Friday, December 19, 2014

How to start a successful Twitter chat

This is the first of a two-part information session about how to start and maintain a successful Twitter chat. Enjoy, and happy tweeting!

1. Know your audience. Do your research.
creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Singing With Light:

It is important to know who your audience is because that will help you form your questions more easily.

---Before starting your chat, ask yourself: Will my audience benefit from my chat? How?
---You want your chat to be useful and needed to attract people. If there is already a chat out there that is similar to yours, think, what would make people want to come to yours?
---How can you draw people to your Twitter chat? Giveaways, sponsorships, contests, and memorable hash tags help do this.

2. Keep it short.
Remember, you want people to share these questions on their accounts to get the word out. If you wrote 138 characters, there isn’t any room to quote your Tweet…Also, who wants to read a paragraph when questions are coming at them every 8 minutes (if your chats are like @TSMRI)? Also, you are allowed to shorten words &use symbols. If ur question is getting long, feel free 2 use symbols or shrtn words.But make sure ur question still makes sense if u shrtn words!

3. Choose a memorable hash tag.
creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by romana klee:
Whenever a brand, company, or organization uses a long and random hash tag to promote something, it often doesn’t catch on like they hoped it would. If your hashtag is something like #VictoriaGreersTwitterChatOnThursdays or #VictoriasSocialMediaChat, consider a new one. Keep in mind that the hash tag will be at the end of your Tweets and peoples’ responses. The hash tags above are 24 - 35 characters long. This greatly limits someone’s response.

Think of a hashtag that relates to your business or organization or a product/service. If your business and chat is about social media, create your hash tag along those same lines. When your audience thinks of your business, they should be able to think of your chat hash tag too. Don’t make it hard by choosing a hash tag that is unrelated to your services or business.

If you’re in New York and your chat's focus is about social media, a possible hashtag could be #SocMediaNY or #NYSocMed. If you are in Idaho and your chat's focus is about food, try #FoodID or #RecipeID. Get creative and make it memorable!(Always search Twitter to make sure that the hashtag isn’t already being heavily used).

4. Use other (heavily used) hashtags to cross-promote your chat.
When you are creating your questions, feel free to “hack a hash tag” or throw in common hash tags. Be resourceful. If there is another chat that happens on the same day/time or that has the same theme, throw their hashtag around during your Twitter chat (Just remember: there is a fine line between hash tag "hacking" and hash tag "hijacking."). If your chat is about social media, try to hash tag #socialmedia in a question. Whatever the topic is, use related hash tags. Maybe it is travel & social
media; in which case, you can use #travel or #destination. But still remember, keep your questions short and don’t #hashtag #every #single #word (it can get confusing!).

5. Scheduling platforms are your friend.
Welcome to the fast paced world of Twitter, on top of an already fast-paced world full of family, work, and school. Pre-planning and scheduling your Twitter chat questions is a lifesaver. Research several platforms and decide which one is best for you (@TSMRI currently uses @Bufferapp, and has used @Hootsuite before).

There are several choices with various pros and cons. Here is a short list of some scheduling platforms and the social networks that they schedule to:

 Everypost: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Email, Company Pages
A screenshot from

 Hootsuite: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram
 Buffer app: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+,

 For @TSMRI, we use Buffer app to schedule Thursday night Twitter chats!

 ThoughtBuzz: Facebook, Twitter

Don't forget to attend the TSMRI social media chat, which is most Thursdays at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.  Our hash tag is #txsocialmedia.  You can find out more about the chat, including upcoming topics, here.

Victoria Greer is a senior at Tarleton State University. Her major is Public Relations & Event Management with a minor in Tech Writing. She plans to graduate in May 2015. Currently, she is the Executive Social Media Coach for TSMRI and has been on the team going on 2 ½ years.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

#Throwback Thursday - Press Release focused on the First Issue of the Journal of Social Media in Society

When this article was released, we were so proud of the debut of our first issue of the Journal of Social Media in Society (JSMS). This journal is edited by Dr. Sarah Maben (Tarleton State University - Communication Studies) and Dr. Credence Baker (Tarleton State University - Education Technology (Curriculum and Instruction).

Take a look at our first major press release about JSMS:



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Taking Your Blog To The Next Level

How can YOU take your blog to the next level?
I found out how to do this by attending the Blog Elevated Conference 2014. If you ever have an opportunity to attend a blogging conference I would highly recommend attending this one.

If you’d like to read about more blogging tips, you can visit the Blog Elevated blog (
here). Check out the video and blog post
for some of the tips I picked up.

1. MAKE A PLAN.  Ask yourself these questions:

    • What goals do you wish to accomplish each week, month, year, etc?
    • What do you want to accomplish for your blog in general?
    • What are your long term goals for your blog?
    • How are you going to achieve those goals, and when do you want to have those goals achieved?
Make sure that you  have a very specific strategic plan to execute your blogging goals and be sure to set yourself deadlines. Refer back to your mission for your blog and establish clearly set guidelines to accomplish your desired blogging potential.

Additionally, use weekly and monthly planning tools, as suggested from Blog Elevated’s blog. Their tutorial on how to use an editorial calendar can help set you up on the road to success for your blog, and possibly save you time in the long run.

2. ENGAGE YOUR READERS IN DIFFERENT PLACES.  Ask yourself these questions:

    • What do your readers like?
    • What posts are creating a positive buzz from your blog, and how can you reproduce those types of posts? (use your insights and analytics to determine your growth)
    • What is trending?
    • What are your readers’ demographics?

All of these topics will allow
you to focus your content into pleasing material for your readers so that they keep coming back to your blog.

. Establish clear guidelines for working with brands and/or popular bloggers.

Frederick J. Goodall
, of Mocha Dad, h
as expressed several tips for working with brands. Make sure you’ve thought about and  know exactly what types of brand and companies you will and will not work with. 

  • Research brands and make sure their organizational goals align with your blog’s goals and mission. 
  • Avoid organizations and brands that may cause you controversy later on. For example, if you are an advocate for animals make sure the brands you’re endorsing are not testing their products on animals, and visa versa. 
  • Find organizations that support your mission and overall blogging theme. 
  • Be honest and upfront when working with brands and be sure to communicate your desired outcomes from working with them. 
  • Try not to endorse a brand that you are not familiar with. If possible, aim for a mission that is equally beneficial when working together with a brand.

  • What are some tips that you’ve learned from blogging? Are you already incorporating these tips into your blogging plan?

    Blog post contributed by Amanda Castillo Hicks of Fun In The Oven Blog. Amanda is an event planner and social media coach (intern) with the Texas Social Media Research Institute and an Adjunct Professor for Tarleton State University.
    She will be completing her MS in Management and Leadership in 2015. For more information, questions, or inquiries please contact Amanda
    directly at

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Highlights from the "Social Media Research" Chat - November 13, 2014

    Each week, we have an engaging social media chat. Here are the highlights from the "Social Media Research" chat on Thursday, November 13th at 8pm.

    These chats always challenge all attendees (including our board members and social media coaches to think outside of the box). For example, we gained a wealth of research ideas that we can add to our agenda for the Spring 2015 semester.

    Here's our Storify for Thursday, November 13th:

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    4th Annual Social Media Conference - #TagBoard Highlights! Neat Tool for Social Media Events and Twitter Chats!

    #TagBoard is a great tool for capturing event and conference tweets. It presents the tweets in a graphically pleasing format and the website also enables users to embed the tweets on their website or blog.

    Here's the link to the complete #TagBoard:

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    4th Annual Social Media Conference - Conference Book, Video Highlights, and Save the Date!

    We had such a great time at the 2014 Social Media Conference! We had 115 attendees from non-profits, cooperations, small businesses, higher education institutions, K-12 school districts, and many entrepreneurs!

    We wanted to provide a few highlights from the conference!

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Press Release - Top 10 Texas State Agencies on Twitter


    October 27, 2014

    Contact: Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards at (254) 307-1375 or

    Top 10 Texas State Agencies on Twitter

    The top 15 Texas state agencies on Twitter will be honored at the 4th Annual Social Media Conference in Fort Worth, Texas

    Fort Worth, Texas - The Texas Social Media Research Institute (@TSMRI) will present statewide social media awards (according to Klout Score and number of followers) at the 4th Annual Social Media Conference (#TXSMC14) in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, November 7, 2014. The following institutions will be honored at the #TXSMC14 Conference.

    The Top 10 Texas State Agencies on Twitter (by Klout Score):

    Historical Commission
    Office of the Governor
    Dept. of Transportation
    Dept. of Public Safety
    Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
    Education Agency
    State Bar of Texas
    Veterans Commission
    Texas Engineering Extension Service

    Continued on next page...

    The Top 10 Texas State Agencies on Twitter (by Number of Followers):

    Office of the Governor
    Dept. of Transportation
    Dept. of Public Safety
    Education Agency
    Parks and Wildlife Dept.
    State Bar of Texas
    Comptroller of Public Accounts
    Dept. of Agriculture
    Attorney General

    The top 10 Texas state agencies in each category will be honored at the 4th Annual Social Media Conference in Fort Worth, Texas at the Tarleton State University Southwest Metroplex Center on Friday, November 7, 2014. To register for the conference, please visit Representatives from the agencies listed on the “Top 10 List” are encouraged to contact for special registration code.

    TSMRI will maintain a list of state agencies and their associated Twitter accounts on their website. Please reference the TSMRI website for more information

    The following criteria were utilized to determine the top 10 Texas state agency Twitter accounts: the account’s inclusion on the “Social Media Presence” page, number of followers, and Klout (influencer) score (according to Twitalyzer). For more information about Klout scores, please visit

    The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) is located at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. The institute includes faculty, staff, and student social media researchers.


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