Tweet Your Way To Success

5 10 2010

If you’ve read anything else we’ve written, you know that we have said repeatedly that social media is the wave of the future and is definitely here to stay. There is no more evidence of this than with Twitter – the microblogging application that has exploded to a 900% (yes, that’s 900%) in the past year alone. Statistics show that five to ten THOUSAND new Twitter accounts are opened every day. Are you going to be the latest? If you aren’t already using Twitter, you need to get on board and fast.

If you want to use Twitter to help extend the reach of your nonprofit, you need to be smart about it. The process is more involved than just opening a new Twitter account and hope people will trip over themselves to read what you’re writing. You have to be smart and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

First, the basics. Twitter acts very much like other social media sites. You have “followers” and you can “follow” others. Every time you “tweet,” your followers are updated. Your first thought may be: “So if I get a lot of followers right away I can post a lot of things about what my nonprofit is trying to accomplish and everything will be perfect.” Not exactly. Yes, the more people that follow you, the more exposure you get, BUT, it’s not just about adding people for the sake of adding. You have to play it cool.

Too many business owners rush into social media applications, like Twitter, with the intent of using it to market their companies. Unfortunately, because many don’t understand how it works, their marketing fails miserably. We’re going to help you avoid the most common, and costly, mistakes others have made.

The first two steps in tweeting your way to success are easy. First, when you open a Twitter account, you will be able to import all of your email contacts from your address book – do it. It’s a great way to have your current supporters “follow” you and it allows them to see that you are growing. This can be exceptionally powerful with tech-savvy donors.

Second, once your account is open, make sure your new Twitter profile is complete. Don’t leave people guessing about who you are and what you do. Be sure to complete all fields of the profile, not just the required ones and don’t forget your website. Twitter even allows you to customize your profile with your own brand name. Take advantage of it – it’s free advertising.

Now it’s time to get into the “meat and potatoes.” One of the most common mistakes that new tweeters make is mistaking Twitter for a classified ads site – it’s NOT. In fact, if you are going into this new venture thinking the same thing, stop right there and let’s change courses. Here’s some food for thought:

  • Don’t promote your company directly. I now what you’re thinking…”Isn’t that why I’m doing this?” Yes, it is. But do it the smar way. Remember, this isn’t a classifieds site. Instead of directly promoting your company and begging followers to visit your website, try writing a short blog post and tweet that instead. Include a link back to your website and the traffic WILL come.
  • Follow other users and communicate! You won’t grow your followers’ list if you hang out your shingle and then disappear. You have to communicate, “tweet,” “retweet,” and comment on other users tweets. Doing this allows you to become more visual in the Twitter community and will make others want to hear what you have to say.
  • It’s important to communicate regularly. However, don’t tweet ever whipstitch. Sending out updates every five minutes will become annoying to your followers and send them running for the hills. Post good, relevant information but don’t cram it down their throats.

So now you know how to tweet but who are you going to tweet to? It’s easy enough to gain followers by following a few simple rules:

  • Invite everyone to follow you on Twitter. Add a link to your email signature, place a button on your website and add a graphic or link to your business cards.
  • Are you an active blogger? Every time you add a new blog post, invite your readers and blog subscribers to follow you.
  • Twitter has a built in Search option on their site. Use it to find profiles that interest you or who may be interested in what your nonprofit has to offer.
  • Use Twitter directories to find people with common interests. Two of the big ones are Just Tweet Me and Twellow.
  • Find out who is following your friends and follow them. They’ll follow you back.

People who use Twitter like the application because it’s short and to the point. They like it more when it’s relevant, short and to the point. Be sure that what you’re sending it out is something people what to read or know. If it’s not something you would be interested in, chances are your followers won’t be either.

One last tip – learn from the best. Find users (either from your own followers or through one of the methods above) who have hundreds and even thousands of followers and find out what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to ask what their tricks of the trade are and apply what information they give you. You can’t argue with success right?

If used properly, Twitter can put your nonprofit organization on the map like you never thought possible. Don’t be afraid to get out there and spread your wings. And don’t forget to Follow Us On Twitter!

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