Yet, the goal of this blogpost is very peaceful. A short summary (NOTA BENE) has been developed during the Israeli – Palestinian conflict in November 2012. It is about ways how to improve our twitterskills and what we can learn from the techniques used by one of the most capable armies in the world, i.e. Israel. What were its assets in the twitter account?
IDFSpokesperson is an official Twitter account of Israel Defence Forces. On November 16 they welcomed their 60.000nd follower. On December the 1st this account had 209.212 followers. This was the first "twitter translated" operation by IDF.
1. How to introduce new hashtags?
New hashtags were introduced by both using the largest channels, such as #israel or #Gaza more rare #hamas, and less popular channels (#israelonfire). The main goal is to promote them.
2. Beginning of message – short, clear, one word announcement or question
To make the reading and life of the reader easier, posts are very "targeted". If there is a link on a photo, "photo" is the first word. Why this is important? Most probably, this is linked to the fact that IDF twitter account is highly visualized (given graphics, photos or videos). From Europarl_XX statistics we can see that people like clicking especially on photos and videos.
3. Do not respond to negative feedback
The simple rule here is not to respond to negative feedback, including avoiding to use contra propaganda. Instead, the growing number of followers was highlighted. Only few posts were addressed to opponents. This gives the feeling that opponents are reading/following them.
4. Do not hesitate to ask RT
There was no hesitation to ask to retweet (RT). Retweeting was even encouraged. (An example: We're approaching 60,000 followers. Thanks to all of you who RT our posts. You're helping spread the truth about life under fire in
5. Retweeting – minimal
IDFSpokesperson did not do retweets. However, with some exceptions, for example, – officials. Why? IDFSpokesperson constructed itself as the prime source or the main player in the media game. (An example: Retweet of Avital Leibovich (
@AvitalLeibovich The #IDF sees #Hamas accountable for any terror activity. #Gaza).
6. Use opponents hashtags (channels) or out of contest
Only neutral opponents’ hashtags were used, such as #Gaza and #Hamas. #Hamas was mainly used in the beginning of the conflict, used a lot less in the end. For obvious reasons there is no hashtag #Palestine. Using supra channels illustrate attempts to bring the topic higher on the agenda and attract attention (An example: Good morning to our friends in
#America. While you were sleeping, 3 Israelis were killed when a rocket hit their house.)
7. Use of BREAKING (as a word in the beginning of the message) with exception
BREAKING has been used with exception. During the time of war all news are more or less BREAKING. BREAKING was used in the case of a bomb in the bus ("BREAKING: A bus has exploded in Tel Aviv. Possibly due to a bomb or suicide bomber. Many ambulance sirens. Stay tuned for updates.") and in the case of the attack on Tel Aviv (Breaking: A few minutes ago, the Iron Dome intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv. City residents ran for shelter after siren.)
IDF used several linguistic versions and reminded about other sources in different languages (Russian, Spanish, French, etc.). They used a scheme to remind about contacts to follow each two weeks. (
#FF Talk to us in any language! Russian: @AnnaUkolova Arabic: @AvichayAdraee French: @SachaDratwa Spanish: @CapitanKaplan)
10. Posts on history
Posts on history are not only meant to fill in the gap. It is a part of campaign to remind about attacks and victims. (An example: Today in History (2000): Two IDF reservists were lynched and murdered in Ramallah. We remember. http://ow.ly/eqBxF)