Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Twitter Tips for Nonprofits and Beginners

Over the last few years, I've trained dozens of individuals on Twitter best practices and tips. Some of them were tweeting for themselves, others on behalf of organizations or small businesses. They all held in common many basic areas of confusion concerning Twitter best practices, no matter what their area of expertise. So in order to better streamline this process, (and be prepared for the next round of students), I have taken the liberty of organizing my best tips here for those just starting out. I hope beginning tweeters will find these useful, and I plan on a Part 2 blog post coming soon on frequently asked questions about Twitter. In the meantime, please enjoy these tips, and feel free to follow me @carriewriter.

  • Create cohesive profile (good photo, tagline, link, etc. Do not use the default egg!)
  • Review relevant content for your area
  • Review influencers in your area
  • Ask yourself: what are my goals, short-term and long-term
  • Start Following influencers, contacts, and people you meet at live events 
  • While a tweet is140 characters, use 100 to give others room for retweets and comments
  • Understand Twitter lingo, such as RT, @mentions, @replies, DM, private vs public, Favorite
  • Platform and posting tools: Try to avoid tweeting using Twitter plain, but opt for 3rd party platform such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck. Buffer is my favorite app for scheduling tweets when I'm busy.
  • Pay attention to your Stream/Feed and get a feel for the discussions going on in your niche area
  • Don't know who to Follow? Take Twitter up on its suggested Followers to start with, you can always be more discriminating later. Also, merge with your Contacts in your Gmail and address books to connect with those you are already communicating with.
  • Decide your tweeting schedule, voice, and style
  • Know keywords for your area, this should drive your content
  • Include your Twitter handle everywhere ( e-signature, article publications, business card, etc.)
  • Be nice and Share Share Share
  • Tweet images, both graphics and photos
  • Create and be strategic with Lists
  • Understand and use hashtags
  • Take advantage of Twitter's Advanced Search tools
  • Learn common hashtags for your niche and begin using them, particularly for events if you are organizing them, or taking part as a live tweeter
  • Mix it up-- multimedia approach adds interest (ie articles, podcasts, vids, images, etc.)
  • Use Metrics and assess regularly to rate your progress
  • Set up Google alerts for keywords and terms
  • Live tweet an event using apps like Tweetchat


  • Making tweets too long--over 140 characters makes it impossible for anyone to comment or RT
  • Not using link shortener (owly, bitly)
  • Being too self-promoting
  • Not tweeting often enough
  • Not following back followers who are a good fit
  • Not taking advantage of national/global trends
  • Being boring or showing off
  • Being myopic 


  • Be newsy - Twitter is after all a newsfeed
  • Keep Following Follower ratio balanced
  • My favorite: find your favorite Influencer and see who they follow and who is following them. Chances are you'll discover cool people
  • Pay attention to best times of day, frequency, and days of week for your audience
  • Have a strategy for who to Follow
  • Don't be afraid to have a Voice and Style, this is what sets you apart in a crowded platform
  • You're only as good as what you link to - if you link to flat website pages or bad or outdated links, it will reflect poorly on you
  • Be immediate - people react quickly to their Twitter feeds
  • Keep your goals in mind -- if you're growing your restaurant business and start tweeting about baseball, you're going to confuse your audience
  • Save time by using the best tools out there for your purposes. Many of those proficient on Twitter only tweet a few minutes a day.


Do you have more Twitter tips and resources? Share in the Comments, and happy tweeting!

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