However, a serious lack of time, resources and strategic planning for social media and communication seems to put a hamper on many nonprofits’ participation on the second most popular social network.
Does this sound like you?
I don’t get Twitter.
I don’t know where to start.
I don’t know who to follow.
What are hashtags, anyway?
If you are actively using Twitter, do you feel like you are “tweeting in the dark”, spending more and more time on the network but getting less and less out of it?
I know the story. A few months (or years) ago, you signed up for a Twitter account. You dutifully wrote a clever bio, uploaded your picture and started tweeting. Maybe you followed some accounts and learned a bit about the culture and etiquette of the network before sending your first tweet.
After following a few people and building a following of your own, you started following more and more and retweeting more and more, all while spending less and less time engaging in conversations and writing original tweets.
You have now realized that keeping up with the never-ending stream of news and content on Twitter can be overwhelming and stressful.
Things have managed to get out of control in your Twitterverse. You are considering dropping the social network all together.
Now for the good news – You can take the power back!
You have the power to control your Twitter experience. Here are my top 6 ways to get more out of Twitter in less time:
1) Unfollow people.
It may seem harsh, but you need to go through the list of accounts you Follow and hit the Unfollow button several (if not many) times. Doing so will dramatically refresh your Twitter account.
Want to find out who hasn’t sent out a tweet in months, who doesn’t have an avatar (a red flag of a spammer) and who isn’t following you back? Use a free service like the popular ManageFlitter to clean up and manage who you follow.
You will feel lighter, cleaner and more in control of the content you see on Twitter after a good Follow purge!
You don’t have to officially follow a Twitter user to put them on one of your Lists! Lists are a great way to cut through all the Twitter clutter (Twutter?).
For example, I created an “A-List” of my favorite and most interesting Tweeps, in topics ranging from nonprofits to social media to women’s issues. Creating such a list saves time, creates community (it’s pretty awesome to be added to someone’s List) and filters out conversations that may be spam/coupons.
Kim Garst (definitely on my “A-List”) wrote a great post on how you can use Twitter lists for time management and profit.
Buffer’s users are completely enamored and obsessed with this incredible time-saving application. The brilliance behind Buffer is that you can create an individualized schedule of tweets to post at all times of the day and night.
This ensures a constant presence on Twitter and minimizes the “fire-tweeting” that occurs when you send 6-10 rapid-fire tweets in a row. I use it for all the Twitter accounts I manage professionally and it has significantly improved engagement.
Buffer is free (up to a point), and claims to increase by 200% users’ clicks on links, retweets, number of followers, Klout score, and more. Worth checking out for the time-saving benefits alone.
The Tweeted Times is a free “newspaper”-like electronic publication of tweets with photos, links and other helpful information.
This app is useful for conducting a quick scan of your tweets and seeing what is most popular with your specific Twitterverse. It also provides more information than can fit into 140 characters, but manages to keep things simple enough that it’s similar to scanning headlines and the lede paragraph of a newspaper article.
5) Be original.
If you feel like you are just regurgitating information and retweeting article links, try to actually write your own tweet.
Write a piece of helpful information, a summary of a news article or an idea for a future blog post and tweet it out. Do this a few times a week, and measure the results.
6) Stop syncing your Twitter account with your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
What started out as a time-saver is now annoying everyone in your online communities.
Frequent posts on Twitter are encouraged – posts more than twice a day on Facebook and LinkedIn are asking for a user to click the “Hide” or “Block” button. Twitter has a particular feel to it that cannot be easily copied in Facebook and LinkedIn (who wants to see all those hashtags and @mentions when not on Twitter?)
Start tweeting just for tweeting’s sake and I am positive you will reap the benefits of increased engagement (and fan appreciation) from all your social networks.
How are you using Twitter? Are there any tips that I missed? Please post your ideas in the Comments section. Thanks for reading!
Julia Campbell helps nonprofits raise money and connect with supporters using websites, email marketing, social media and other online tools. She is the Principal and Founder of J Campbell Social Marketing, a boutique digital marketing firm in Beverly, MA. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @JuliaCSocial