Update 1/27/2017: This post has been updated since its original publishing date to reflect new options and information.
I used to suck at Twitter. Really, really badly. And I’ve had to invest a lot of time and research into developing my Twitter skills.
Luckily, my work account is now finally catching up to my personal account and I have the bragging (and educating) rights to show you how you can build up your followers and do outreach on the second biggest social network out there. And because I already did all the hard work learning everything, I can distill it for you so you won’t have to take as much time as I did.
Twitter is a powerful tool for spreading your message and gathering new followers. However the one problem many Twitter users have is the inability to gain a substantial number of followers.
This “How-to” guide will help you build up followers on Twitter for your nonprofit and run a much more efficient social media campaign.
Once you’ve set up a bomb Twitter profile for your nonprofit, this is the first key action of any successful social media effort. No one will follow a social media account which produces no content. Your Twitter account should include regular updates, retweets, and favorites to give your followers information about your nonprofit and what it stands for.
According to Bufferapp, you should tweet about three times a day on your account, since their figures show that around the third tweet, engagement begins to drop off.
Setting up tweets ahead of time can certainly work to your advantage, since you most likely won’t have time to regularly address your Twitter account multiple separate times each and every day.
Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag!
The hashtag has been one of the most important additions to the realm of social media since it allows us to categorize and easily search terms and subjects across all social media platforms. It can be used to start Twitter campaigns, signify support or disapproval of a viral issue, and make your tweets more visible to the general populace.
But how many hashtags should you use in each tweet? Just like anything, too much of a good thing can actually work against you. According to How To Hashtag, a tweet should ONLY use about two hashtags so it doesn’t come across as “spammy” to your followers.
You want to inform your followers, not drive them away.
Building your Twitter audience also requires relevant hashtags for your audience and message. Rather than take shots in the dark, research, track, and measure the effectiveness your hashtags with these tools:
These tools will help you direct your tweets to the audiences you hope to reach, especially when relevant events and topics are trending, allowing you to seize on the momentum.
Believe it or not, books are still popular, but no one wants to read a wall of text every time they log onto Twitter, or any social network for that matter. People log onto social media to fill the free (and not so free) time in their day and entertain themselves. Your Twitter campaigns need visuals to break up the text and increase engagement, which in the end leads to more activity and followers.
Twitter explored engagement numbers behind the most popular tweets by verified accounts and the results were interesting:
- Photos in tweets average a 35% boost in retweets
- Videos averaged a 28% boost
Online graphic design tools like Canva are perfect for social media visuals with preset visual sizes made according to the optimal dimensions set by each social network.
Think of Facebook and blogs as your outlets for long form posts, while Twitter is your source for quick news and topics. Keep it short, simple, and visually engaging!
Setup Automated Follow Messages
This is one area that users often overlook, even I did before learning the error of my ways. Sending a direct message over Twitter after someone follows you is important, not only to solidify that follower for your Twitter account, but to also provide them with basic information about your nonprofit, such as your website or information about a new campaign. But just like scheduled tweets, you probably don’t have time to type out a message to each new follower.
This is where tools like Crowdfire come in.
With Crowdfire, you can setup automated follower messages which send as soon as a new follower joins your ranks. When setting up the message, be sure to include a link to either your website or some other important information you want your followers to know about.
With automated messaging you can avoid typing messages all day and ending up like this poor soul.
Clean Up Followers vs. Following Ratio
A lot of Twitter users (I used to be one of them) are guilty of having a completely disproportionate followers/following ratio, mostly due to the fact that they simply don’t know who to follow to make sure they get a follow back. For your nonprofit Twitter account to be taken seriously, you should always strive to maintain more followers than those you are following on Twitter.
Having 100 followers while following 643 users is a very unhealthy ratio, especially for a nonprofit organization.
After all, you are on Twitter to get your message out, not read the tweets of every other person inhabiting the internet. But how do you discern between which users you should target and follow who will return the favor?
Luckily, tools like Tweepi can help you sort out who you should be following and who you should dump.
Tweepi connects with your Twitter account to let you see the follow ratio of every person you currently follow so you can choose who is worth keeping on your following list and remove those who provide no value to you. It also gives you the ability to search up lists of like-minded nonprofit Twitter users with good follow rates to ensure your content is given the best visibility and interaction.
The ultimate goal of your Twitter account is to maintain a significant following that engages your tweets and shares your content. Something like Tweepi is an invaluable tool to make that happen.
Have you ever used any of these tools or strategies? How did they work for you? Have you tried managing your social accounts through a centralized tool or even your nonprofit software system? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and as always, happy tweeting!
Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.