If your organization is not having the desired impact on Twitter, it may be because you are tweeting your organization short. In other words, you may be missing essential ways to build an engaged following. Here are five things we have observed about the way nonprofits tweet that are having an impact on your success:
Under-valuing @mentions used to retweet (rather than followers using the retweet button) – You may think that it is better for a follower to use the retweet button rather than using an @mention to retweet your tweets because your “brand” shows up more prominently. Therefore, you are using all of your 140 characters to tweet to force followers to press the retweet button. The problem with this thinking is that your followers have a following of their own. They have followers who want to read what they tweet and they look for their tweets, not yours. A retweet using the button shows in their followers’ timeline with your brand and your logo with tiny print showing that they retweeted it. When you leave plenty of character room, you are inviting your followers to retweet your tweet using the @mention, so that their followers will actually read and respond to the tweet.
Pushing out, but not pulling in – You may be pushing out a lot of information about your cause, which is great. But are you also pulling in your followers to engage them in conversation? The best tweets for pulling people in are actionable items. Ask people to do something. But be careful! If all of your actionable tweets are about voting for you or donating to you then followers will lose interest. Instead, ask for input and opinions or tell them about a great need you have and ask them who could help you. Also, make attempts to retweet your followers’ tweets, say thank you every time someone mentions you and tell compelling stories that people want to retweet.
Making audience assumptions - So often, tweets from nonprofits assume the audience: 1) is already familiar with your organization 2) knows all of your jargon, lingo, acronyms and issues and 3) have read your last five tweets. I constantly see tweets that make no sense to a person who has not been following you or may not be familiar with your cause. Instead write a number of your tweets for the public at-large. Remember to use who, what, when, where and why in your tweets. Use links to expand on the subject, but be sure to use shortened links like bitly.
These last two items won’t be read by many organizations because they really do apply to those who never read a tweet or respond to people. So, if you are reading this, please consider bringing these items the attention of organizations that need to know!
Not following back – So many organizations have a follow/following ratio that shows that they really aren’t interested in engaging with anyone because they rarely follow back. When deciding whether or not to follow someone, give them the benefit of the doubt first. Actually look at their twitter page! Trend toward following rather than not following.
Ignoring people – There are many organizations tweeting automatically from Facebook or applications to Twitter who never acknowledge a single response. There are also organizations who don’t respond to direct messages or even @mentions where people send a comment or question. How do I know this? Because I have tried to communicate with many organizations who do not respond. Every person you ignore is a person who will remember that they reached out to you and you ignored them! More than once, I have tweeted to organizations telling them how much I love their mission and was surprised that I did not get a message back to give me more information about how I could get involved!
If you don’t have enough time, enough followers or enough material to tweet effectively, consider outsourcing your tweeting task! Commulinks can help. Our services are affordable and effective! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a price sheet.