We’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter recently… in fact, too much. Here are some of the tips we’ve picked up about how you can amplify your nonprofit’s twitter presence for internet stardom:
1) Find an authentic voice
Just as you’ve grown your nonprofit over the years, developed goals, projects and a constituency, you’ve also fostered an understanding of how best you can reach out to your target audience. Use that voice in your tweets: be authentic so your audience will have something to connect with. Heather Mansfield, author of Social Media for Social Good advises “your return on investment will be minimal …if you don’t strategically work toward the goal of finding your Twitter voice from the very beginning.”
2) Tweets are more than self-promotion
It might be tempting to tweet about your nonprofit’s own projects, or compulsively re-tweet other people’s content, but if you only do that your twitter feed is going to seem mighty slim. Think about what interests your audience: provide your opinion on local topics, new health trends, research, reports etc. The more novel and interesting content you provide your audience, the more they’ll trust you as a respected source. “Tweeting only about your nonprofit is boring” Mansfield advises in her book, “…you’ll need to mix it up.”
3) Tweet often, but not too often
Talk about signal/noise ratio! Many twitter feeds are full of tweets that don’t have much substance, but they think that tweeting often will make up for it. The result is a torrent of garbage into people’s feeds, which is a quick way to get people pressing the ‘un-follow’ button. Instead, decide on a measured pace for your twitter activity: one that you’ll be able to keep fresh with novel updates without compromising quality or overwhelming your users. Mansfield recommends tweeting four to six times per day.
4) Use hashtags wisely
Twitter can be a great tool for surfacing new information, and using hashtags can help ensure your tweets will surface. For instance if your nonprofit focuses on homelessness, then adding #homeless to a tweet will help surface that message to people searching for that topic. But, don’t get too carried away: ironic hashtags won’t help your search ranking, they make your whole message seem less serious, and they’ll take away from your precious 140 characters that you’ll need for your message #amiright?
5) Twitter is about more than discovery and influencing: have personal conversations
It would be a mistake to think that Twitter is entirely about influencers: yes, a lot of people follow Lady Gaga, but there’s much more to Twitter than that. People use Twitter to keep up to date with their friends, converse and send private messages. It’s as much a broadcasting tool for celebrities, as it is an online groupchat. So, don’t underestimate your followers: they will be your biggest Twitter resource. Follow them. Respond to and retweet their messages. Soon they’ll be re-tweeting your posts on to their followers, and that’s how you’ll grow your own subscribership.
For more killer tips on your health nonprofit’s social media presence, check out Mansfield’s book Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits.