Twitter Tips

Step 1: What's your objective?

Twitter can be a terrific tool for any of the objectives listed below. Which one will help enhance your overall communications strategy?
  • Keep current supporters engaged
  • Inspire conversation to support communications goal
  • Create buzz around an offline event before, during, and after
  • Get new ideas and feedback on programs and services
  • Program support to clients
  • Drive traffic to web site or blog
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Coordinate meetings with officials and policy leaders
  • Identify Influencers like journalists using Twitter and encourage them to use you as a source
  • Identify and build relationships with allies & supporters
  • Tweeting key points about your issue
  • Becoming a source for journalists and bloggers
  • Learning from nonprofit colleagues

Step 2: Who is the target audience you hope to reach?

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Step 3: Getting Started

Step 4: Your Profile

Take a look at different Twitter profiles to get inspiration and ideas. Here's a list of Nonprofits on Twitter.
Here's some terrific tips about how your profile can attract more followers. Here's some advice on how to customize your background.

Some design points:

Background Picture: Create an attractive background image in photoshop (File Dimensions: 2048 by 1707 pixels total Branding Dimensions: 80 pixels by 587). Use the same colors that you have on your blog or website for marketing consistency. List your web-page, short bio, LinkedIn Url, Stumbleupon address. Include An “Interesting Fact” on your background image or bullet points about your programs or tag line.

Location: Under the “Account” tab within the “Settings” area, enter your real name, city and state. This way, people will be more likely to find you.

One line bio: Write a bio that’s under seven words so people can get your organization much faster. Also, keep in mind this how the search people also picks up Twitter ids.

Short Url: Keep your web-site address short by using You can also track who is clicking through to your web site or landing page.

Don’t Scare Them Away: Use a Twitter landing page on your web site that gives the 101 on your organization and links to content that people following you might be interested in.

Here's a great list of Twitter background tools and tutorials if you want to go deeper.

Step 5: Develop Content Strategy

  • If you plan to do 5 tweets per day that’s 35 tweets a week. Only do 1 out of 5 tweets about your stuff.
  • You can save time by pre-scheduling tweets in your Twitter client (CoTweet), but leave time to respond in real time.
  • Begin with brainstorming some conversation starters around your programs and events.
  • Conversation starters are questions, follow up points, and follow up content.
  • Consider What Gets Retweeted Most Often?




Next think about sharing other people's content, useful links, or having conversations with influencers. Here's a check list that can help:

Retweet Your Followers

Share a link to news relevant to your field w/question

Share a link to news relevant to your field w/summary of best point

Inspirational quote

Something funny

Ask questions

Introduce people in your network

Answer questions

Ask an industry expert a question or retweet

Find an influencer in your network and be nice to them

Step 6: Build Your Twitter Following Through Listening and Engaging

Get to know your Twitter followers, a little bit each day. Here's some tips.

Start with a couple of people who you know or who represent the group of people you want to engage with. You can search through your followers' followers or the people you follow, followers. You also can try searching for people's names on Twitter.

Have conversations with influencers in your topic area. If they reply, it’s likely to attract a few followers with similar interests. How to find influencers? Use Friend or Follow to download a spreadsheet of your followers and analyze who is influential.
Use Klout to check the influence of specific users. Here's some additional social network analysis tools that will help you visualize your network and find influencers.

Once you've found people, keep them organized on Twitter's handy list feature. You can create open or closed lists. Creating lists of supporters, staff, or related organizations is a great technique for expanding your network. Create your own lists of people you find interesting. This compliments the people you enjoy following, and encourages them to follow you back.

Use the Twitter Search: Simple key word searches can yield valuable information. However, sometimes you'll need to hone your search using the "Advanced Search. A few minutes spent with key word searches my yield some good hashtags to search. You can also search on different terms using Tweetscan here's Philanthropy and don't forget about searching on Twitter hashtags for specific events or topics to find people who may be interested in your organization.

Follow people you aren't following. Some will follow back! Try to engage them in a conversation. See if you like their Twitter feeds.
You may want to keep following them regardless of a reciprocating follow back.

Add your account to Listorious so people can find you. Other Twitter directories like Mr. Tweet can help, too.

Introduce your Twitter followers to each other so they can garner more value. This is what called Network Weaving.
Participate in hashtag # referenced conversations or start your own conversation using a hashtag (#) for an event. These are usually being tracked by several folks and can lead you to larger followings with people that have similar interests. Monitor key words and phrases and respond appropriately.

Here's a basic list of what to twitter and some tips on getting your tweets retweeted and more on the Art of Retweet. Need more Twitter conversation starters? Here they are.

Promote your Twitter address on other properties, online (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google etc.) and offline (business cards, for example). Integrate Twitter into your outreach whenever possible.

Be sure to track your click throughs and retweets with and backtype.

Step 7: Add Twitter Apps To Be Efficient

To get started, use the Twitter Web interface, but as you get more comfortable with Twitter, you will find it limiting. There is a whole ecosystem of Twitter applications that can make your Twitter work more effective. You'll find these over at OneForty. I've created
a list of basic apps that you will need to get started. These include desktop apps, mobile apps, and tracking apps.

Desktop applications built for Twitter allow you to read replies and direct messages and offer a more custom browsing experience. My personal favorites are Tweetdeck and Co-Tweet (a good client if you can't install software on your work computer because it is web based.)

Mobile applications built for Twitter allow you tweet while you are out and about. Choosing a mobile app depends on your personal preference and of course, what phone you have. I like Tweetie for the iphone.

Want even more Twitter Tools, knock yourself out over the OneForty which is the appstore for Twitter. There are also some posts that lincludes lists and descriptions of Twitter apps, like this one from Brian Solis or more tips from Laura Lee Dooley's Twitter Presentation for Emetrics.

Step 8: Advanced Engagement Techniques

Use hashtags for your events, programs, and open up different channels for conversations.

You can also host different online/offline events through Twitter. Here's a post about the different options.

Tweet ups are terrific for getting to know your followers and encouraging offline action. Here's a tip sheet.

Try a series of Twitter interviews like the 20x20Here's a step-by-step approach to implementing a Twitter Interview.

Step 9: Measure, Reflect, and Improve

Twitalyzer calculates your influence based on your signal-to-noise ratio, generosity, velocity and clout, and it also allows you to calculate a score for any other Twitter user you wish to track. You're tracking relative increases and decreases to your influence over time and helps you refine Twitter strategies.

Don't forget to track the funnel - from influencers, awareness, engagement and conversations. More here.

For more resources and to learn more about Twitter, see my Twitter Resource Sheet on my wiki.