14 Reasons to Use Twitter, and More Tips
The whitepaper "Twitter Jump Start" by social-media marketing consultant John Haydon is a great guide for small nonprofits looking to use Twitter to engage their audiences and increase online donations.
It provides clear steps for how organizations can get started using Twitter, complete with screen shots of the Twitter sign-up page and friend search page; tips for creating a profile that stands out and creating a custom Twitter background; 10 tips to increase online donations using Twitter; a "Twictionary" with definitions for Twitter terms; and survey results of 257 nonprofits using Twitter.
Haydon also notes the following 14 benefits for organizations using Twitter:
- Building brand. Twitter allows an organization to build and refine its image by testing how people react to posts.
- Getting feedback. Organizations can use Twitter to post questions and get quick responses by people knowledgeable on their causes.
- Hiring staff. Twitter users who respond via Twitter are bound to be tech-savvy and already in tune with your cause.
- Directing traffic. The more an organization has a presence on Twitter and develops mutually beneficial relationships there, the more people will refer traffic to its site.
- Networking. Organizations can use Twitter to connect with like-minded people, establish consistent and deeper relationships, and form partnerships.
- Managing the organization. Twitter can be used as an organizational intranet that connects employees to one another and allows them to collaborate when working on group projects, especially if some people work off site.
- Notifying donors. A Twitter feed can notify donors about important cause-related news. Donors can subscribe via mobile or RSS to be instantly updated.
- Providing event updates. Twitter can be used as a way to inform event participants about event happenings/changes.
- Finding donors. Haydon suggests you do a search for keywords related to your cause using Twitter Search, and then follow users with an affinity for your cause. Make it easy for people to connect to their Web sites via their Twitter pages.
- Broadcasting the news. Use Twitter to encourage citizen journalism, providing real-time commentary on events related to your cause. This can spark further discussion as other Twitter users spread the message.
- Scheduling meetings. Twitter is a great, informal platform on which to organize impromptu meetings.
- Reading news. Organizations can mine Twitter for useful news posted by other Twitter users. Subscribe to Twitter feeds for news related to your organization's cause. Tweetbeep.com and other readers let you receive, organize and view news updates quickly.
- Making new friends. Twitter lets an organization befriend and track the messages of other users.
- Blogging. If your organization's executive director doesn't have time to blog, Twitter can be a great alternative, as the content and time committment are minimal.
Click here to download the report.