Tweeting basics for Nonprofits

One of the things that nonprofits struggle with is where to get started with Twitter and finding content to tweet. Remember that this is a social platform so look for content beyond your own messages!

Here are some suggestions about what to tweet.

Your media statements and opinion pieces

Nonprofits often have a wealth of content that is being written for newspapers, research reports or annual reports. Each opinion piece or blog post can be 5 - 7 tweets -- just be creative and use different quotes, excepts or statistics throughout the day. 

Things people care about.

Your tweets should connect with your audience, and be relevant to them and interesting to them.

People’s stories. They make the tweet personal. 

Human stories make your tweets resonate with people and help them connect with your cause. 

Quotes and empowering messages

Quotes that are related to your work and your mission are a great way to get some attention and get retweeted. Good quotes and empowering messages are very popular on twitter -- just don't overdo it!

Promote your cause, also linking to the other organisations

Remember the core reason you're tweeting -- to inform people about your cause. Use creative ways of promoting your cause, and linking your work to other related organisations. 

Create conversation by creating discussion through your tweets.

Try to create a discussion with your tweets, encouraging people to share their opinion or experiences.  

Ask questions

A great way to elicit a discussion is to ask questions, but you can also use your questions to request assistance (volunteers, funds, services, equipment etc.)

Choose a topic

Focusing on a topic for a week. Many nonprofits have several different programmes with different focus areas; choose a particular area to focus your tweets on and gauge reaction to your different areas of work. Make sure that the topic has a unique and interesting title so that you can create a catchy hashtag.

Call to Action

Your tweets should include a focus point and call to action. What do you want people to do with the information you're sharing? Even simple phrases like “please check out our latest video” or “please retweet” are examples of calls to action. 

Appreciation

Thank your followers for their support and for their tweets.

Links

Include links to videos, articles and events. Remember you can shorten the links using Bit.ly or Tinyurl.

Hashtags

Hashtags are a very simple way to participate on Twitter. A hashtag is a word preceded by a hash (#) which is embedded in a tweet to emphasize and highlight important words or phrases, and to show the subject or context of the tweet.

  • Check hashtags regularly and see if there are any that relate to your cause and tweet using that hashtag.
  • Create your own hashtags that are catchy, unique and related to your organisation.
  • Hashtag the name of your event, or certain phrases or terms that matter to your organisation.

  • Take advantage of the events around you. Like Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes most events have a designated hashtag connected to them (#prayformadiba #budgetspeech or #obamainSA), tweet using such hashtags or create your own linked to events.

Retweet

  • Retweet your @mentions
  • Leave enough characters in your tweet so that people can retweet them.
  • Choose a retweet format, the best is to include the reply in the retweet

Schedule

Use tools to make tweeting easier: Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Bufferapp, amongst others, allow you to schedule your tweets to appear around the clock or at times you prefer. 

Live tweet

Don’t be afraid to live tweet your events. It makes people feel like they are at the event. Tweet photos, quotes and other interesting things taking place

Schmooze

Follow related causes and people and engage with them. Search for charities, organisations or individuals you can relate to and follow them.

Routine

Come up with a themed day every week where you focus on one thing (e.g. #FundraisingFriday), or a “Tip of the Day”. Creating a routine also helps people get involved and prepares them to participate.

In the days before the event tweet things like “Don’t forget that tomorrow is #fundraisingfriday, tell your friends!”

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is a way people recommend their followers in their tweets to other followers to follow on twitter. Look for interesting people and accounts and start recommending. Most people will be gracious enough to follow back.