Norfolk County Ontario people on TwitterTwitter use is still in its infancy in rural Norfolk County, Ontario, however, there are tweeps who are leading the way at effective and entertaining use of this incredible social media tool.

Looking for Norfolk County inspiration, and examples for how to get started on Twitter? These are 10 local accounts to check out. Each one has a specific expertise. And they all focus on quality tweets vs a zillion tweets about, well, nothing much.

(See bottom of post for how this list was compiled)

Congrats to everyone who made this year’s top-10 list!

#1. @DuaneRutter. This self-described “humble folksinger” once tweeted “I’m not entirely sure that I’m clever enough for Twitter.” Well, he definitely is clever enough. This local songwriter has a gift for tweeting memorable lines, unlike anyone else in Norfolk. Here are a couple of gems: “Sometimes Sunday feels like a broken wooden ladder left forgot behind the woodshed” and “I was just thinking: it’s been a helluva long time since I’ve owned a pair of bell bottomed plaid trousers.” This is genuine, folksy life-in-the-sandplain tweeting. He has an approach that makes you want to grab a hot chocolate and pull up a chair to read more. His tweets are probably the shortest in character length of all Norfolk tweeps, but they make up for that in quality, rather than quantity. Memorable tweets that make you smile over and over again.

#2. @AmyVanKessel. This is twentysomething life-on-the-fly tweeting at its best in Norfolk. “4 people, 4 hockey bags, in a Honda Fit, on a roadie to London for puck. Haha,” she tweeted recently. @AmyVanKessel is a “Sport & Event Marketing grad” and self-described “small-town girl.” With experience working for MLSE and the Maple Leafs, it’s no surprise she’s also the best Norfolk tweeter about the Leafs and their players. She has wit too: “#studytip for my little marine biology student: Ocean water is not blue. It’s clear, just like pool water and drinking water.” She also knows that hashtags (putting # before a keyword) are important for crowd sourcing on Twitter around a particular subject. A recent tweet: “Only in #NorfolkCounty would you see 3 trucks full of cheerleaders in the back at 8am driving through town. Must be #FairDay!”

#3. @BlueHeron1012. Hands down, the best Norfolk business tweeting on Twitter. And here’s what’s so impressive: the tweeting isn’t about pushing you to visit Blue Heron, an excellent shop in Port Rowan! That’s an unusual approach for most businesses. @BlueHeron1012 gives you the opportunity to get to know the human element behind a local store. Great tweets all day and night. Comes across very neighbourly. Tweets are full of personality. And, like the bio says, there’s a “wicked sense of humour” too. “I just lent my 17yr old my credit card… YIKES!!!” she once tweeted. @BlueHeron1012 is an outstanding Twitter example to learn from for any Norfolk business. Getting to know a business in this way WILL make you WANT to visit the store in person.

#4. (tie) @JeffReformer @JacobReformer. In local and area media, far too many Twitter accounts are ghost accounts nothing more than bots tweeting headlines and links. On Twitter, this is called a social media #fail. Fortunately, Norfolk has two examples of newspaper tweeters that are the exact opposite: @JeffReformer and @JacobReformer. They provide commentary on our local sports scene and beyond. “There could be another NSSAA upset to report here in the next few minutes,” @JacobReformer tweeted from the sidelines recently. It’s no surprise both of these sports reporters have a loyal Twitter following among many in the high school sports scene. And they both carry on Twitter conversations with those local followers. @JeffReformer has a quick wit about a variety of sports topics. “Vital, up-to-the-second information only Twitter can provide: Leafs 25 minutes late for practice!” he sarcastically tweeted once. Together, these two tweeps are an exceptionally effective 1-2 team on social media as THE must-follow local sports insiders.

#5. @TobyBarrettMPP. Usually, most politicians’ use of social media is bland and nothing but rhetoric. Sure, there are political tweets here too, but there’s much more. @TobyBarrettMPP’s down-home style tweets fit his image as a good ol’ country boy in Norfolk County. He takes you along for the journey as he travels across his riding in Norfolk and Haldimand counties. “A majestic eagle just flew over the house – on the hunt,” he tweeted recently. He has a sense of humour too. “A cozy evening in the Fisherville Restaurant. Formerly Fisherville Hotel – the bar no longer serves ‘Lead Paint’, probably a good thing,” he mused in another tweet. If you want to reach your local MPP, he responds to you on Twitter too. Toby likes to think of his Twitter use as being a diary. That’s why he’s a super tweeter.

#6. (Tie) @NorfolkArts @THEATREtc. @NorfolkArts is the most active and effective tweeter of any municipal department within Norfolk County. Regular updates. Always enjoying and participating in conversation with other tweeps throughout the day. And, of course, encouraging participation in the arts. This is a Twitter account that is staffed by humans. Plus, this is using tweeting as it should be done by institutions….. a tool to take the public inside the gallery from the comfort of their own chair (which, of course, can spur people to visit in person). @THEATREtc is one of the most active Twitter accounts in Norfolk and among the most conversational. As the name suggests, it’s about theatre (Theatre Norfolk). There’s some promotion of threatre performances, for sure, but the way it is done is not pushy. It’s promotion through genuine engagement. Yes, there is a difference. There’s more to be learned from this tweep too. @THEATREtc understands that being social on social media also means saying ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ too. Sadly, many tweeps don’t do this.

#7. @KEMmommy. The bio says “Mother, Kindergarten teacher, Fitness Instructor, Techi wanna be….” Well, @KEMmommy has certainly developed her personal brand on Twitter as a mom and Kindergarten specialist. She is VERY active in a regular Twitter crowd-sourced social media chat all based on the hashtag #kinderchat. This is where other tweeters with the same interest participate in a real-time chat to share advice and tips. Very few Norfolk tweeps utilize a specific #hashtag social community on an ongoing basis. If you want to know what life is like as teacher and how to participate in a Twitter community chat around a subject (#kinderchat, for example), @KEMmommy is the one to follow in Norfolk County.

#8. @Bridget238. This newscaster and relative newscomer at radio station CD98.9 is another terrific example of media using Twitter the way it should be used: Being human. No bots. There is lots of interaction, humour and insights into behind-the-scenes life at a radio station and the life of a newscaster. “Overheard in the newsroom: Did you guys ever watch Kermit the frog’s news flashes? He was a pretty good reporter. Good mic technique too,” she recently quipped in a tweet. Or this zinger of a tweet: “Overheard in the newsroom: “Well this is embarasing… I just called a fax machine.” And, oh yeah, you know this is a real Twitter fan she she goes on vacation to Australia and tweets from Down Under too.

#9. @GKShay. Well, for starters, look at the avatar used by @GKShay. It’s memorable. It’s easily one of the best avatars in Norfolk. It’s an example of the importance of having an avatar that stands out in a crowd. @GKShay is also a good follow for how he keeps on top of social media news, trends and tips. He actively retweets posts (which means, when he sees something of value tweeted by someone, he shares it). Recently, he also live-tweeted from a conference, making him one of the only Norfolk tweeps to do this style of content sharing. He’s a stellar example of how social media can be used to spread knowledge so others can benefit.

#10. @VGMeats. This Norfolk farm / meat shop business has one of the biggest Twitter agriculture followings in the county, if not THE biggest. There aren’t always daily tweets, but in the ag sector in Norfolk, this is the Twitter account that is leading the way. Here’s your chance to talk to a farmer on social media. The bonus here is you get real down-on-the-farm tweets too. Anyone who follows the account will remember the live tweeting about the excitement of a family seeing a new calf born in the barn. The general farming life tweets are super too! “Checking the cows. Dude, it’s dark out tonight,” a recent tweet shared.

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How this list was compiled
In compiling this top-10 list, numerous factors were taken into consideration:

  • tweeting frequency
  • effective use from a communications perspective
  • genuine engagement with other tweeps (that means actually being social on social media)
  • being human on Twitter and not relying on a bot to create tweets (example: setting Facebook on auto-pilot to cross post to a Twitter account
  • building a community by following people back (Having 300 followers, but only following 6 people back means you really aren’t interested in being social)
  • not limited to being a 9-to-5 tweeter
  • acknowledging other tweeters (including thanking others for retweets, compliments, recommendations, etc)
  • not being pushy about a product all the time or mostly just trying to drive traffic back to a website
  • using Twitter to have some fun
  • no vulgar or offensive tweeting
  • locked accounts not considered (these are accounts that generally don’t want to be publically social on Twitter)

Got a comment, join me on Twitter. I’m @WorkCabin and @GreggMcLachlan