Tweeting for a Cause

August 14, 2011 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

Tweeting for a Cause: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Getting Started with Twitter

Sumac Research. August, 2011.

While Twitter may not be ideal for every nonprofit organization, it has the potential to be a powerful marketing tool for some. It can help spread the word about a need, your cause, or a particular campaign to thousands, even millions of people. If your organization has decided to take the plunge and give Twitter a try, here are the basics you’ll need to know: from creating an account and getting followers to what to tweet about.

Step 1: Creating an Account

When you create a Twitter Account, you’ll have to pick a Twitter username and write a bio. Be sure to pick a username that is associated with your organization. We are @SumacTweets. When you write your bio, try to make it short and sweet. You want to tell people what you do and why it’s important in a sentence if possible. Here’s a good one from charity: water:

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. http://www.charitywater.org

The next thing you’ll have to decide on is an avatar. Whatever you do, don’t keep the default Twitter egg: no one trusts the egg. You’ll have to decide whether you want to use an individual’s picture or the organization’s logo. There are some benefits to both. Often times people feel more comfortable speaking to an individual, but a logo is good for branding. In the end, some organizations end up with multiple accounts – one for the organization and others for individuals associated with the organization.

Lastly, you’ll want to choose a background for your account. If you’re not too worried about branding, you can get a free background from TwitBacks. If, on the other hand, you want something more professional and branding is important, you can have one custom made for $89 from Twitr Backgrounds.

Step 2: Follow and Be Followed

Now that you have an account set up, you’ll want to start following people. Follow people who might be interested in your organization and from whom you might be able to gain some knowledge and insight. With any luck, they’ll follow you back. You can find people using Twitters “Who to Follow” tool or you can find and follow lists of people. There are several websites that group Twitter users into lists, so you can easily find who to follow. wefollow is one of them. Don’t go overboard with following though. You should try to stay at at 1:1 ratio for who you are following vs. who’s following you.

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