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Taking Notes from NPR’s Andy Carvin

by Emily Pirraglia

26 March, 2013

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend St. Louis Public Radio’s event featuring Andy Carvin, NPR’s Senior Strategist. Carvin develops NPR’s social media strategy, and is best known for using Twitter to report news and information surrounding uprisings during the Arab Spring.

As a “news DJ,” Carvin’s discussion focused primarily on news distribution through Twitter. However, the conversation covered topics relevant to all “content DJs”: social media managers. Carvin’s insights on Twitter were recorded by tweets using the hashtag #acarvinstl—an appropriate method, given the topic.

St. Louis, NPR, Emily Black, TwitterMany businesses approach Twitter as a popularity contest determined by how many followers they receive. Measuring this metric is important to an organization’s success, but the numbers do not wholly define the engagement of your Twitter community. Engaging people online is about building relationships by listening and responding. Focusing on followers as individuals rather than numbers will produce far greater results for your brand than trying to grow your follower count at any cost.

Being Human on twitter, STL NPR, #acarvinstl, Andy CarvinSome business twitter accounts remind me of the man behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz.” You can follow them and read their tweets, but the entire time you have no idea who they really are because their content lacks a clear brand voice. No matter who you are or why you’re tweeting, it’s important to be authentic. No one wants to feel like they’re trying to have a conversation with a RSS feed.

NPR, St. Louis, Andy Carvin, Distant WitnessFor brands, Twitter offers total exposure to your audience. Social media managers have the opportunity to share news, ask for feedback and connect with customers in real-time. The downside to this constant stream of information is that maintaining relevancy becomes difficult for brands that promote a limited message. Keep your tweets engaging for your followers by linking to sources connected to your content, sharing images that give insights into your company and following hashtags related to your work. Constantly adapt and grow, and remember to always ask the right questions about your brand.

social media, media literacy, tweet, Emily Black, NPR, St. Louis, Andy CarvinTwitter is an incredible network of users sharing all types of information—some truthful, others not so much. As a social media manager, it is your responsibility to sort the authentic tweets from the false ones. Remember to always go to the source, learn any differing information and RT with caution.