Social Media

Grow Your Nonprofit Twitter Account with These Hacks

Whether you want it or not, Twitter is going to continue to revolutionize communication in the near future. Day after day, the...

Written by James Burke · 4 min read >

Whether you want it or not, Twitter is going to continue to revolutionize communication in the near future. Day after day, the strength of 140 characters (now 280 characters) takes social media by storm. We come across different things every day that are “hot” on social media, and Twitter plays an important role in this.

Tons of nonprofits are on Twitter, but only a few have been able to tap into this platform’s potential. According to studies, nonprofits who use Twitter raise far more money online than NPOs that do not use Twitter. Apart from the ability to effectively raise funds, it can also result in increased awareness of a cause, more active participation of volunteers, branding, and much more.

So how can you leverage this platform for the benefit of your nonprofit organization?

Make sure your Twitter profile has a cohesive look and voice. 

Start with the basics. Make sure you upload a branded profile picture, banner, and ensure all your basic profile info is properly filled out. It’s important that users know exactly what organization they’re interacting with when they see your tweets or land on your profile. 

Having a consistent voice with the team is also incredibly important. Make sure that everything you post on Twitter stays consistent with your mission. If staff members are also going to be interacting with your Twitter account or tweeting on your behalf, make sure that their personal profiles and content are aligned with your mission as well. This keeps messaging strong and consistent.

Publish Relevant Content.

People are going to follow you because they see you as experts on your cause and all issues related to that cause. Stick to what you know best and publish content relevant to your organization. Follow profiles relevant to your cause as well, so that you can easily retweet, reply, and otherwise engage in the content they publish that you think would add value to your page. Posting or engaging in content that doesn’t relate to your organization or its mission can create a disorienting and disjointed voice. Keep messaging consistent to achieve that cohesive tone and messaging we mentioned above. 

Delight your audience by telling stories.

The power of storytelling to move and mobilize people is incredible. Without a doubt, your nonprofit has many stories that add value to share with your followers. Look for ways to show how your organization, in practice, affects people’s daily lives. Share written and video testimonials of those who have been positively impacted by your work, as well as stories from those within your organization. Giving fellow employees a voice on social media helps familiarize your followers with your organization. When donors see the faces and stories behind your nonprofit, you’re more likely to gain their trust and build a stronger connection and sense of community

Interact with your followers.

One of the most interesting resources that your organization can use on Twitter is polls, as they allow direct interactivity with the public which is essential for engagement. Get your followers opinions on serious relevant topics, like that controversial deforestation law that will be voted on, or something more fun, like what kinds of gifts to include in this year’s raffle. Regardless of the topic, polls allow you to engage with your audience in a way that shows them their voices are heard. 

Golden Tip: always answer all your organization’s tweets, comments and posts.

Find the sweet spot when it comes to the number of posts.

Wondering how much you should be posting on Twitter? First of all, this answer can vary depending on how many followers your organization has. When you first start tweeting, there’s a chance you’ll only have a handful of followers. That’s ok; as you build a following, the quality of your posts is much more important than the quantity. Keep your posts relevant and engaging, and don’t worry too much about posting more than a few times a week. 

For organizations with larger followings, there’s a formula that helps determine how often and what types of posts you should publish: It’s called the 5-3-2 model. The 5-3-2 model states that for every 10 tweets you publish, 5 should be relevant content curated from other pages (retweeting a relevant fact or posting a link to a relevant article), 3 posts should be content created by your organization (an impact statistic, a testimonial, an announcement, etc.), and 2 posts should be personal or fun (a fun poll, an introduction of one of your employees, etc). This model helps strike a balance and turn your page into a hub of information and engaging content.  

Post tweets with images to increase engagement.

According to data collected in a study conducted by Buffer, it was found that tweets that contained images have an increased engagement by 150%. If you’re stressed about finding images, there are a couple things to keep in mind. One is that when you post a link to, say, an article on your timeline, usually the URL will automatically populate an image associated with that article. 

Another helpful image resource to keep in mind is the easy-to-use design site Canva. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create eye-catching graphics on this site. Has your organization decreased child hunger in your city by 30% this year? Add that statistic to a graphic and post it to your timeline to catch the eyes of your followers. 

In general, don’t sweat trying to get images for everything you post. Use your best judgement. If you don’t think an image or graphic will add value to your tweet, don’t add one. 

Use Twitter Ads to reach more people.

After following a nonprofit organization on Twitter, the user is 50% more likely to take an action on the website of the brand in question, for example, a donation, newsletter sign-up, or volunteer sign-up.

Twitter ads can help NPOs reach new people during the most critical fundraising periods. If your budget allows for it, think about paying for Twitter ads. Twitter ads gives you a number of options for objectives, whether it’s promoting your profile in general, a specific tweet, a video, etc. 

Hashtags: Use them consistently.

When it comes to hashtags, use them when they are relevant, but don’t overdo it. One of the most effective use of hashtags is creating a hashtag that’s unique to your organization. Encourage your followers to use your hashtag when they’re interacting with you or tweeting about topics relevant to your cause. When running a campaign, create a hashtag unique to the campaign, so that all tweets and media associated with that campaign will aggregate under the hashtag.

Tip: Tweets with more than two hashtags are not very effective and can lead to a 20% drop in engagement.

Use Twitter analytics.

The Twitter analytics dashboard summarizes all the information you need about the performance of your account and your tweets. Using this feature, you can understand what is working for your handle, and you can use the data obtained to learn how to improve.

Social media is nebulous — its rules and trends change quicker than most of us can keep up. Keeping on top of the latest features and best practices can feel like a full-time job, but we’re here to help. Keep coming back to the blog to get the latest Twitter tips and tricks.

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