Afraid of Twitter? 5 Quick Tips

Laurel Dykema of Mission India

Laurel Dykema of Mission India

I’ve been tweeting for a while so I sometimes forget many people are still wary of Twitter. Facebook has become a norm in nonprofit communications, but Twitter still has many hold outs. Laurel Dykema offers a newbie perspective on tweeting and how to get started. ~Kivi

Guest Post by Laurel Dykema of Mission India

I’ll admit it—when all my friends were joining Twitter, I stayed far away.

I couldn’t see the allure. Twitter seemed like a high-maintenance Facebook page, requiring shorter and more frequent posts. And then, I assumed—with so many tweets being flung about every day—I’d have to slog through endless piles of useless “garbage” content … just to find a few gems worth noting.

No, thank you.

When I started at Mission India, I got them started on social media with Facebook. Just recently, Mission India decided to dive into Twitter.

And, two weeks ago, I was asked to start “tweeting.” Oh, goody.

But what I found is that Twitter is actually not as scary or overwhelming as I thought. If you’re afraid to try Twitter, let me encourage you to stick your toes in the “social media” water and try it out.

And to help you on your way, I’m sharing my first two weeks of wisdom with you.

5 Quick Tips for Starting on Twitter

1. Learn the lingo.

“What the heck is a #hashtag?” “What’s the difference between a DM and a Tweet?” “What’s #FollowFriday?” Find the answers to all these questions (and more!) at The Twitter glossary.

2. Track down other nonprofits.

Know of a nonprofit similar to yours? Or simply have one that you admire in other social media? Watch their tweets and see what works for them: Is it pictures? What #hashtags are they using? What sort of content is getting retweeted, commented on, or “favorited” the most?

3. Collect potential “tweets.”

As you come across phrases, stories, or pictures with “tweetable” potential, save them! Maybe you want to make a folder dedicated to future tweets. (Also, one extra little tip: To save you time and creative energy, encourage your coworkers to contact you if they have an idea for a great tweet!)

4. Sign up (and make your Twitter account pretty!).

Go to Twitter. They make it easy to sign up! Once you’re in, take the time to make your Twitter profile look good! Select your background, header, and profile images carefully—I’d recommend keeping these photos simple, with little to no text. Fill out your brief bio (and don’t forget to include your website!).

5. Tweet. And don’t panic.

It takes a while to gather followers on Twitter. And remember: you’re not going to see as much interaction as your Facebook page gets—especially not at first. But be patient and keep posting (at least once a day)! If your content is relevant, surprising, inspiring, and/or entertaining, people will engage with it.

BONUS tidbit: The 10th commandment of Twitter is “Follow So That Ye May Be Followed.” A great way to gain followers is to follow others!

Happy tweeting!

Laurel Dykema joined Mission India in 2010 and currently serves as the staff writer and social media guru. She enjoys a well-turned phrase, Downton Abbey episodes, and a good cup of masala tea.

  • http://twitter.com/Ali_GDAE Alexis Boyle

    Laurel ~ What a delightful and timely post! I am going through the exact same situation at my organization. After an executive level departure, I ended up managing all of our communications channels (which was fine — it’s where my background is). We had a decent presence on Facebook, and in anticipation of a crowdfunding experiment, an advocacy campaign, plus a major fundraiser in the Fall, we decided to start Tweeting. I think we’re enjoying some relative success so far …
    For your readers, I would emphasize number 5 – don’t panic! – and perhaps add that your organization’s PIO (or whomever holds those responsibilities) ought to build a personal Twitter account to begin developing relationships with media/bloggers/elected officials (in our case).
    Thanks again for a great post. I was relieved to see that 1) we’re not the only nonprofit in 2013 that is only just now adopting Twitter and 2) I might actually be on the right track!
    ~ Alexis

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