Are You A Twitter Newbie? 7 Resources To Help Get You Started

Lori Halley 10 March 2014 0 comments

It’s already March and you haven’t acted on your New Year’s resolution to get more active on Twitter! Perhaps all of the buzz around the Oscar selfie has inspired you.

But Twitter isn’t just for celebrities. According to Pew Research’s Social Networking Fact Sheet, as of September, 2013, “18% of online adults use Twitter”. In fact, Twitter stats indicate that “there are 230 million active users on Twitter! And those users post an average of 500 million Tweets every day.”

Individuals, companies, membership organizations and non-profits are using their 140 character tweets to, for example:

  • Share news and information with their communities
  • Raise awareness of a cause, event, etc.
  • Find and connect with similar people and/or organizations
  • See who’s talking about a specific cause, issue, industry, or even their own organization
  • Engage and build their brand or following

Here are some tips and resources to help... 

Perhaps you’ve been following some folks on Twitter but haven’t really started any outreach yet.  If you’re ready to join the “twitterverse”, I’ve gathered together a round-up of blog posts and other resources to help any newbie wanting to start tweeting personally or for your membership or non-profit organization.

1.  Twitter 101 

You can start at the source - the Twitter website. This post offers an overview of Twitter and a list of “Cheat Sheets” that include “Everything you need to get started”: 

Twitter for Non-profits

2. Twitter Tips for Nonprofit Tweeple ... People - Joanne Fritz (noprofit.about.com)

Joanne Fritz tells us that “Nonprofit organizations, consultants, fundraisers, and marketers are all over Twitter.” Along with explaining why she’s on Twitter, in this post Joanne offers some helpful tips for new tweeters - here are a few excerpts:

  • Follow lots of other people first. Don't worry, your own followers will come.
  • Do not tweet a whole bunch of times all at once. Tweet frequently, but don't act like a spammer. 
  • Do promote your own stuff, but make sure that it is only a moderate percentage of what you are tweeting.
  • Thank people who retweet you. You can use Twitter DMs (direct messages) to do so, but public thank yous to several people at once work well.

3. Eight Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make When They First Join Twitter - Heather Mansfield (Nonprofit Tech For Good)

You’ve heard what to do to get started – but this post offers some cautions about what not to do.

After following “nonprofit organizations, nonprofit staff, nonprofit service providers, and activists on Twitter”, Heather Mansfield suggests she gets “to see the Twitter debut of many nonprofits”. So in this post, she offers up the “eight very common mistakes that newbies make that unknowingly diminish their Twitter ROI from day one.”

Included among the 8 common mistakes are:

1)  Following others without having yet uploaded an avatar.

2)  Not entering your nonprofit’s website.

7)  Posting all marketing content.

4. Top 10 Nonprofit Hashtags To Spark Social Good - Jill Havlat (Nonprofit Hub)

In this post, Jill Havlat suggests non-profits “begin by listening if your nonprofit wants to start a conversation with the public. The best conversationalists don’t dominate discussions—they contribute to them. The same is true for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits that capture the public’s attention engage in conversations started by others, particularly through participation in Twitter’s top nonprofit hashtags.” 

Jill lists 10 hashtags, including: #activism; #causes; #nptech and; #socialgood. Check out the post for the full list of 10.

5. How Are Associations Using Twitter? - Amanda Kaiser (Socialfish)

In this guest post on the Socialfish blog, Amanda Kaiser suggests that many associations are using Twitter as “just another promotional channel” to “push out messages like, “come to our event, read our article, volunteer for this committee, join us at the 6PM reception”. While all of these things are important for our members to know perhaps pushing all of the time is not so engaging.”

Amanda offers tips for how to use Twitter to also “help you serve your members” and to:

    • Discover
    • Connect
    • Celebrate
    • Serve
    • Promote

6. Best Studies On How To Get More ReTweets - Allyson Kapin (Frogloop)

Allyson Kapin (Frogloop) notes that “One of the best places to go for Twitter data is Dan Zarrella at Hubspot. Dan has spent the last few years studying millions of Tweets and what resonates with people on Twitter. So if you are looking to amplify your advocacy efforts on Twitter, check out some of Dan’s most important data. However, it’s important to note that integrating some of these strategies will only take you so far. If you don’t have compelling content but your tweets are the recommended 100 characters, you still won’t get very far with this channel.”

Allyson offers some data on “Recommended Tweet Length to Generate ReTweets”; “Effect of Hastags on Retweets”; “Images impact on retweets” and more.

7. The Six Types of Twitter Conversations - Lee Rainie (Pew Research Center)

Recently, the Pew Research Center, in association with the Social Media Research Foundation, released a new report that “provides an aerial view of the social media network.” The researchers analyzed thousands of Twitter conversations and identified six different conversational archetypes - which they outline in an infographic (click on the thumbnail to check out the full blog post & infographic).

We hope this rich resource round-up helps you start tweeting up a storm! 

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 10 March 2014 at 8:30 AM

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