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Using Twitter as a nonprofit

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We talked to Beverly Robertson of the March of Dimes about using social media as a nonprofit in one of our TakeFives earlier this year, and here’s what she had to say:

TweetReach: Do you feel the approach or reliance on social platforms is different for a nonprofit organization? What would you recommend to one that is just starting on their social strategy, or is uncertain of how to even begin?

Beverly Robertson: Social Media is critical not only for delivering mission messaging, but in introducing the organization to a new audience, as well as keeping track of what people are saying about you and your mission. It also is critical to take the opportunity to thank your donors and volunteers publicly for all of their hard work and support. I cannot tell you what a tremendous response we get for doing that.  My recommendation is jump in, but listen before you speak.”

If you’re a nonprofit who would like to get more out of social media, here are some tips to get started on Twitter:

    1. Listen before you speak: see what other non-profits have to say in their Twitter profiles and down their timelines before you jump into tweeting.

    2. Listening to other accounts can give you a good idea of etiquette and basic interactions, but be sure to use your organization’s voice and be human

    3. Find supporters and follow them. Interact where it’s appropriate: proactively answer questions and provide links to more information

    4. If someone is spreading misinformation about your organization on Twitter, you have options:

      a. Address them and gently correct the information, sharing a link for them/those following the conversation to read more

      b. Send out a tweet from your own account that does not directly address the account spreading the misinformation, but corrects it                                       Either way, try to avoid getting into a verbal battle with someone on Twitter. Neither party ever looks good.

    5. Take major issues offline: if someone comes to you on Twitter with a big problem, make sure you’re mutually following one another and then DM an email address where a deeper discussion can take place

    6. Check for hashtags related to your cause and monitor them; this is one way to track what’s being said about your organization

    7. If there aren’t any obvious ones, create a hashtag and start using it. Encourage your supporters to pick it up as well.

    8. Regularly monitor search results for the name of your organization, both the version you have for Twitter (such as @marchofdimes) and any iterations of the name without the handle: March of Dimes, MoD, etc. (Use Twitter’s search, create columns in TweetDeck and even run a free snapshot report with us.)

    9. Consider hosting a tweet chat. Those interested in supporting your cause could find you through another’s timeline or the chat hashtag, and will have a chance to interact with and follow you, as well as ask questions.

    10. Finally, be sure you have easy-to-find, working social buttons on your website! Supporters won’t know where to find you if you don’t tell them.

Want more information on how nonprofits used social media in 2012? Check out the infographic below featured on Mashable (and if you have any tips for us, leave them in the comments!):

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Written by Sarah

April 17th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Guides

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