To Tweet or Not to Tweet

What is Twitter? I think of it as the electronic version of talking to your neighbors from your back porch. The difference is that your neighbors can be anywhere in the world. Twitter allows people to communicate with large audiences about big and little things important to them or to their nonprofit.

Twitter is one of those social marketing tools that everyone is always talking about but is it of much value? I started using Twitter a number of months ago but didn’t really understand it. Over the last few weeks I’ve started to find it to be really valuable. Here are a few things I’ve started to do.

  • Microblogging- if you don’t want to write a full post but want to regularly update people about your nonprofit.
  • Asking questions on topics you want wide variety answers from other people.
  • Growing a support base that can later be used to promote your organization or an idea.
  • Great way to keep a constituency informed of news articles, posts, and other information (connect to your RSS feeds).

How do you use Twitter? Have you found it to be a valuable resource to your nonprofit? Follow A Small Change on Twitter @infosmallchange. As a resource on how to use Twitter and maximize it’s effectiveness I recommend you check out the Corporate Dollar Blog.


7 Responses to To Tweet or Not to Tweet

  1. Bob McInnis says:

    I am even more of a newbie on Twitter (just went over on Monday with apprehension) @brownbaggingit

    I have already had 2 q’s answered, hooked up with a new volunteer, found a couple of informative articles and had initial contact with some media folks.

    I feel like that is valuable stuff but can really see how if left to its own devices Twitter could be an addictive time consuming tool.

  2. Leo says:

    For those interested in more info on Twitter, I’d recommend “Twitter: Why You Should Care and “Twitter in Plain English – a couple of friends of mine.

    Like any form of social media, Twitter is about engaging with people. Twitter’s model is that *they* must follow *you* – that means your twitter posts (or “tweets”) need to add value to your potential followers so that they’ll follow, read and hopefully engage. The difficult part, perhaps the most difficult part, is knowing what to tweet. The reputation is what I call “tweating”, where people tweet what they eat – which gets very uninteresting very quickly. At the other end of the spectrum, companies are tweeting (links to) press releases – of the two, I’ll take the food.

    Where twitter shines is in its ability for you as a poster provide relevant information that applies to your audience while simultaneously showing that you are human. People are looking for humanity and connectedness on the internet.

    My personal space is tech-support, and my differentiator against a lot of competition is that I’m an individual, a person. Twitter fits right in as I tweet not only new blog posts, but also interesting things I run across in the tech space, along with occasional personal anecdotes. In other words I have an intentional strategy that both adds value for my followers, and shows me as being “real”.

    The question becomes, what should the strategy for your non-profit be?


  3. Lindsey says:

    Great tips! For nonprofit organizations, I also recommend trying to connect with your donors in any way possible. Ask them questions about why they donate and what they want to see happen with your organization.

  4. Patric says:

    I think twitter is a great tool and I have found tonsof useful info being shared there that I wouldn’t have found on my own. I think nonprofit organizations have to be very careful with it as you grow an audience by providing interesting info, not by always asking. Many times we have trouble building the online relationship before asking for something. At my agency we battle with the “field of dreams” problem, thinking that if you build it they will come. I have seen twitter as an 80 percent give, 20 percent take. It can definitely increase your exposure. I am approaching it right now personally, hoping I can connect people with the place I work.

  5. Leanne says:

    Hey Jason,

    Good question on how people use Twitter. Personally, I’ve taken Twitter and “tweaked” it to fit my own needs/desires. I used to have blogs (yes, plural) and through those blogs I made many friends. Unfortunately, it was taking up too much time to check everyone’s blogs out and update my own. Add emailing other friends and family not to mention staying up to date on Facebook and you had one very tired Leanne.

    Soooooooo, what I did was contact everyone from every social media venue I had met them through or used to communicate my personal news and invited them to “follow” me on Twitter. Not everyone has opted in and that’s okay but it’s been such a relief to be able to see. at a a glance, what’s going on w/ my friends and let them know what’s going on w/me.

    When I see something I want more info. about or vice versa, we take it to email, IM or phone. For me, Twitter is ONLY used with those I know well. I started to use it professionally but found it too complicated to keep my personal and professional info. separate.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Scott Rooks says:

    I have used twitter to advertise my article writing and keep everyone posted and up to date on my blog. Whats nice is that it’s all automatic so I don’t actually make the post it happens when I publish. Great little tool but it can be huge waste of time if not careful.


  7. […] To Tweet or Not to Tweet (A Small Change) […]

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