I’ve been having a lot of fun these past few weeks using social media to network for Zealous Good. Specifically, I’ve been running our Twitter handle. I’m always amazed at the amount of connections and learning experiences to be had with only 140 characters! I’m sure those of you on Twitter have all probably felt intimidated at some point by the sites 24/7 whirlwind of activity – I know I have. Now that I’m really figuring out what tweeting can do for us at Zealous Good, I want to share what I’ve learned so far about the best way to use Twitter as a business or nonprofit.
- Don’t have one way conversations. The point of social media is to be social! Look what others are saying in your interest groups, and respond! Not everyone can be Justin Bieber with 11 mil followers.
- Don’t use your business twitter for non-business purposes (unless it’s applicable!). Raving about Beyonce or planning your grocery list doesn’t belong here.
- Don’t follow random people for the sake of getting follow-backs. Trust me, you’ll be annoyed by a twitter feed full of off-topic tweets, and it’s not going to help you in the long run.
- Do focus on frequently providing quality updates and links to interesting content (at Zealous Good, we tweet 15+ times a day). As much as possible, have original content. When sharing links, briefly explain what you’re linking to! Unexplained links look spammy.
- Do use the Search and Lists features to find people with similar interests. Also, use the lists yourself to organize who you follow.
- Do acknowledge your followers and friends..it’s not all about you! Direct message when appropriate, and “@mention” them! This not only makes you seem more like a “real person,” but their followers will see your mention, and might share common interests!
- Do retweet content that you love, and mention the author! Who doesn’t love being mentioned? It also helps to relate it to you; for example, introducing a RT with “Check out our partner company’s event pics!” instead of just reposting content shows your relationship to the topic.
- Do join conversations. Watch out for tweets mentioning “chats,” usually an hour or so of time where those involved hold a conversation through tweet updates on a specific topic.
- Do use hashtags to mark specific topics. For example, we often use #nonprofit, #Chicago, #donation…etc. Make sure your hashtag is an uninterrupted word! It will not work if you have spaces or punctuation (for example, #nonprofit works, but #non-profit does not). Also, see who else is also using the hashtag. You might find a new person to follow!