Twitter, the micro-blogging social media tool of choice for over 105 million people worldwide, can seem at first blush to be a funny tool. Users write messages in 140 characters or less, and share links and news updates with those that follow them.
Brevity has necessitated its own language on Twitter (abbreviations anyone?) and to the uninitiated it can be quite difficult to understand.
However, for those willing to press on, Twitter can be an invaluable tool to reach a wider audience, share news updates and events, and quickly create “buzz” about an issue, product, or concern.
This holds especially true for nonprofits, who can use Twitter’s virtual megaphone to communicate their health- or other mission-related messages. However, like all tools, it’s only effective if the operator has some tricks up her sleeve.
These five quick tips for nonprofit success will help put any group on the map with Twitter:
- Hold a Twitter Town Hall – A Twitter Town Hall is a virtual event that allows people, during a set period of time, to talk about the same topic with other people and organizations on Twitter. To launch National HIV Testing Day CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, held a Twitter Town Hall. The Town Hall is an excellent way to build a nonprofit’s mission and vision, and an excellent promotional tool for an event or annual celebration.
- Involve a Key Leader – We can’t all get Ashton Kutcher or Demi Moore to tweet on our behalf, but most nonprofits have key leaders within their organization or on their board who have a knack for pithy (Twitter-friendly), mission-focused comments or questions. Offering access to a director or board leader grants twitter users an opportunity to engage effectively with a new audience.
- Start an intelligent conversation (by asking good questions) – Twitter users, like most people, get excited by the prospect of giving their opinions. Nonprofits often have time-sensitive or newsy questions that can spur debate and inspire great discussions. For example “Will you get tested on National HIV Testing Day? Why or why not?”
- Utilize favorites to organize your tweets and give users a quick way to see what your organization is about. Favoriting is a way of showcasing the tweets that you find most interesting or helpful. You can favorite your own or another’s tweet by selecting the star at the end of a particular update. These favorites will show in the right-hand column of your Twitter profile page.
- Create a poll – A more targeted way to prompt conversation amongst your twitter users is to post a poll relating to your work. Polls allow an organization to ask multi-layered series of questions and gain in-depth information. Sites like twtpoll and polldaddy allow you to design and then tweet a poll. These are particularly useful for multiple choice questions. For example, “Would you prefer to receive your health information via: a. Text, b. Mobile App, or c. Email?”
As with all social media tools, a regular presence, high quality discussion, and contributing to others streams of information will help build a loyal following.
And don’t forget to follow PKIDs on Twitter.
Join the conversation!