Twitter as Town Hall: The Purely “Social” Social Media Platform
Twitter is like social media’s town hall. It’s where news happens—and not just in terms of global goings-on but also on a deeply intimate and personal level. You’ll see users from all over the world discussing (and yes, sometimes clashing over) the trending topics of the day—whether it’s the latest political controversy or the season finale of The Bachelor.
Twitter assembles this global community of ours into one place to facilitate and encourage an open dialogue. That’s why, more than any other social platform, Twitter is about engaging in authentic and thoughtful conversations.
While sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are great for content distribution, Twitter is more about those one-on-one connections. By understanding what makes Twitter unique and focusing your efforts effectively, you can vastly improve your social media strategy and bring in more quality leads from the town hall of social media.
Open a Dialogue
Twitter itself is a platform that’s constantly in motion. Trending topics change constantly based on the events of the day, and it’s easy to fall behind if you’re not paying attention. Keeping that in mind, every reply or retweet or post you make on Twitter should have forward momentum. Basically, that means that everything you say should advance the larger conversation.
You can do that by finding other Twitter users in your niche who are posting popular tweets. Comments are the lifeblood of Twitter because they keep the conversation moving, so make sure to reply to Tweets that already have a fair amount of engagement. Just make sure they’re still recent and relevant.
Once you’ve zeroed in on the tweets and topics you can contribute to, it’s time to take your place at the podium (so to speak). While Twitter is a short-form medium, that doesn’t mean you can’t capture a big idea in just a few words. It’s just a matter of making every word count. Bring up something that the poster may not have thought of, share a personal experience (one that can be summarized in a sentence or two), or connect the topic to another recent relevant event.
Whatever you do, just make sure to go into each interaction with the intention of continuing a discussion.
Don’t Be a Lame Duck
Your tweets and replies should carry weight. Talking for the sake of talking is never a good look. At best, lightweight comments make you seem forgettable. At worse, they make you seem desperate for attention.
Comments like, “Thanks for sharing!” for example, may seem nice and supportive, but they don’t help you make a connection. The same goes for replying with something negative like, “I couldn’t disagree more.” Again, you aren’t pushing the conversation forward. You’re bringing it to a screeching halt.
That’s why it’s useful to think of Twitter as a town hall. It’s a place where (ideally) people from different paths of life each get their chance to speak and add to our overall discourse, so make sure you don’t waste your chance to contribute.
Reach Across the Aisle
In the current political landscape, I’ll admit that Twitter seems to have a reputation for being combative, which for many, is certainly a turn-off from going all-in on a Twitter marketing strategy. However, that’s precisely why it’s so important to use Twitter to spread positivity and to lift up other voices in your community. Acknowledge when someone’s made some good points or added something valuable.
Think about it—what do you what to gain from your interactions? Do you want to make allies or adversaries?
Of course, there will be times when it’s necessary to “set the record straight” and offer up a counterpoint. After all, just like a real-world town hall, everyone gets a voice on Twitter, and that can make it easy for misinformation or negativity to spread. However, you can still disagree with someone in a respectful way. (Heck, they might even respect you more for bringing up something they may not have considered.)
Discussion and progression are built on disagreement. When presented with new information, we’re able to move forward, adapt, and thrive—both in society as a whole and in our individual interactions with others. Contributing to that forward momentum with thoughtful, valuable, and empathetic responses is what Twitter is all about.