Non-profits: The Seriously Simple Twitter Strategy (Part 1)

Historically non-profit organisations (NPOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and many other acronym organisations that are up to all kinds of good are so often over-worked and under-paid.

Sadly, each organisation’s marketing team (realistically I’m speaking about one person here) is responsible for a whole lot more than just marketing. How on earth will they have time for one more task while keeping on top of a hundred others in a world of eMarketing that just doesn’t seem to cater to the “keep it simple” strategy?

The answer is the Seriously Simple Twitter Strategy that I specifically designed for non-profit organisations, but it’s easily applicable for anyone with a message to spread.

Have you been to this Board Meeting?

A small group of people who have a great deal of knowledge about your organisation and its cause are together to talk about future goals. Membership topics are covered, project funding is discussed, news in this field is shared between coffee breaks, and then all of a sudden someone chimes in to talk about social media. It’s as if this Board Member sprouted angel wings and a halo and dropped a few buzz words about eMarketing and Web 2.0 and all of a sudden everyone in the room is giving them the slow-clap for this revolutionary idea. Then, these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed executives turn to you, the Marketing person, and say: “You can handle that, right?”

Part of you wants to immediately say yes, as you know it will boost your worth to the organisation and, hey, you know these platforms already. Easy right? But there’s something inside you telling you to hold off, because in just 3 minutes of hyped up idea discussion they’ve covered about 15 hours a week of extra work on top of what you already do on your Saturdays.

Don’t Panic, here are the Core Principles to Live/Tweet by…

While shuffling public relations, outreach efforts, and sometimes even the organisation’s website, budgetary constraints often don’t leave a lot of funds left over for social media marketing. So you need to find a way to incorporate this tool into your daily routine to keep your feed relevant and your time effective for this new responsibility.

  • Just dive in: Start a Twitter account, use your organisation’s standard graphic and use a standard background if you’re unsure about customisation. Fill in your profile completely and professionally. Then follow about 30 Twitter users that you like and admire and sit back and just learn from their examples.
  • Strategically Follow: Don’t make the mistake of mass following. Before you follow ask yourself does this person add value to my Twitter feed and/or would this person be interested in what I’m tweeting about. Many organisations I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise have introduced themselves to me by following me on Twitter. So search for those with common interests to your cause, such as green-living, or AIDS awareness and you will touch the lives of a few you may have missed otherwise.
  • Don’t dwell on it: If you ever find yourself taking a long walk on the micro-blogging beach then walk away. If you are asked a question on a Direct Message (DM) or @Mention that you don’t have the answer to then pass it along to someone that will. Tell your follower that you have gotten the message and will respond shortly and come back to it later.
  • Delegate tasks and responsibilities: You may be the voice but you can ask for help on the script. Ask people in your organisation to contribute with bite-size information to help keep the feed interesting and develop a flag system for emails regarding urgently needed information. Flagging emails with the prefix “Twitter” will come in handy when you are seeking answers to a question asked from a follower that you don’t have the answer off-hand to.
  • Record your Retweets: The main reason for a follower to unfollow someone is because they simply don’t like your tweets. Keep a running log of all your tweets that have been retweeted by your followers and you’ll see what information you are posting goes the farthest, patterns and similarities will emerge for you to use to refine your tweets to be even more viral.
  • Create a Twitter Reference Document (TRD): This document should serve two purposes, the first is a place for you to jot down all your ideas for tweets; the second is to keep a record of communications. After a few months on Twitter, you’ll see that people have the same questions and comments that warrant the same responses each time. Keep a master list of this for your reference to save you time and also to hand over to anyone that may be assisting you in the future. Also, by keeping something as simple as a running document, it’s easier to tweak tweets there than on a live feed and easier to get the creative juices flowing to produce larger amounts of content and, voila, you have tweets for weeks!
  • Set up a TweetDeck account: You can see everything you need to easily in once glance, manage multiple accounts, and schedule tweets throughout the day. TweetDeck has a lot of other great features and worth an hour or so of exploration, trust me it’s time well spent!
  • Log-in to Twitter only twice a day: This may seem harsh, but if you’re looking to save time then you have to avoid the temptation! Use one of your log-in’s as a time to perform this strategy and the other as a time for follow-up and Direct Message/ @Mention checking. Once you have more time to dedicate to Twitter there are many more ways to use time on the site that provide valuable eMarketing potential as well as Online Reputation Management.

    With these tools you will be able to easily build, launch, and manage a Twitter page for a non-profit or just about any organisation that needs a basic Twitter presence. In Part 2 of the Seriously Simple Twitter Strategy we will detail a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly routine to work by that will make you feel like the Master of the Twitter-verse!

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