brap is an equality and human rights charity, transforming the way we think and do equality (you can find more information about brap at www.brap.org.uk). In 2014 we provided one-to-one training on Twitter for brap’s CEO, Joy Warmington.
Joy has had a Twitter account for a number of years and been on Twitter training previously, including one-to-one training, but still did not engage with the platform due to lack of understanding and interest. We spoke to Joy about her previous experiences on training and using Twitter in order to understand why she didn’t use it. From this conversation it seemed that there were two issues, not knowing how to use Twitter, and not knowing why she would use Twitter – what do you say, and how do you say it in 140 characters?
We started by providing her with reasons why it’s good for CEOs of charities to be on Twitter, and a range of examples of great charity CEO accounts, particularly in the equality and human rights field. We sent her a list of the kinds of things that she may want to tweet about, and wrote some examples for her based on her diary from the previous week. We also set up a Twitter list for her, of accounts that tweet about things she might be interested in, not just in a work sense of accounts talking about equality, but also things she personally has a general interest in.
We then sat with her and first talked her through the basic processes of how to write a tweet, how to follow someone, how to retweet or like a tweet, and what those mean. This helped to overcome the barrier of not knowing how to use Twitter. Because we did it on a one-to-one basis, we could take as long as she needed, no pressure to stay on one thing if she got it, or rush ahead if she didn’t, it was completely at her pace.
We then showed her how to access the list we had created for her and set her a task of reading tweets from this list for five minutes a day. We’re relatively certain that she didn’t do it every day, because, as a CEO, she is busy! But, she did look at it a few times a week – in a taxi on the way to a meeting or waiting for a train. In this way, through reading tweets that she was interested in she began to learn what kinds of things people talk about on Twitter, how they do it in so few characters, and find topics that she wanted to say something about or conversations she wanted to join. This helped to overcome the barrier of knowing why she would use Twitter and what to say.
Rather than just telling Joy what to do, er showed her how to do it, that way she found out for herself and therefore understood why someone would want to use Twitter – and really that is the biggest barrier.
We then worked with her for a little while longer, suggesting things she could say about events or meetings coming up in her diary, and providing hashtags and handles to use. But after a short while we began to see tweets appearing on her page that she was just doing on her own. At that point her one-to-one Twitter training was complete!
She now has ten times the number of followers she had when we began working with her, tweets on average at least once a week, and has used Twitter to talk to funders and partners.