The Daily News and Analysis (DNA) is a fairly popular daily English newspaper published in India. They were also one of the first newspapers to actively interact with users on Twitter. We caught up with @Chupchap, one of the guys behind the account, to find out how it is managed and their future plans.
1. I know you started the @DNA account after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. How did you convince the decision making authorities to go in favour?
At the time, the DNA blogs were ‘under construction’, so I thought of starting a Twitter account as well. I initially created an account with the name @DNAIndia, as @DNA was not available, and started posting news updates. I informed the Resident Editor only when the account had 200 followers.
2. You have been very progressive, interacting with fellow tweeters, even retweeting the competition! Do you have any guidelines in place to run the account? If yes, what are those?
Unlike the competition, we use Twitter like a normal person would. Regarding retweeting the competition, does it make such a big difference? We are on Twitter to disseminate news, not to sell it. So if let’s say @IBNLive or @HeadlinesIndia post a breaking news story, we think there is nothing wrong in retweeting them. Plus DNA – the newspaper is more about analysis, than just breaking news.
I was working with @BangaloreMirror before, and there we used to to reply to tweeps (@manuscrypts’ idea) and I thought that was the right thing to do. I followed the same concept with the @DNA account as well.
3. Is there anyone else who monitors the account?
Monitor? No. Post tweets? Yes.
4. Since there is no link in most of your tweets, how do you measure the ‘call to action’ success of your message?
We did not use any links at all in the beginning, and relied on follower count to judge success. But we always felt that it’s not an indication of the effectiveness of an account or a way to measure the quality of a tweet. I didn’t want @DNA to be another source for breaking news. There are enough twitter accounts devoted for the same. So I decided to go for the ‘news as and when it is reported’ model. We started posting links later on, after a lot of people requested us to post links for better understanding of certain stories.
5. What are your success metrics for the @DNA account and how do you measure them?
We don’t actively measured the success of the @DNA account. However, we have a larger following than most Twitter accounts of other traditional media houses in India. Recently we started using bit.ly to link to stories on our site. We found that, on an average, most stories get a minimum of 120 clicks without retweets. In case people retweet, the numbers double and at times even quadruple. Clicks and views are also what matter to us, apart from retweets or follower count.
As of now, the number of clicks can be calculated but not views. Having said that, Reuters had a story recently on how Twitter will roll out analytics for ‘paid accounts’. Now, that’s something to look forward to!
6. What are the things you generally Tweet about on the account, apart from news and replying to folks?
In the beginning it used to be just news. Now we post links to our blog entries, editorial and opinion pieces as well.
7. Since you don’t use automated services like TwitterFeed to feed data into the account, how do you decide what needs to go out and what doesn’t?
That’s a tricky one. I keep scanning the wires and if I find something interesting, I post it. We have noticed that metro-specific news and political news are more popular in terms of replies, retweets, and clicks. Even really quirky stories get lots of responses. It’s like Digg in that way.
8. How much time do you spend on the @DNA account daily?
We used to spend a lot of time in the beginning, because we were doing a lot of polls on how we should tweet, what we should tweet, etc. Now it’s down to an hour at max, as we have a basic understanding of Twitter and our follower base.
9. Do you plan to open separate accounts for catering to regional readers in say Mumbai or Bangalore? What are your future plans for the account?
No separate accounts in the immediate future. Not until the other journalists working here volunteer to Tweet on the account. If I have to do it alone, I will have to compromise on my work – the real one – the one I get paid to do. 🙂
10. Anything else you may like to add?
Nothing much, I just hope that all the journos at DNA join Twitter. That way, we can give a Twitter by-line for stories written by them. It’s a little far fetched as of now, but an idea nevertheless. 🙂
We hope you gained some insights into how a corporate twitter account can be managed. However, since this is not the only way to do it, we have a few more such interviews lined up for the future. Do let us know what you think in the comments and feel free to ask questions.