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The Human Touch Matters: What NPR’s Twitter Experiment Means for Small Business

The Human Touch Matters: What NPR’s Twitter Experiment Means for Small Business

Automation can be a beautiful thing for the small business owners. When it’s possible for technology to take over time-consuming, repetitive tasks, personnel are freed up to devote their time and attention to more profitable endeavors. But can every task be automated?

National Public Radio (NPR) took a look at the value of the human touch in social media over the course of a five day experiment. Rather than having automated systems automatically update their Twitter stream as news stories went on the air, NPR has a live staffer manually create and post Tweets and replies throughout the working day.

The result? NPR saw a 45% increase in traffic to their website from their Twitter stream. The @NPRNews account gained more than 5,000 followers – a 14% increase over the week before. Clearly, there was greater response to and engagement with Tweets created by human beings. This engagement came with a cost: the team in charge of the experiment reported that a significant portion of their day was consumed by Twitter. Monitoring a Twitter stream, composing and posting relevant Tweets, and interacting with followers can be an all-day endeavor.

Obviously, if an organization the size of NPR can’t afford to maintain a full-time human Twitter presence, the typical small business won’t be able to either. However, there are steps you can take to add a meaningful human touch to your Twitter presence:

  • Check in at least daily to respond to Tweets made to or about your company.
  • Retweet Tweets that discuss your company favorably.
  • Use a conversational, upbeat tone when composing Tweets.
  • Use images and video often: behind-the-scenes pictures help build brand loyalty!
  • Schedule some live-tweeting into your weekly routine. Consider what goes on in your business that would make a good Twitter feature – anything that would be fun and different for your customers.

Twitter’s recent reorganization makes it a much more image-driven platform than ever before. Original content continues to be highly valued, especially the humorous and thought-provoking. Ideally, you’ll want to be sharing at least 3-5 Tweets with your audience daily. Need help making this happen? Find out more about our social media management services.

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Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

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