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Creating Your Team’s Twitter Subaccount

Twitter is a powerful tool to connect with people. It's the world's largest conversation, where you can send messages to one or many.

We highly recommend your team incorporate your team’s content into AIA National’s twitter feed. If, after review, your team decides to create a Twitter account, here are some tips we’ve pulled together for your use.


Creating Your Team Account

Much has been written on starting a Twitter account. Rather than duplicate the wonderful how-to efforts of Twitter in this guide, we'll refer to this official Twitter 101 guide.

Twitter Tips

  • Seek approval for your account from the Director of Social Media before creating it.
  • Use your real name on the account. Help your followers to know who you are.
  • Use AIA in your username. For example, Sara Smith would be the account name; @AIA_Finance would be the username.
  • Remember to include your location, Washington, DC; and fill in the 160-character profile. The profile should summarize why your team is on Twitter and identify who is tweeting.
  • Get a branded avatar from the Director of Social Media. Do not select your own image for an avatar. The key here is 'real people' work at AIA National.
  • Don't protect your account, that is, make it private. This option exists, but the use of it is frowned upon in social media circles because it inhibits the very notion of Twitter: sharing.
  • Submit an image for your profile banner to the Director of Social Media for approval before uploading it. Twitter recommends the image be 1252 pixels wide × 626 pixels tall. Similar to the cover image in Facebook, the profile banner should be an image pertaining to your team. The AIA National account is rotating images of Institute Honor Award recipients for its profile banner. Do not omit this image from your account.

A Look at Twitter Lingo

  • A post on Twitter is called a "tweet."
  • To talk to someone on Twitter, simply use their username with the @ in front. (ex: @SaraSmith). You can use this "mention" to talk directly to someone or simply mention them.
  • You can retweet, or RT, someone's post by using the retweet button, or paste the tweet into your status update; this approach allows you to make a comment (Always use the RT @username to give credit). If there is not enough room to include the whole tweet in your RT, you can use "MT," which stands for "modified tweet."
  • If you would like to add a link to your tweet but it is too long for the 140 characters, Twitter will automatically shorten links. Alternatively, you can a link-shortening site such as bitly, which has metrics you can access about your links.
  • You can direct message (DM) people if you'd like to contact them privately; the caveat is they must be following you back.

Finding and Following

  • Search Twitter for tags (for example, #sustainability, #architects) or for keywords to see who is talking about topics you'd like to follow. You can also use services such as to find like-minded people. Once you start following people, you will see who they are talking with and can subsequently find more people to follow. (All usernames are clickable!)
  • To find more people to follow, check out the following and followers lists of people you currently follow; this will open you up to similar people.
  • Follow people back. While you don't have to return the follow for everyone who follows you, it's good practice to follow people.
  • Create and use Twitter lists to organize the people you follow. This way in one click you can filter out your colleagues, your friends or local businesses.

Tweeting and Retweeting

  • Post links about upcoming events, talks or discussions in which you are involved/attending.
  • Share links to articles, stories, and other websites you find interesting.
  • Retweet posts you've found interesting.
  • Follow industry thought leaders. Upload pictures.
  • Participate in industry chats (AIA National hosts a monthly hat, AIA Chat, on the first Wednesdays of the month at 2 p.m. ET).
  • Follow conferences in real-time. Common practice, today, is that any major industry event has a hashtag (#). While at conference, people will often live tweet as they learn.

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