Housing associations can utilise Twitter to help find their online voice. Effective use of Twitter can help create an impression of a human, caring organisation which wants to engage.
Here are my tips of how housing associations should tweet:
1. Use a human voice. It doesn't necessarily need to be spelt out who is tweeting but the voice should be human rather than robotic. You can use an automated feed to some extent but if that is the sum total of your tweets, your followers will be unlikely to reply (and therefore engage) with you.
2. Tweets should be professional. This doesn't mean they can't be fun or have a lighter tone but they should always something that you'd be comfortable re-reading in Inside Housing's satirical Closed Circuit column.
3. Reply to the people who reply to you. This is more than good manners: it's good business sense to engage with the people who have been kind enough to take an interest in your work.
4. Include links to your websites wherever you can. This makes it easier for people to understand what you are tweeting about and helps drive traffic to your sites.
5. If possible tweets should be short enough to re-tweet (about 100-120 characters). The more concise your tweets the easier it is for them to be re-tweeted.
It takes time to build up a community of followers and find an organisation's online voice but it is a worthwhile investment to become a listening and engaging organisation.