, nurture and sustain their own hashtags in order to inspire a conversation around a particular topic or event. As social media professionals, we can also leverage off existing popular hashtags to augment and build upon existing conversations taking place.


Follow First

  • Understanding Twitter etiquette is a prerequisite for social media management. One great rule is the follow first rule which is a great idea for not only keeping in touch with targeted individuals and organisations – but also is an important avenue for building and sustaining a follower base on Twitter.
  • This follower base will also benefit other social media channels and online presence initiatives through platform sharing and other techniques.

Summarise and Curate Amazing Content

  • Twitter is essentially a rapid and fast paced conversation about ideas, topics, passions, current events and more. When people elect to follow a public sector agency, it’s important for social media professionals to understand why they were ‘followed’ and then to use these insights to help tailor and guide Twitter strategies.