The Authority 2.0 Conference is a half day event for police officers, local neighbourhood community managers, councillors, voluntary sector group leaders, members of the public, academics and press – anyone wanting to share and expand their knowledge on social media communications, and how organisations in authority communicate using these platforms.
It was a fascinating and insightful event. One of the highlights for me was a talk by student Jennifer Yang from Beijing about how the police in China use social media and police the Internet. It seems most of the social media tools that we are used to here, and take for granted, such asFacebook and Youtube are not available in China and they have their own social media websites. I found it quite disturbing that the Police in China use animated cartoons that pop up when someone visits a website that they deem illegal.
I was very much looking forward to the Photographer or Terrorist debate. The debate opened with this video.
I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had any negative encounters with the police whilst I have been out and about taking photographs. In fact, the only time I have been spoken to by a police officer was last weekend when I was taking photographs outside of Gatecrasher nightclub in Birmingham. I just happened to be standing next to the police officers whilst I was taking photographs and one of them just casually asked me what I was taking photos of. I think it was just more out of curiosity than them being suspicious of me. I simply explained I was on a photo job for a mobile phone company who booked me for some nightclub shots. Nothing more was said, though I did continue the conversation by explaining that I was going to be on this debate panel and asked them if they had ever stopped a photographer in Birmingham. They just shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders and said it wasn’t something they had done, or were bothered about.
I’ll tell you who does question me the most though. Members of the public.
With counter terrorism posters popping up, it is making the public more suspicious and I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have been approached by someone on the street who think they have the right to questions me; “What are you doing? Why are you taking photographs of xyz? Where are the photographs going to be used?” All of which I am under no obligation to answer and is a bit of a pain. It distracts me from my work, takes up time and even if I answer their questions it’s of more benefit to them than to me.
I felt the debate went well and Chief Inspector Mark Payne and DCI Ian Grundy responded positively to criticisms, agreeing that the way police officers and community support officers approach photographers could be done in a more tactful way and that there was some misunderstanding on occasions about when to use Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. As Christian Payne pointed out, if a terrorist really wanted to scope out an area, there are many other ways for this to be done without them going out with a camera. It is also a very positive move that the West Midlands Police are starting to take more steps in engaging with people via social media and they are making plans to expand on this.
You can watch the full Authority 2.0 conference here, and the Photographer or Terrorist debate begins 2 hours 36 minutes in.
Well done to the Event With Me team for flawlessly streaming the event live online. I believe the live stream attracted nearly 400 viewers!
“The Authority 2.0 Conference is a half day event for police officers, local neighbourhood community managers, councillors, voluntary sector group leaders, members of the public, academics and press – anyone wanting to share and expand their knowledge on social media communications, and how organisations in authority communicate using these platforms. This event is also targeted towards local businesses, social enterprises and individuals who are curious about the digital phenomenon and wanting to learn a little more about how Web 2.0 works. For those investigating how to engage further with those in authority, this is an ideal way to do so.”
“Veterans and newcomers alike will be able to learn about how audio and video podcasting, blogging and social media platforms are being used as good practice by similar organisations and areas, and will be able to explore if these are proving to be successful in reaching their goals.”
I’ve pulled this question out of today’s mail bag from a photographic company. Another great question and one I have asked myself.
I have two main twitter accounts; one for me, Karen Strunks, and one for my global photographic project, 4am Project. Karen Strunks has nearly 1000 followers, and the 4am Project has almost 2000. By no stretch of the imagination do I have the most followers ever.
For the most part my followers have grown organically and I don’t really push the matter, especially with Karen Strunks (feels weird referring to myself in the third person!).
When I first started tweeting from the 4am Project account I did make a concerted effort to get followers. I searched twitter for people that I thought may be interested in the project, mainly other photographers. I’d say I was still fairly new to twitter at this point and I followed as many people as twitter would allow – which was 2000. This garnered a fair number of people that followed the 4am Project back. But since that last effort a year ago, I have just let it grow naturally.
I’m not saying that letting things happen at their own pace is the right way, it’s just the way I’ve been doing it. There are a couple of reasons for this; I don’t want to be seen as ’spammy’ and I also simply lack the time at the moment to seek out new followers.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE twitter! I’ve raved about it before on my blog and even organised a twitter flash mob.
I was very pleased when all these tweeters turned up!
So today’s question, which was referring to my 4am Project account with regards to a photographic company.
“Was checking out your Twitter account earlier, very impressive number of followers you have… got any tips to get us out of the 70’s and into the hundreds?”
So….how do you get more twitter followers? Well, I don’ t know any killer marketing tricks or tips and can only go my by own experience.
It takes time and effort
Tweet WITH your followers, don’t just tweet out
Interact with your followers. Comment on their tweets if you think it’s appropriate
If someone tweets out a photo link or a funny link – re-tweet it. People like to be re-tweeted and it shows you are reading their tweets. They are more likely to re-tweet you back too.
Let people know about your special offers
Perhaps give a discount on an item especially for your twitter followers (you can’t stop other people picking up the offer, but that’s ok)
Tweet interesting things/offers – people will re-tweet and tell their friends
Build relationships, show you are human and not a faceless company – people like and are reassured by that.
Respond in a timely manner when someone tweets you or asks you a question.
If someone re-tweets you, thank them
Tweet frequently, so you are not forgotten about, but not too often! lol
One company that I think gets the balance of all this spot on is Moo.com. Have a read of Moo’s twitter stream. They tweet with their customers and potential customers, they send out links that they think their followers would be interested in (that doesn’t neccessarily have anything to do with Moo), they tell people what’s going on in their office and if it’s coffee or cake time!
Get someone to dedicate some time to twitter each day. Perhaps to begin with 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at the end of the day, I’d suggest. Also, start to follow more people. Don’t go too mad with this as you may look like spam – say 10 people a day. Even if 2 people follow you back out of those 10, you will gradually see your followers grow. To see who you think would be appropriate do a twitter search.
For example #photographer or #photography or any other word you think appropriate. Put # in front of the word. This is called a hashtag and is used widely on twitter.
Don’t just follow anyone who has used #photographer (for example). Check them out, where they live, are they a company or an individual, are they active on twitter.
Over time, you may find Friend or Follow useful. It tells you who is following you, who you are following but who isn’t following you back, and who you aren’t following. I find it a good way to manage my twitter account.
So, there you go! My advice to a photographic company on how to use twitter and get more followers. Of course, some of these twitter tips can be used for individuals too, not just companies using twitter. I hope you find it helpful!