Twitter Tips from MPR Talk Show Host: Share How You Think, Not Just What You Think

Jun 6, 2014

A 360 view of The Daily Circuit Studios at MPR.
Credit The Daily Circuit social media host Stephanie Curtis

Should a show host run their own Twitter account? During our Twitter chat about digital strategies for shows, that question came up several times. There's not a yes or no answer, but one show that has benefited from active social media accounts is The Daily Circuit, a daily three-hour long show on Minnesota Public Radio.

The Daily Circuit has a digitally savvy staff, including a social media host and two hosts that are active on Twitter. I turned to host Kerri Miller for her tips and thoughts on using social media as a talk show host.

The Daily Circuit co-host Kerri Miller
Credit MPR

Miller, in addition to one to three hours a day on air,  tweets several times a day asking questions related to the show, about the latest books she’s reading, and more to over 11,600 followers. 

During our chat, she said that although it took her time to fit social media into her schedule and to figure out what to tweet, it is now an integral part of her job at The Daily Circuit.

Here are five tips she shared from her experience:

The Audience Online Might Not be Listening Live

And that’s ok. “There are plenty of people that interact with me on Twitter that don’t listen real time - they either don’t get to the show at all or listen at the end of the day,” Miller said.

With that in mind, Miller will share interesting moments, quotes or facts from the day’s show at different times, and makes sure to tweet a few times in the evening. These are different audiences, and a great way to get more people into the show is to tweet the most shareable and digestible moments at various times.

There Doesn't Have to be Much Difference Between Twitter and Radio Voices

Twitter is an extension of Miller’s voice on air, she said. It should all feel seamless, rather than one being drastically different from the other. 

“It’s not that I forget that it is going out as via MPR,” Miller said. “But that doesn’t mean I have to be stodgy about it. I may be a little more confiding on Twitter, but I also don’t hesitate to write a script that’s personal - that’s my demeanor on-air and on Twitter.”

Find the Minutes Where You Can Fit Tweeting into Your Workflow

We all know time for social media won’t magically appear. But finding time to fit it in can benefit you - The Daily Circuit regularly finds story ideas, guests and comments via Twitter. Experiment with different workflows and tools to find the right fit for you.

Miller uses her iPad in the studio to take in what people on Twitter are saying and to send out questions and links, with the help of The Daily Circuit's social media host Stephanie Curtis. Tools such as HootSuite and Tweetdeck can be used to schedule tweets, and using Twitter lists can make time management easier. 

Don’t Just be a Promotional Vehicle For Your Show

Constant entreaties to “listen in” will probably not drive much conversation or new audience on Twitter, Miller said. She won’t even use the word ‘follow’ when mentioning her account on the air.

“Follow sounds like a very one way relationship,” Miller said. “Twitter is one way to break down walls and make the audience feel like this is a real, circular, interactive relationship. I can know about people’s lives and they can know about mine.”

Instead, Miller says things such as “if you want to reach me” or “if you have something to say that I need to hear.”

Let Them Know How You Think, Not Just What You Think

Stumped for ideas of what to tweet? Sharing insightful thoughts, questions and comments that show your personality helps build an audience that want to join in a conversation.

“You can share where you go, things that are cool, what you read… it adds to a fully dimensional type of person,” Miller said. “Those are the people that people can connect with and Twitter connects with. This is an intimate medium - they want more than just some faceless being.”

Connect with Miller on Twitter @KerriMPR, and The Daily Circuit @DailyCircuit.

For tips on how to share a Twitter account between producers and hosts, don't miss this post from WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show.

We're checking in with shows around the country about their digital best practices and strategies. Have a suggestion for a post or show to talk to? Email it to TGorman@npr.org or tweet it to us @NPRDS.