5 Reasons #Nonprofits are #Intimidated by @Twitter

So you’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter.

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When I first began hearing about the platform, I have to admit that I didn’t “get” it. I really didn’t understand how it worked, let alone the value in broadcasting random thoughts – why do I care what Justin Bieber ate for breakfast? As the platform has developed (and I put a little more effort into understanding it), it has continually evolved into a news and networking source – a place to send short, specific information to supporters, partners, and like-minded organizations while reaching out to potential new connections. Your organization may be toying with the idea of getting Twitter up and running, but are you intimidated by the platform? Here are a few explanations of the aspects of Twitter that might seem a little scary:

1. Twitter moves pretty fast.

If you “follow” more than 20 people, the home feed can seem fairly daunting if you’re trying to keep up with what everyone is saying. One great way to make retaining information more approachable is Twitter’s “List” feature. Almost like a digital filing cabinet of information stored on Twitter, you can organize those you follow into categories. Lists can be either public or private, which allows you to also peruse who others are following and what they find important. For more on lists, check out tadahsocialmedia.com’s Twitter Lists: What they are and how to use them. Hashtags are also a great way to sift through Twitter.

2. #Hashtags.

At first glance, hashtags can confuse, irritate, distract, and amuse you as you peruse through Twitter. Hashtags can help you seek out important information, follow conversations you care about, or participate in chats with like-minded individuals or organizations.

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The best way to think about hashtags is the organization of keywords or topics. It’s another great way to utilize Twitter as a digital filing cabinet. Once you approach them as a way to seek out the content your looking for or for others to find your content, they become much more approachable. Popular hashtags often times appear as trending topics, so utilizing these in your tweets can help include your organization when people search for a particular topic and is an easy way to connect with new users. Sometimes it’s important to remember to #keep #your #hashtag use in #check. Pick the most important topics and try to limit yourself to no more than 2 relevant hashtags per tweet.

Looking for some info on social media for nonprofits? Here are a few hashtags to get you started: #sm4np, #sm4sg, #nptech.

3. The @ symbol (AKA a mention).

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Included in front of user names / handles, this symbol can also be a bit distracting and confusing if you are new to Twitter-land. It is used to tag other Twitter users in your messages, reply to individual tweets, and start/join conversations. Often times, users will include a mention to encourage others to share information, but it can also be used as a conversational tool. You can also utilize this feature to give props to organizations you love or site content sources.

Want to spark a conversation with Media Cause? Check us out: @mediacause.

4. What do you mean I only have 140 characters?!

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Members of the nonprofit sector are definitely not short on passion. The best (and worst) part about Twitter for many users is the limited amount of space to get your message across. One benefit of the character limit is that it forces you to get rid of unnecessary “fluff”, allowing you to communicate precise information and pick out the essential points you’d like to communicate. For your supporters, it’s a great way to keep tabs on organizations they care about and an easy way for them to aid in promotion. Stressed about shortening your latest blog post to fit the character limit? Don’t forget that you can always include a link!

5. Time management.

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Many nonprofits avoid Twitter because they feel they don’t have the time or resources to manage a presence on the platform. While there may need to be a few adjustments to daily schedules and a some extra time added on to your organization’s marketing strategy, there are tools available to help make the platform more approachable and less time consuming. The best place to get started (and easiest way to get organized) is to formulate a social media content calendar that coincides with your overall strategy. Hubspot provides a great template to get started or model after.

As far as tweeting, there are several tools available to nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. Hootsuite is a great free (up to 5 profiles) social media management tool that allows you to schedule tweets in advance and keep tabs on the lists and hashtags you care about. Sprout Social is also one of my favorite social media management tools. It’s relatively inexpensive and allows for easy collaboration between multiple managers as well as scheduling and detailed engagement reports. Here at Media Cause, we also offer a variety of search and social media services to help your nonprofit make the most out of digital marketing.

 

Feeling a little less intimidated? Jump right in! If your still looking for a little more insight, feel free to ask questions below or on the Media Cause Facebook wall.

#HappyTweeting

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