I signed on with Twitter waaay back in March 2007. Back then, the Arkansas Twittersphere was a sleepy little town of early adopters who — let’s be honest, folks — really didn’t know what the heck they were getting into.
But more Arkansas Tweeters arrived. And among the first “big” local entities I noticed aggressively using Twitter was Tyson Foods, the meat processing giant headquartered in Springdale. And the man behind that effort was — and remains — Ed Nicholson, Tyson’s director of community and public relations.
Nicholson had been using blogs to further Tyson’s hunger-relief goals nationwide, and Twitter was another tool he decided to put in his media toolkit. Today, Tyson Foods’ Twitter account is a crucial rallying point for the publicly traded firm’s food donation efforts throughout the country.
Next week, Nicholson is among the speakers at the BlogWell conference in New York, which will be attended by some of the nation’s biggest companies. At BlogWell, they’ll talk social media by sharing best practices and examining case studies. Nicholson is scheduled to be one of the speakers.
Earlier this week, Nicholson spoke to SmartBlog about his social media efforts and shared some advice for other groups looking to dip a toe in the water to promote philanthropic goals:
First off, get to know the media. Participate and engage yourself; don’t depend on your agency to do it all for you. If you want to be perceived as a thought leader within philanthropic issues, you can’t do it by proxy. Don’t assume the community is going to come to you. Sometimes you have to be the one who initiates the connections and the conversation.
Social media tools should be used in the context of well-constructed overall communications strategy. Use your communications resources to add value, not simply to broadcast your key messages. Talk about the issue or challenge. Point the spotlight to people outside your company who are doing great work. You’ll look better in reflected light.
And you can follow Nicholson/Tyson Foods on Twitter here.