My 6240 minutes with #ALGEE: the Great #TwitterTakeover of June 2016

My 6240 minutes with #ALGEE:  the Great #TwitterTakeover of June 2016

What?  The National Council on Behavioral Health wanted an instructor to takeover their @MHFirstAidUSA Twitter account?  For a whole week?  To be “in charge”?  Really???


Yes, that is what I had read…. so, I didn’t even think about HOW to do a Twitter Takeover, I just sent an email, fast and without thinking much about it!


And guess what?


They gave me the reigns… yes, ME!


From the Marvel comics with Stan Lee to the Greatest Generation with Winston Churchill, to early texts by Œuvres de Voltaire by Voltaire, 1694-1778; we find versions of the enduring quote:

“with great power comes great responsibility”.


And boy had a bitten off a good one, huh?


A whole week… all 6240 minutes of it!  I was like a kid going to #Disneyland.  But, when you go to Disneyland, you have to plan and make sure you pack everything like sunscreen, bottled water, snacks, and your camera (well, maybe now not a camera since you have one on your phone, right?)


So, this Takeover was not unlike the Disney trip, because I had to plan what I was going to do.


Thoughts were racing through my head:

  • What did I want to tell people as a Mental Health First Aid instructor?
  • What were the important highlights about being an instructor were going to get “Joe Q. Public’s” attention?
  • What was my own “WHY?” in becoming an instructor?
  • What in the world is Mental Health First Aid anyway? And why is it important to our society?
  • Who can become a Mental Health First Aider,? Why? And how can I get more information in their community?


(oh, and since it was #HillDay2016, aka Mental Health policy week in Washington DC; I was also able to “get my policy geek on” and talk about how to get involved in advocating for positive Mental Health Legislation by contacting their Congressional representatives.  Since I teach policy, and being a “policy geek”, you know this just made my “Disney trip” that much better!)


Oh my gosh, I was taking over a National organizations’ Twitter account!  I better get my plan on.


Google is your friend!  I started with a planning spreadsheet that I found to check lengths of tweets, and got busy drafting basic ideas I wanted to post for the week.  Man, there were a bunch!  Over 40 “planned” tweets to be exact.


Being a “creative” and a “storyteller”; I set to making graphics for the posts that I planned to do that week.… (yep, over 40 graphics too.)  I employed my stuffed #ALGEE (if you want to know who he is read the storify link below, or better yet go watch my YouTube compilation video here from the takeover.)  Algee and two of my other office mates (aka “prop animals”) had a photo shoot.  Yes, I had a photo shoot with stuffed animals, don’t hate!

My 6240 minutes with #ALGEE:  the Great #TwitterTakeover of June 2016


After the photo shoot, I needed to do something to layer more of the story on top of those photos.  So into my graphics apps I went… and added keywords in text over the photos, and styled my story so it had continuity.  I wanted to make sure all of my photos, posts, and the entire takeover showed my own brand of creativity.  By creating all of the photos in one setting, I was able to maintain the same style & “feel”, yet continue to tell the stories that each individual photo had.  (If you would like to learn more about how to do this too, get a free pdf here!)


After the graphics were done, I was able to put each of the graphics into my spreadsheet next to tweets they went with, or in blank spaces which I then added a tweet for it later.


Now, this post is a gross oversimplification of what I actually did to plan for my Twitter takeover, but hopefully you get the idea that it takes some planning and some preparation time to do something like a twitter takeover.


And, I’m weird, I enjoyed the planning ALMOST as much as I did the next two parts!


Next, came the really fun parts where played cut & paste (just like kindergarten, well almost…) and put the tweets & photos into my social media planner software, I use PostCron. (You can link to it and look at it yourself here.) It is a great piece of software to plan and carry out your social media extravaganzas.  There are many different kinds of social media planners, both free and paid: however, I really like how PostCron because it covers all of the major players: Twitter, Facebook (for my personal page, my business page, AND groups I am in), Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+. It let me schedule my tweets to come out randomly throughout the day, so that I could focus on the next part which was my absolute favorite…


Last, but certainly not least, comes engaging with the public. Here’s where being a social worker touched my story telling creativity.  As my posts that I planned rolled out, I was able to watch for and connect with the “audience” naturally.  Had I not done my planning in advance, I would have been focusing on getting the “information” tweets out, and not my engagement, retweets of great #mentalhealth stuff, or responses to the followers. I felt like I had a large responsibility to make sure that anyone who read any post, had all of the information they needed that I had, or was able to get for them.


In the background the whole time, I had cheerleaders!  Dani Poole (whose story on Storify you can see below in this post), and other staff from the National Council were constant and amazing resources to help me keep on track, give me ideas and encouragement from the sideline.  I also had personal & professional Facebook and Twitter friends, who I was exposing to a program they had never heard before!  They learned a lot from what I was putting out, and were my big cheerleaders.


Overall, I had an amazing time, I learned a lot about carefully crafting the messages I wanted to portray, holding the responsibility of an important national organization in my hands, getting information out to people who may not have ever seen while lending my own flavor of messages to #1in1M, #HillDay2016, and #BH365.  I am still humbled, honored, and grateful for the opportunity from the National Council, especially since I was the first instructor to do this.


Click here for the amazing #storify post written about the #TwitterTakeover by @dpoole611

The journey continued after the Twitter takeover, as the following week, I did a webinar for Missouri Mental Health First Aid and shared some of my “behind the scenes” material about the Takeover.  This was planned before I knew of the Takeover, and Thank you Creator for the Serendipity!  You can click here to go to the blog post to find out about the goodies I shared that day.


If you want to learn more about using social media in advocacy work, or with your social worker public health organization, and you’re in Kansas City or need #CEU’s, click here and check out this July 7th, 2016 in person CEU training by Missouri NASW.

I hope to see you on the inter-webs! And let me know who gives you the reigns to take over their twitter accounts… so I can follow along and Cheer for you!
Now get out there and go create the next big thing!
p.s. If you want ready-made graphics for your social media accounts, click here and sign up to get free social media starter kit by email.
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