If you were to characterize different social networks, you might say that Twitter is a loudspeaker.
In many ways, this is true. Most interaction on Twitter happens in the form of retweets or favorites, with very little actual conversation. Tweets are fleeting, disappearing into the depths of your feed once newer ones show up. And for the purposes of your nonprofit, you’re likely more concerned with what you say to your followers than with the tweets that appear on your feed.
But there’s more functionality to Twitter than that. Here are three ways to use Twitter lists to your advantage — especially to connect with younger audiences.
1. To get organized
Keeping track of the people you follow is difficult when they show up together in the same feed. Not only does the sheer number of tweets mean that you inevitably miss many of them, but the hodgepodge of content is hard to follow.
Think of a few groups of people or organizations you’d like to follow more closely. Here are some examples:
- Other individuals working in your field
- Regular attendees of an industry conference
- Your co-workers
Make separate lists of your chosen groups. Now, when you view those lists, you’ll see just those people’s tweets without any of the unrelated noise. Keeping track of these accounts will give you a better ambient awareness of what’s going on in your field (or in your office!).
Note: Accounts you follow get a notification that you’ve added them to your list, whether you choose to make it public or private. (In other words, don’t name your lists anything you wouldn’t want them to see.)
2. To help your constituents
Others can subscribe to public lists you make (without having to follow those individual accounts), so lists created with your constituents in mind can be a helpful and fun resource. Some ideas:
- The personal accounts of any tweeting missionaries or field workers in your organization
- Your favorite bloggers or motivational figures (especially spiritual ones, if your organization is religiously affiliated)
- An “office picks” list of your staff’s favorite fun accounts, whether they be comedians, spoof news websites, or celebrities
To invite others to follow these lists, tweet their URLs. Anyone will be able to click and subscribe. And get creative: they’re a great opportunity to show that your organization has personality!
3. To connect with thought leaders
Think about your organization’s mission. Who else is working alongside you in your goal? Make a list of other successful people and organizations whose causes are similar to yours. (If your mission has several pieces to it, consider making separate lists.)
Not only will this be a helpful list for you to keep track of, it will also show your constituents that you care about your mission beyond your organization’s own success. Not to mention that it will get the attention of those you add to the list: you may get a few follows from those individuals, and you’ll gain credibility by showing that you’re staying on top of trends in your field.
Twitter is a powerful tool, and it’s worthwhile to spend some time tapping into this particular feature. Don’t be afraid to switch it up; if a list isn’t working for you, swap out some members or create a new one altogether.
The more savvy you are on social media, the more attractive you’ll look to your current and prospective donors — and the better you’ll acquire a younger audience.
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