Our social media editor's favourite moments on Twitter

To celebrate reaching 500,000 Twitter followers, our "social media queen," Haley Overland, looks back on her favourite moments and shares her secrets of success.
Photo: Sun Ngo

Photo: Sun Ngo

We’ve reached 500,000 followers on Twitter!

For Twitter lovers, this is major milestone. For non-Twitter lovers, like my mother, trust me, this is a big deal. It’s an accomplishment, to be sure, particularly since only a handful of Canadian media brands have reached this milestone. So, say it with me: WOOHOO!

When I first came to Today’s Parent, back in May 2010, there was some hesitancy around social media. We wanted to utilize Twitter because we already had a significant number of followers (around 30,000), but we weren’t quite sure how to do it, and editors felt shy about joining in. Besides, I was new to Today’s Parentcould they trust me to keep everything on brand? Despite the name of my personal twitter handle, @cheaty, the team went for it and put their trust in my cheaty little hands.

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Our first tweet ever, March 2009. That link doesn’t even work anymore.

And why not? I made it clear off the bat that the name of the game for me on Twitter is “authenticity.” Although I tweet on behalf of a major brand, I’m an actual human and a parent, like most of our followers; I am “today’s parent” as much as I am Today’s Parent.

So, every time I tweet, I’m thinking of who’s on the receiving end of my 140 (or less!) characters, as if we were bumping into each other in the baby aisle at the drugstore (or on the labour-and-delivery floor at the hospital—yes, I did bump into one of my readers after giving birth to my son!). No matter how many followers we have, you are important to me. Indeed, trolls aside, I try to answer every question or acknowledge every tweet that comes our way.

Some days, I feel like “Parenting Yoda” because I often get big parenting questions to answer as wisely as possible in teeny-tiny-little tweets.

Often, moms and dads just want to connect and be heard—especially during frustrating, helpless times. And I’m honoured to be the person on the other end of that tweet.

Around here, they call me the Social Media Queen. What on Earth have I done to help get us to 500K followers? If you ask me, here’s the simple truth: I’ve been a real person, and I’ve tried to connect. This strategy, along with creativity, clean, tight tweeting, great content from Today’s Parent (of course), good timing, a little luck and the invaluable help from my colleagues—particularly Nadine Silverthorne and Sasha Emmons, who contribute kick-ass ideas and inspire me daily to put the utmost energy and skill into this awesome platform—have brought us 500K followers and some of my favourite Twitter moments. Checkit!

Haley’s favourite @Todaysparent Twitter moments:

*Tweets from celebs. Since I am also our Celebrity Candy Queen, it shouldn’t surprise you that my all-time favourite Twitter moment was when Pink retweeted us shortly after her Grammy’s 2014 performance to tell us, “Your tweet means the most”…

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*Getting verified. “Was this for real or a spam email?” I remember asking our IT department. It was, indeed, real, and we are one of the very, very few Canadian media brands who are verified on Twitter.

*Over a dozen successful Twitter parties. Nadine and I host these babies together, and we have a blast doing it—so much so that we’ll often throw parties just for the fun of it, with no incentive other than to connect and enjoy the community we’ve grown. I still get a thrill every time our Twitter parties trend.

*Live tweeting the Royal baby! We were among the first in Canada to tweet the news that the Duchess of Cambridge was in labour—a result of dumb luck. My husband, Josh, happened to be going out of town at 4 a.m. that morning, and he texted me from the cab!

*#TPlove. When you have (hundreds of!) thousands of followers, you feel the love. Last Valentine’s Day, we asked parents to tell us what their kids say when they ask them what “love” means, and it was the sweetest thing ever.

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*The thanks I get. I go home happy every time we help someone.

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*Customer service. I love pleasing our subscribers by giving them fast and efficient help.

 

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*Immediate feedback. It’s always rewarding to hear what readers think of our hard work and then see them sharing it with others.

 

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*#TPkidjokes. Inspired by my own son’s silly joke, I had a blast asking our followers to tweet jokes their kids love to tell. The tweets were so cute we created an article out of them.

I have so many other favourite moments. This right here might top them all. Thanks, Today’s Parent, for giving me the opportunity to be your voice on this amazing platform. And thank you to all our readers and Twitter followers for making @Todaysparent such vibrant, supportive, truly amazing community.

JOIN US: Thursday, April 24, at 1 p.m. EST for a big Twitter party in honour of this milestone! There will be giveaways, expert tips and fun conversation. No RSVP required: Simply follow us @todaysparent and/or use the #TP500K hashtag. Tweet you then!

Love…
xo Haley-O

 

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