RoadMap: Is Twitter a Good Tool for Your Organization?
What can you say in 140 characters that will make a difference to your organization's success? Is it really worth the time and effort it takes to set up an account on Twitter to interact with your community members? Maybe, yes. Maybe, no.
Let's answer the second question first...There are several things you need to know before you decide that Twitter is right for your organization:
- Define your community...a community is made up of individuals who are already fans of your product or cause or who will become fans when they learn about what you are doing. Define the demographics of those groups of individuals.
- How can I best connect with my community members? Do the members of your community use the Internet? If so, are they on Twitter? Once you know the demographics of your community, you can make a pretty good guess about whether you will find members of your community online. You will also know if they are likely to be using social media, including Twitter, to connect with others.
The answers to the above questions will help you decide whether Twitter will be a good way to connect to your community. If you do not think that a segment of your community uses the web because of age or economics, do not waste your time using Twitter or other social media. A basic website will satisfy your current technology needs... however, remember that technology use changes over time so make a commitment to review your assumptions regularly so that you can build a more active web-presence as your community becomes more active online.
If you believe that at least a segment of your community is active on the web and on Twitter, by all means open an account and use Twitter to connect with your community members.
How do I do this? What do I say? Here are some tips to help you become successful:
- Establish clear goals. Make sure that you are clear about why you are Tweeting.
- Strive to create a good balance between providing helpful information about your organization and providing content that has value to your audience.
- Listen as well as talk. Twitter is a social medium and it is meant to be a platform for two-way conversation and making connections.
- Providing value in 140 characters is not easy. Link to relevant news stories and blogs, ask thought provoking questions, retweet others, and recommend other individuals and groups to follow.
- Give solid information about your organization...don't self-promote. General information about your programs and events, mentions of your organization in other publications, interesting facts and a simple call-to-action are ways you can get the word out without appearing self-serving.
- Be flexible and change your approach if you are not getting the results you want.
Visit NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) and Twitter 101 for additional information about the using Twitter in nonprofit and commercial organizations. Contact us for additional information about successful Tweeting.
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