“I honestly didn't understand the value Twitter could add to our communications. A key piece of our strategy in 2011 will entail efforts to raise our visibility in CO and the US. I now feel that Twitter may be one on the most valuable tools to implement our strategy.” - a Colorado Nonprofit
Recently, CommUlinks of Colorado conducted a survey that asked Colorado Nonprofits what they have gained in measurable results from Twitter use. The organizations responded overwhelmingly (62.5%) that they have made important networking connections. Following closely behind those connections, 56.3% said that they have increased supporters who advocate on their behalf.
What does it really mean to make great connections on Twitter? One organization commented in our survey that they still need to understand more about how to turn followers on Twitter into better connections, but some organizations have already figured out how to take that bird and run with it in truly creative ways.
One extremely creative nonprofit reported that they turned a Twitter relationship into a face-to-face partnership which has reaped enormous benefits. The organization went to a Twitter party hosted by one of their followers which connected them with some very influential bloggers who are also on Twitter. As a result, they have been able to increase their visibility and credibility and have reached people they never would have reached otherwise. This organization also ties their Twitter account to a blog, and because of that they have been asked to submit guest blog posts on prominent blogs.
Another way in which nonprofits are making valuable connections is in finding and following other, like-minded organizations on Twitter. Very frequently these relationships result in partnerships or in helping to get out a message that the organizations have in common. Tweeting about an awareness week or alerting others quickly about a national news story that impacts several communities happens every day on Twitter. These are win-win situations.
As we have said in previous blog posts, your communications on Twitter cannot be a one-way stream of tweets that are simply asking people to do something for you. To turn these relationships into something that really matters, you need to get to know some of your followers and find ways to support them and partner with them. The way to start is by actually reading the tweets of your followers – and responding to those that you can, or asking them what they do. Look at their profiles on Twitter and you may be surprised how many are connected in ways that you need! We are finding that nonprofits generally are not reading the tweets of their followers much at all, and missing so many opportunities. Every day, we see organizations who do not even notice when people are tweeting about them.
CommUlinks will be posting more on this blog about the other results of our survey. If you have not yet read our report to help you become more effective on Twitter, you can read it here (pdf):