Lessons from the Greenpeace Group Twitter Experiment 1


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I recently came across a fascinating article detailing a Twitter experiment undertaken by the team behind @GreenPeaceUK. GreenPeace is opening up their organizational Twitter account by allowing a large number of employees to tweet directly from the @GreenPeaceUK account and reach the organizations 40,000+ followers. You can read the full article and interview here.

Sophia Cheng interviewed James Sadri, a digital campaigner at Greenpeace, to talk a little bit about the motivation and ideas behind opening up the organization’s Twitter account. How does it work when you allow employees outside of the traditional web and social media team to start handling tweeting responsibilities?

At GroupTweet, we love to see this type of thinking gain some publicity as we think Twitter accounts with multiple contributors are obviously the way to go! We think organizations everywhere should open up their Twitter accounts to a larger number of their employees. The good news? You don’t have to build your own custom Twitter application in order to perform a similar experiment to what @GreenPeaceUK is doing.

How can I try this type of experiment with my organization’s Twitter account?

By using GroupTweet, of course! If you find yourself inspired by @GreenPeaceUK’s experiment and want to try opening up your organizations’ Twitter account to a number of different employees, just come on over to GroupTweet and activate your account today!

GroupTweet can get you started in seconds with three easy steps.

  1. Activate your organization’s Twitter account with GroupTweet
  2. List your contributors
  3. Choose the way in which contributors will GroupTweet from the group account. Via hashtag (same as @GreenPeaceUK), via @Mention, or via Direct Message.
Sounds awesome, but I’m nervous to allow full Tweeting powers to a bunch of employees!

No problem! GroupTweet offers a moderation feature so you can approve each contributor’s Tweets before they are sent out. Once people get comfortable, you can whitelist certain contributors and their messages will bypass the moderation queue and be sent out instantly, whereas other contributor’s messages are still held for moderation until you decide they are ready!

Lets take a look at some of the other highlights from the interview:

What is @GreenPeaceUK doing exactly?

GreenpeaceUK’s webteam is giving up control so you get unfiltered, unchecked content from all four, idiosyncratic corners of this wonderful organisation. Which means any number of people can now instantly push out their thoughts to our 36,000+ Twitter followers.

Why would you want to open your Twitter account to a large number of employee contributors?

Currently people in the web team are translating campaign, action and fundraising content and it requires us to digest the information before pushing it out there. Now, that’s an incredibly valuable skill but at the moment we are experimenting with getting people to push the content out themselves.

What guidelines did you give your employee contributors?
  • Tweet only 2-3 times a day as a maximum.
  • Consider the timing of your tweet – check the main feed before tweeting.
  • Don’t feel like you have to tweet if you don’t have particularly interesting to report.
  • Consider all the people who know nothing about your issues, try and make what you’re saying inclusive.
  • Remember that anything you say can be quoted by the media as Greenpeace’s official line, be careful.
  • Use humour.
  • Be human.
  • You don’t always have to tweet policy, you can also tweet interesting things you’re up to and use pictures.
  • Think about what you would like to see on Twitter.
  • One technical point, if it hasn’t appeared then don’t send it again.
  • And finally, if you delete a tweet from your personal account it won’t get deleted from @GreenpeaceUK.
  • N.B. we don’t delete tweets.

GroupTweet can easily help solve several of the issues raised here. With GroupTweet’s smart scheduling feature, your organization can limit exactly how many GroupTweets are sent from your account per day as well as choose the hours of the day in which GroupTweets should be sent out. With “smart scheduler” GroupTweet will automatically space out your GroupTweet’s throughout the day so that your followers aren’t overwhelmed with too many Tweets in a short period of time!

Additionally, GroupTweet’s moderation feature also addresses several of these issues by giving people a little comfort at first knowing there is a moderator present until they prove that they can start contributing unmoderated Tweets from the organizational account.

How would you measure success?

In terms of measuring success, I think it’s important to emphasize it’s not just about improving our Twitter output, it’s also a huge internal improvement in people’s understand of using Twitter. And raising the profile of social media within the organisation is an internal objective for us…If we think people care more about what we do on social media within the organisation and they’re more involved then that will be a success as well.

We agree! The moment you open up your organizational account to various employees, is the moment they become more engaged and involved in the process. What better way to get more employees involved than allowing them to directly contribute their thoughts directly to your followers?

How’s the progress?

It’s going well, some people need a little more coaxing and there’s a capacity issue as the web team is already very busy. We’re throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, which is always good fun.

That’s why a tool such as GroupTweet is so great. Good luck getting a non-social media team member to log into Hootsuite, CoTweet or some other social media tool in order to participate. With GroupTweet, they can Tweet just how they normally would from any Twitter client they want, merely adding a simple hashtag at the end of their Tweet.

How does GroupTweet improve this process?

GroupTweet has a number of awesome features that can help improve on your experience:

  1. Message Moderation – Moderate messages from all/some contributors before they are sent out.
  2. Smart Scheduling – Automatically schedule and space out Tweets throughout the day and set upper limit on number of GroupTweets sent in any given day.
  3. Choose multiple hashtag triggers - Allows you to choose hashtags that members of your organization are already using. By designating multiple hashtags, you can configure your account so very little change in behavior is required to allow contributors to push content out themselves.
  4. Identify or Hide Contributors Names -  GroupTweet can automatically format Tweets to  include “via @contributor” either at the end or beginning of each Tweet. Additionally, you can remove the contributor attribution, so that each GroupTweet will look like any normal Tweet. Followers don’t have to know there are really 25 contributors to your account.
  5. GroupTweet via Direct Message -  Hashtag and @Mention GroupTweeting is great in most cases, however sometimes a contributor might want the message to only show up on the organization’s Twitter account and not also on their personal Twitter account. In this case, contributors can simply send a Direct Message to the GroupTweet account, and the message will only appear on the organizational timeline.
  6. No limit on number of GroupTweet accounts – Greenpeace and other organizations could activate all of their different Twitter accounts with GroupTweet and quickly add contributors to each account. Contributors can be added to any number of different GroupTweet accounts. If desired, a Tweet from one contributor could instantly by Tweeted out from several different organizational Twitter accounts effectively increasing message distribution automatically across multiple accounts.

We will be releasing more features and improving the experience even more in the coming months. So if you have any questions or feedback on how GroupTweet could work better for your organization, feel free to give us a shout! Email us at support@GroupTweet.com and we’ll be happy to chat!

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Hi, I'm , Co-Founder of GroupTweet.com. GroupTweet allows you to add multiple contributors to a single Twitter account - creating a seamless group Twitter experience. Want to learn more? Click here for some examples or reach out via Twitter, you can find me @craft_ryan

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/ MicroSourcing

    Green Peace’s Twitter experiment is fairly innovative and refreshing, since brands and  companies are often too protective of their social media account. This kind of approach enables the organization to engage more of its employees in social media.