I am a fan.
Yes, yes, you know I am a sports fan. That’s not news. No, what I am a fan of is the new Twitter video feature.
Twitter is the #1 social media platform for me. That’s where sports discussion of all kinds takes place. Mostly because that’s where sports journalists hang out to talk about and share sports news. But, there’s always been something missing to me.
Google+ is 1A. What I love about Google+ is the Hangouts On Air (HOA) feature. With HOAs, I can actually interact with and see people face-to-face on Google+. 140 characters is too limiting when it comes to getting to know people. People can easily fake who they really are on Twitter. The rise of parody accounts is an indicator of that. Communicating with someone on video allows you to get a better feel for who they are (think: body language, facial expressions).
But now we have Twitter video.
And I’m loving it.
Although it doesn’t allow for the continuous interaction between people like G+, it does allow you to go beyond the sometimes stifling 140 character limit. It takes the “engagement” factor to the next level on Twitter.
There are a few different ways I’ve already used Twitter video. I have some ideas for using it in the future too. So, I put together this list in the hopes that it will get your creative juices flowing in my Five Tips for Using Twitter Video.
1. Break news
I haven’t had the chance to use this yet, but this is probably my #1 tip on how Twitter video can be used. Authentically.
Adam Schefter is one of the most connected people in the NFL. Schefter has gained a huge following on Twitter because of the news he breaks, from NFL draft picks to coach firings to player releases/signings – Schefter is a must-follow for NFL fans. But, as Schefter’s following grew, so did parody accounts. Parody accounts that were shrewd enough to fool people with breaking news. Like this one:
At first glance, this looks like “Adam Schefter”. But, upon closer evaluation, the Twitter handle name is “Adarn Schefter”. The letter “r” and “n” together form an “m” on Twitter. The number of people (especially those of us in media) that have been fooled by this account has to be in the thousands. If media members like (the real) Adam Schefter used Twitter video to break news, the parody accounts wouldn’t be able to fool people much longer.
Example: A form of breaking news on Twitter video was used by Eastern Michigan football during National Signing Day:
— Eastern Michigan Football (@EMUFB) February 4, 2015
And, more recently, the Anaheim Ducks (h/t @njh287):
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 22, 2015
2. Talk to me
When you’re having a discussion with someone on Twitter (yes, it does happen), 140 characters just isn’t enough. If you’re talking sports with your friends, how often do you have short answers to their questions or assertions? Not often. Try having a Twitter discussion about the top 5 quarterbacks in college football. The names alone take up most of your 140 characters.
Love this Twitter Q&A reply from Team Great Britain (h/t @charliemales)
— Team GB (@TeamGB) February 9, 2015
Now imagine replying with Twitter video. Not only could you provide an answer, but you can add some extra context in the tweet itself. That’s 140-characters PLUS 30-seconds of video. I’ve used video to answer a question a few times already.
— E Sunny Cadwallader (@CadChica) February 13, 2015
NOTE: Word of advice for women in the broadcast side of media. Put make-up on, have your hair done and check your background. I failed at these three things in this video. But hey, if I can help someone learn from my mistakes, I’ve succeeded for the day.
EXTRA THOUGHT: If you run a team, league, athlete or celebrity Twitter account and do regular Twitter Q&A’s, this might be a way to change things up a bit. Reply to fan questions with video. It doesn’t have to be done on every Q&A, but it could be a good way to change things up a bit.
Let’s face it. In today’s cluttered social media world, the competition for eyeballs and interaction is fierce. Grabbing someone’s attention as they’re scrolling through their timeline of thousands of people is a challenge. Try posting a tweet with your latest blog post on it.
Not so much…traffic.
Give followers a call-to-action. Give them a reason to “click the link” in your tweet. I am a visual person. When I see someone’s face and hear their voice, I’m instantly engaged. It’s easier for me to gauge whether that person or brand is worth trusting. Trusting enough for me to click the link to read their blog or, in my case, watch their show.
Brands, teams, schools can do this too. From a sports perspective, how can teams use video promotions? Exactly like the Missouri Valley Conference did here:
— MVC Basketball (@ValleyHoops) February 13, 2015
Additional thought: One of the reasons I use Twitter video in this way is that I want people to know that I’m trustworthy. I want them to know that there is a reason to click the link in the tweet. I can tweet uplifting quotes until my fingers are raw, but that doesn’t mean I’m trustworthy. Just because someone replies to me doesn’t mean they’re trustworthy either. Through video, I’m putting connecting just like I would in real life: face-to-face.
Don’t just tell…show!
4. Interviews or Live Reports
When you watch a game on tv, there are always interviews. Before, during, after and even in-between sports intermissions, there’s bound to be an interview at a sports event.
Interviews provide two key things for fans. First, a good interview can provide information. Second, they provide insight into thought process, emotion, reaction or the interviewee. While some may discard the in-game interview, there is something that generates connection for fans to hear the voices of their team’s leaders.
On February 4 (aka National Signing Day in college football recruiting), Western Michigan was one of a handful of schools that used Twitter video that day. After each signed letter was received, Head Football Coach, Bill Kenney, talked a little bit about each player (see below).
What a great way to hear from a coach on a significant day for college football fans. Normally, fans would have to wait for the coach’s press conference or interviews later in the day. Fans who were already on Twitter anyway waiting for news on the next signing class, got to hear from Coach Kenney instead of just waiting for a tweet.
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) February 4, 2015
The Seattle Mariners’ Gregg Greene also used Twitter Video creatively from Spring Training in Arizona, using slo-mo:
— Gregg Greene (@RealGregg) February 24, 2015
I plan on using Twitter video in this way for two events I’m covering next month – at a sports conference and an auto race. I’m hoping to share some great content from the guests and/or fans I talk with. If you want to see how I use it, connect with me on Twitter, @CadChica
5. Create a Series or Show
What are you talking about, CadChica?
Hear me out. Whether it’s been on YouTube or Vine or now, Snapchat, there are people who thought outside the box to use these tools in very creative ways. There are more creative ways to use those platforms than just point the camera and record.
People have created one-time skits, ongoing skits or shows, some of which have made them instant stars (think: Vine Stars, YouTube Stars). Snapchat recently debuted a series on its new Discover tab, called Literally Can’t Even.
So, if those platforms can be used for a series or show, why not Twitter video?
Trying something new with Twitter video. A word of the month. Here is the word of the month for February. pic.twitter.com/1I6fMOfmZ1
— E Sunny Cadwallader (@CadChica) February 4, 2015
As you can see, I’m trying something new. A quick, inspirational, non-sports series using Twitter video. But, what if someone took that a little bit further. Say, an athlete doing his own weekly 30-second show giving a peek into his/her life. Or, taking the best questions they’ve received from fans and answering them. Or, using Twitter video to showcase their foundations, or their communities.
Now as I’m typing it, what about using their highly visible platform and Twitter video to speak up daily, weekly, monthly about the causes they care about? Same for anyone working in sports. Video takes the impersonal connection of 140-characters into something more personal.
Practical? Well, it depends on your idea for a series or show. It could be something simple like what I’m doing, or, once uploads are available with Twitter video, you might be able to share pre-produced 30-second shows.
Have some other creative ways to use Twitter video? Drop me a line in the comments. Would love to hear from you creatives out there. If I can come up with the ideas listed here, you can too.