Is your nonprofit guilty of talking only about themselves on Twitter? Don’t be alarmed, it’s part of a nonprofit’s growing pains in social media. It’s hard to resist the urge to promote yourself when you or your organization does something great. However, the differences between Facebook and Twitter are subtle, yet can make a world of difference. For example, you need to tweet way more than you post on Facebook because tweets fly by in a nanosecond and people miss them. Tweet and repeat your same tweet (if it’s important) 3x’s per day. You also need to follow back because Twitter is about having conversations online and if you are doing all of the talking and not listening, well you become one of those people who won’t shut up at a cocktail party. Know what I mean?
Below I’ll cover three (3) things:
a) 7 suggestions to tweet about besides your own nonprofit,
b) tips for tweeting,
c) how to get more followers.
So what can you talk about on Twitter? Last year I did a post on 7 Things Nonprofits Can Talk About On Facebook Besides Themselves and although some suggestions will be similar, most of them are not.
- Tweet your newsletter. Every newsletter has an option to view this newsletter in a web browser. Copy and paste that link into Twitter with a catchy headline. (Not something boring like “X Nonprofit Newsletter” – no one needs to know it’s a newsletter that you are tweeting.)
- Quotes. I omitted this from Facebook list because quotes on Facebook don’t really work all that well. But on Twitter, people love them, in fact they are the #1 retweeted item on Twitter. Mix a few of them in per month. They don’t have to be about your cause, they simply need to be inspiring. Steer clear from being funny, that almost always backfires. And unless there was a quote in the news about your organization recently, avoid endorsement quotes because that’s talking about yourself again. Tip: Search for “Inspiring quotes” in your web browser.
- Retweet/Tweet industry news. Nonprofits are always afraid of doing this because they don’t want to endorse the competition or take a stance on a specific subject. However, tweeting industry news creates added value for your followers and it goes a long way on Twitter. And retweeting something another competitor tweeted isn’t the end of the world. It’s a tweet for pete’s sake, it’s not like if you retweet something from another nonprofit that you are going to lose that person as a donor. Throw ‘em a bone, they probably will return the favor in the future. People and organizations on Twitter reciprocate the love.
- Ask a question. If you don’t feel like tweeting the news, you can tweet a question and see who is listening or post a poll. Engage in a conversation with those who answer. It could be about the weather, current events, a holiday, etc.
- Give #FF (Follow Friday) shout-outs. Nonprofits can benefit from giving #FF or #FollowFriday shout outs to their loyal followers or RTers. Follow Friday is specific to Twitter only and it’s a way for people to recommend to their followers a list of other interesting people on Twitter to follow. They will most certainly mention you in a Retweet or a ‘thank you’ and that gets your name out there. Tip: Try something like, “#FF these generous RTers [then list some of the people who retweeted your content this week]” or “#FF these [your cause] evangelists! [list your top followers who tweet about your cause].”
- Share tips, trivia, or facts about your cause. Doing a daily fact or tip to your followers will not only educate them about your cause but also give them something to retweet or engage in a conversation about.
- Create a themed day. Pick a day of the week where you are consistent with posting something about that theme, whether it’s Manic Mondays, Tip/Trivia Tuesdays, Wacky Fact Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays (thirsty about knowledge?), etc. The point is people will start to tune in for just these tweets. Be sure to use a hashtag to track these tweets. (see #3 in next section).
When tweeting about yourself be sure to do the following:
- Tweet your events/fundraisers. Twitter is a great place to tweet about your upcoming events or fundraisers. Just be sure that you have a link to the registration or RSVP page.
- Be brief. Twitter only has 140 characters so make sure you say it in as few words as possible, and make sure your tweet is less than 100 characters so people can retweet your stuff, especially events and fundraisers. Learn how to say it 140 characters or less.
- Use a hashtag in your tweets. Hashtags are ways for people to find relevant conversations. It helps them find you by topic/cause.
- Twellow.com – An online directory where you can find other nonprofits similar to your cause and add yourself to the list so others can find you.
- WeFollow.com – An online directory for Twitter users, like the Yellow Pages for businesses. Add your organization and up to 5 categories.
- TweetAdder.com – A Twitter management tool that allows you to follow similar people on Twitter by keyword. It comes with a free trial of where you can gain up to 250 new followers. And if you like it you can upgrade to a one time $55 flat fee for one profile. Totally worth the investment.
- Twitterpacks.com - is a site where the community recommends fellow Twitter users by topic of interest or geographical area.
- Nonprofit Orgs on Twitter - this Twitter profile only follows nonprofit organizations and their staff members. Look at their “Following” list and find like minded nonprofits in your sector.