NY Times, Financial Times share Twitter best practices

Thursday, 16 January 2014

As the new year rolled in, staffers from the New York Times and the Financial Times detailed how they successfully manage their flagship Twitter accounts, @nytimes and @FT.

Michael Roston, a social media staff editor at the Times, wrote a piece for the Nieman Journalism Lab (@NiemanLab) to share what worked or didn’t for the @nytimes account.

Among their findings: Play it straight in writing the Tweets.

“Readers don’t click on or retweet us when we’re being clever nearly as much as they respond to clearly stated Tweets describing the meat of the stories they point to,” writes Roston.

Another discovery was that a Twitter account for a paper of record like the Times can’t take weekends off. A story of interest during the week is likely to be of interest to readers who might have missed it once, and have more time to discover it on the weekend. It’s OK to tweet the same story more than once.

“What we found when we scheduled Tweets on Saturday and Sunday was that the average click per Tweet grew substantially,” he writes.

And as @FT reached one million followers, communities editor Sarah Laitner shared her top 10 tips for using Twitter.

Among her tips: Take into consideration when you tweet.

“It sounds simple,” she said, “but tweet at times when you know readers, both in the UK and overseas, are online so they see what you write.”

She also suggested tweeting images (including infographics, photos and charts) and tweeting stories from your archive to add context to breaking news.

Do you know of other innovative uses of Twitter? Write to [email protected].