Nine for Nine – Smart Twitter Tips

It’s February 9, 2015 and although I don’t publish Innovaision’s “These Nine Things” newsletter (subscribe here) on Mondays, I thought it would be appropriate to extend the NINE theme into today’s article. Herewith, then is a list of Nine Twitter Tips for Nonprofits that many readers will find interesting. Note that these tips are valuable for most any business!

1. Avoid jargon and abbreviations that will not be easily understood by people outside of your industry. The brief nature of a tweet might encourage this, but if you want to communicate across a wide spectrum, make sure your message is intelligible to the greater audience.

2. Use hashtags wisely. Sure, the #hashtag can draw attention to your message topic, and also make it easier to find tweets on a particular subject, but too many hashtags negate the value. Common wisdom is to use no more than two hashtags in any single message, lest your readers start to think of you as a spammer. Also, make your hashtags short words – #goodadoptions is much better than #findingsafeandhealthyhomesforkids.

3. If you are using a Twitter account that is designated for your nonprofit (and we recommend that you have one for exactly this purpose) use your nonprofit’s logo or an avatar (the small square picture in the upper left corner of your profile) based on that logo on your account to strengthen organizational “brand recognition”.

4. To encourage retweets, and allow followers to add their own brief comment or thought, consider putting 100 – 120 character limit on your tweets. If use the full 140 characters available on Twitter, there is no room left for any additional notes from the re-tweeter.

5. Tweet some interesting fact about your area of focus that will lend itself to being retweeted by your followers. Examples could include things like “The average American diet requires almost 1,000 gallons of water per day – more than the worldwide average for all uses, including diet, household use, transportation, and energy” or “A single drug-addicted person has a significant impact, often negative, on the lives of 4 to 10 other peoples – family, friends, co-workers, etc.”

6. Use Twitter lists (see instructions here) to keep your followers organized into logical groups such as Financial Supporters, Volunteers, Board, or Professional Colleagues. It will help you in so many ways!

7. Put a Twitter “follow button” that links to your nonprofit Twitter account on everything you post online. Blogs, newsletters, web pages, downloadable document are all good places to give people an easy way to connect with your account and become avid followers. Suggest that all email correspondence originating from your nonprofit staff include a link to the company Twitter account in the signature space.

8. Spread your tweets out over the course of the day! Twitter is like a stream running by your reader’s front yard, and they aren’t sitting out in the yard all day. If you bunch all of your tweets in the morning or after dinner, the chances that they will be missed entirely goes up astronomically. Send one message early, then one at midmorning, noon, mid-afternoon and so forth. This increases the chance that more of your followers will see at least one of your daily postings. If you are writing interesting content, they are likely to click through to see what else you wrote today.

9. Follow your followers, and follow people you hope would want to follow your nonprofit. It’s all about networking. When you follow a person or organization you think you might want to do business with, or ask for help from, they are more likely to follow you back. Similarly, following your followers and reading what is on their minds is a great way to get inspiration for your future tweets, to insure they are relevant and READ.