Social Media: How to Use Twitter to Supplement Enterprise and Mass Notification

Social Media Considerations for Broadcasters

ENS TwitterMore and more enterprises are using notification systems to handle everyday messaging, emergency notifications and mass notification. Social media can play an important role in these communications, but it is important for management to understand the limits, benefits and risks.

Twitter is by far the most used social media tool for mass notification because of its popular appeal. Tweets can be very effective to communicate with employees, customers, students and other constituents as part of a multi- channel communication approach especially when combined with SMS, email and RSS feeds. Tweets are useful to broadcast facility closings, transportation delays, service interruptions etc.

Twitter can also be useful for customer engagement and promotion. Twitter offers access to an API that can easily integrate into notification systems. This makes it easy for a broadcaster to post a message on Twitter and use it just like any other communication channel. For an enterprise to use Twitter as part of their notification system they require an account. Account names start with the "@" symbol. For example, Twitter users can follow the Mutare ENS demonstration account @MutareENS.

The enterprise should encourage employees to follow their Twitter account if it will be used to broadcast notices and alerts. Followers will typically receive push notifications on their Smartphone. Messages are also available online through any web browser. To view an example, click here.

Social Media Considerations for Broadcasters

Because Twitter is a real-time information network, messages appear rapidly. Followers can retweet messages potentially amplifying the message exponentially. Broadcasters should carefully consider when to use Twitter as a medium for any particular message. Here are some things to consider:

  • Tweets are limited to 140 characters and can include hyperlinks. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Avoid confusion: Proofread Tweets before posting, use a spell check and carefully weigh the use of short hand in your messages.
  • Never post a message on Twitter your enterprise would not want broadcasted on radio, TV or the Internet. Twitter messages are public, global and instant. Twitter can help or hurt your brand so Tweet wisely.
  • Consider creating message templates in advance for events easily anticipated such as facility closing notices etc.
  • You may wish to use different accounts for emergency, marketing and non-critical communications. Followers will opt out if they view notifications as SPAM. Never use the emergency account to promote non-critical events such as the company blood drive.
  • Be sure your notification system does not have Twitter set as a default broadcast channel option. It would be career limiting to inadvertently push a confidential message through Twitter.
  • If your message is not for public consumption, consider incorporating a secure 2-way communication channel such as Vital Link as part of your notification system especially for discreet executive communications.

In the wake of Super Storm Sandy for example, NCC Media found multi-channel notification to add very real business value enabling operations to continue under very challenging conditions. "The system worked extremely well," said Seth Weingarten, Vice President of Network Technologies. "It allowed us to continue operating, reallocating resources from non-affected regions to supplement the personnel losses in the affected regions. We provided regular updates using all available methods, including integration with Twitter, which was an extra benefit."

In addition to Twitter, businesses can integrate other social media into their communications including Facebook, Chatter, LinkedIn etc. We will explore these social media channels in future articles and examine use cases.

Mutare supports communications for mass, group, individual and 2-way secure notification including its multi-function Vital Link Communication Platform. Visit http://www.mutare.com/vitallink.asp for more details.

Terms used in this article:

2-Way Secure Communication: A closed loop communication system that uses encrypted message technology on smartphones.

API: An "Application Programming Interface" is a protocol intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other.

Channel: A communication medium used in notifications systems such as email, text messaging, voice calls etc.

ENS: An Enterprise Notification System or Emergency Notification System that automates message delivery to groups and individuals using multiple communication channels.

IM: Instant Message.

SMS: Short message service, a system that enables cellular phone users to send and receive text messages.

Retweet: A tweet forwarded by a follower to their network of followers enabling messages to be amplified or "go viral".

Tweet: A short text message sent on Twitter.

Twitter: A popular social network and instant messaging system accommodating brief text messages up to 140 characters in length shared with a list of followers.

Vital Link™: A secure two-way communication system for smartphone users that delivers encrypted messages to groups or individuals within a closed loop network enabling tracking and

About Mutare

Mutare's unified messaging, smart notification and call center services help increase your sales, reduce your costs and assist with regulatory compliance. Mutare is what unified communications should be - fast, easy and guaranteed. Learn more at www.mutarehealthcare.com.