The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

4 Simple Ways to Leverage the Power of Twitter for Your Nonprofit

Did you know that Twitter is currently home to approximately 230 million active users who send over 500 million tweets per day? Did you also know that many nonprofit organizations, such as the American Red Cross, have used Twitter as a tool to execute successful fundraising campaigns and build relationships with their community?

Used strategically, Twitter can help you bond with supporters, raise awareness for your cause, and promote fundraising campaigns. Despite this fact, many small nonprofits fail to take the time to implement a Twitter strategy that drives results. Luckily, by using the following four steps as a guide, you can make sure that your organization does not fall into this group.

1. Maximize your presence. Before you begin to think about implementing a strategy, you need to create or complete your Twitter account. Create a Twitter handle that is easy to spell and allows people to easily identify your organization. Beyond your account name, pay attention to the basics, especially the inclusion and accuracy of pertinent profile information. Use a profile and header image that positively represents your organization and its cause, ensure your bio communicates your organization’s purpose, and include the location of your organization as well as a direct URL to your website. Merely taking the time to do this will help others find and connect with you.

2. Design your strategy. Once you have optimized your profile, design a strategy that will allow you to engage and connect with members of your community and your target audience.

· Define your purpose and set goals. Do you want to raise awareness for your organization’s mission? Do you want to use Twitter as a way to promote your fundraising campaigns? Do you desire to build relationships with existing supporters? Decide what’s most important to you and build your social strategy around that.

Set specific targets that will allow you to accomplish your core marketing goals. For example, if you want to increase awareness about your cause, create a hashtag to share with your followers. Then, track the number of mentions, retweets, and favorites you receive in a given time period, as well as the number of times your unique hashtag is used. Remember, your goals should be easy to measure so that you can track your progress and improve your results over time.

· Build your network. Building a network of the right followers is crucial to implementing a successful strategy. Start by following business partners, advocates, experts in your issue area, and existing volunteers and members. Additionally, you can use social media tools such as Topsy to identify influencers associated with your organization. This will help you to showcase your expertise and spread the word about your cause!

· Do your research. Although Twitter is not rocket science, you do have to know the basics. Familiarize yourself with the five different types of interactions and incorporate them into your daily tactics.

The Tweet. A message from a Twitter user, may not exceed 140 characters in length.
The Retweet (RT). A re-posting of another user’s tweet that appears on your Twitter timeline.
The @reply. A public update that contains your response and the hyperlinked username of the person to whom you are replying.
The Direct Message. A private message you can send to your followers.
The Mention. Any tweet containing a username within the tweet, including the @reply.

In addition, take the time to master the art of the hashtag (#). Put simply, when you use a hashtag in front of a word or phrase within your tweet, your tweet will show up in any search results for that term. Use your Twitter sidebar, or tools including Google Alerts, Social Mention, Radian6, Trackur and Twitter’s search tool, to identify which hashtags are trending at any given point in time.

· Develop quality content. With only 140 characters to engage your followers, saying everything you want in one tweet can be a challenge. Keep your tweets creative and appealing by asking questions, providing statistics, and including images, videos and links. Always be sure to reply to those who mention you.

3. Integrate Twitter with your existing marketing efforts. To maximize your reach and audience engagement, your Twitter efforts should complement existing marketing initiatives. Don’t forget to add a Twitter button to your website, embed a live feed on your website and blog, and link to your other social accounts, such as Instagram.

4. Measure your results and calibrate your plan. As you execute your strategy, you must measure and track your performance over time to ensure that you are reaching your goals, but to also ensure that you are constantly experimenting and making changes to improve performance whenever necessary. Use social media monitoring tools such as Klout, Twitter Analytics, Demographics Pro, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite to help you manage your nonprofit’s Twitter account. Explore each of the options and choose one that provides the features that will best allow you to track the progress of your goals.

By taking the time to correctly set up your profile, design a strategy, integrate your Twitter with existing marketing efforts, and measure and monitor your results, your organization will start to leverage the power of this popular social site. Remember to use these steps as a guide, but never be afraid to experiment and see what tactics best engage your nonprofit’s target audience. Most importantly, take advantage of this tool as a cost effective way build relationships and fundraise for your cause.

DJ Muller is president and founder of WebLink International, the creators of WebLink Connect™ the innovative, insightful and intuitive association management software with superior customer support. WebLink empowers hundreds of trade and professional associations and more than 500,000 small and medium businesses to help them acquire and retain more customers. Learn more at weblinkinternational.com. For more Twitter tips and tricks, download WebLink’s free eBook 4 Simple Steps to Help Your Organization Tackle Twitter.

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Linda Lombardi

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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