4 Twitter Tips and Truths
Where, what, and with whom did you have breakfast today? Who cares?
That’s how I viewed the early days of Twitter. It seemed like a bunch of narcissistic nonsense and a complete waste of time. My, how things have changed for Twitter in 5 short years.
Like many of you, I signed on to Twitter relatively early, December 16, 2009 to be exact. Not that I’m such a nerd that I marked that date on my calendar but I found it here. I had no clue about Twitter and little interest in exploring it back then. But I certainly didn’t want people to think I was a Luddite, so I opened an account and let it sit idle for 18 months.
Something happened last summer that caught my attention. I had written 3 guest blog posts for The Foundation Center who had tweeted them to their fans and followers. One Saturday morning I received a tweet from someone in Australia regarding these posts.
That certainly grabbed my attention and piqued my curiosity. How is it that someone from down under saw these posts and reached out to start a conversation? It was a Twitter phenomenon that I’ve since seen repeated in a variety of ways.
A 140 character message (that contained a link to a longer blog post) served to start a conversation. Granted there are times it’s challenging to have extended conversations 140 characters a pop, more on that below.
That series of tweets was my personal tipping point to wade deeper into Twitter and discover just what an awesome relationship building tool it is.
Here are 4 truths and tips about Twitter:
Twitter Truth #1 Twitter revolves around relationships.
Fundamentally, Twitter is a connecting point for relationship development. Relationships are primary, all else is derivative. Twitter is not a substitute for relationships, but a tool to develop, foster, and enhance relationships.
Twitter Tip #1 Good relationships require authenticity and mutual interest. Find yourself and be authentic in your tweeting. Don’t hide behind an avatar (your digital self) and don’t let other people tweet for you. Be personal, yet professional with your tweets.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@ClaireD), who leads social innovation for Twitter, suggests nonprofit organizations have 3 different types of accounts: the information account for your organization, personal accounts for your staff, and, a fundraising account if you are raising money via Twitter.
Twitter Truth #2 Twitter thrives on dialogues not monologues.
At least good tweeting does. Too many people view Twitter as a megaphone rather than a telephone. In other words, they are constantly in talk mode and rarely in listen mode. Tweeps see through that and most have a low tolerance for it.
Twitter Tip #2 Listen more than you talk! Make sure you authentically engage with others, ask questions, and when someone says or shares something profound, pass it along to your followers by retweeting it (RT).
Twitter Truth #3 Twitter grows on the law of attraction.
Like attracts like and Twitter is a global gateway for connecting with other like-minded people in your community or tribe. You just have to find where they are hanging out and how to meet them.
Twitter Tip #3 Use hash tags which are the # sign followed by a word that aggregates all of the tweets on that subject into a single feed so you can follow a conversation. Here’s a great list of 30 hashtags from @karvetski you might want to explore using.
Also participate in Tweetchats on topics you find interesting. If you’re new to Tweetchats, just think online conference call in 140 character or less messages.
Twitter Truth #4 Twitter multiplies your reach.
Having a tweet go viral and getting a bazillion RTs all of whom send $1 to your organization is probably a fantasy. I’m not aware of that happening for any organization yet. However, building on truth #3 everyone who follows you knows others who are also interested in following you. Getting people to spread the word of your amazing work (by RTing your tweets) leverages your reach and introduces you to new people and possibilities.
Twitter Tip #4 share interesting tweets and valuable content that your followers will want to pass along. Ask them to share (pls RT) and make it easy for them to share leave space for them to RT without truncating your message.
Remember, it’s not necessary that you create all of this yourself; actually, it’s better if you don’t. As you find items of interest by others, share what you find valuable by passing those tweets on to your followers.
My final Twitter Tip is jump in. Ultimately you want and need to be strategic with your use of Twitter. However, at first you just need to experience it to understand it. Then you can determine how it complements your relationship development strategy.
How's your nonprofit organization using Twitter? Please join the conversation by commenting below or by tweeting @kevin_monroe to share your experiences or ask a question. I'm collecting success stories and strategies to share in upcoming posts; I'd love to include your's to help others on their journey.