Posted by: erinjoneil | March 7, 2011

Using Twitter to Create Personal Connections with the Community

“Why does everyone need to know what I’m doing all the time?” “How can you get your point across in just 140 characters?” “I don’t have time for another social networking website.” #ifIhadanickle… (that’s called a hashtag and we’ll learn about it in a minute)

The nature of Twitter is much more personal and creates connections you can’t find on other social media websites. Twitter makes potential donors and volunteers and newbies to your mission feel closer to your organization. Watch this short video to understand how Twitter works.

 

As you’ve learned, the first step to creating a meaningful presence on Twitter is finding followers who share your same interests. You can do this by searching for the Twitter pages of other organizations with missions similar to yours and following their followers. Don’t worry about being too aggressive by following people who have no connection to your organization (soon they will!). Twitter is not as private as Facebook. Hopefully, in turn, those people will follow you and their followers will follow suit.

However, it’s not enough to simply gain followers. Engaging with your followers on a personal level is what makes Twitter unique and will help your organization connect with your community. Use replies (@) and retweets (RT). When one of your followers replies to something you have said, reply back with a thanks or continue the question. If you see someone you follow make a point you agree with, retweet it and share it with all of your followers. Twitter is about community and sharing ideas and information.

Hashtags (#) are used to compile all tweets on the same topic in one place that can be accessed by clicking on the hashtag symbol. Use this function to engage all of your users in a live chat at once. Are you rallying community members to support a legislative act in your organization’s favor or are you looking for feedback on your organization’s programs and services? The Twitter hashtag engages followers in a discussion that you should monitor and contribute to.

Enabling outside resources, you can use Twitter to do anything from getting signatures for a petition to integrating your organization with a nationwide effort of the same mission. Check out these resources:

Act.ly: allows Twitter users to sign a petition simply by tweeting about it.

CommonDeeds: a free iPhone app that connects people in the same area interested in the same cause and puts them in competition against other teams to fundraise and volunteer.

50 Nonprofit Influencers You Should Be Following on Twitter: a no brainer

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