A few weeks ago I did a book giveaway for the Twitter Book. Readers from nonprofits who wanted to a chance to win a copy of the book had to leave a comment saying how they were using Twitter and how they hoped to improve their results. There were so many great responses, thank you. The winner chosen at random is:
Tara Pringle Jefferson
Public Affairs Associate
The Cleveland Foundation
I read the brief preview of the book and can't wait to read the rest. Here's my shot at the answers:
How is your organization currently using Twitter? Right now, it's just me sending out the tweets to our followers. I try to send out at least one per day, usually an update of our latest blog posts, podcasts, or news about Cleveland/the nonprofit field. I'm currently trying to convince our CEO to join Twitter, since he honestly doesn't have time to blog.
What are your objectives?
We want people to engage with us. In the community, there's a bit of the "Ivory tower" mentality surrounding us, when in fact, we spend more time out and about in the community than people realize. We want to share that news, and let the community and other nonprofit leaders know just how much we want to make a difference.
What audience do you want to reach?
Right now, it's a mixture of other nonprofits, residents of our city, and nonprofit professionals. We'd love to get more Average Joes to follow us and see that we're just as committed to the city and its success as anyone else.
How are you measuring success?
We're looking at followers obviously, not only the number of followers but how many retweets we get and replies. As one person tweeting for an organization, it gets difficult to determine what the voice should be, and even more difficult when people reply to you. We're just looking at Twitter as a conversation tool to see how many people care what we have to say and those that do, do they find it useful or interesting
One of the great uses of Twitter is as a listening tool. It's an excellent way to get started. As the Twitter Book suggests, Twitter gives you superhero powers: the ability to read people's thoughts and the ability overhear conversations.
One of the illustrations of this for nonprofits, can be found in Nina Simon's slideshow "Everyone's Smithsonian" see slides 10-20).
If you want to be a super hero though, you have to use the search features and application on Twitter like a rock star. Here are some tips and pointers that I learned from reading the Twitter Book:
- Twitter Search: Simple key word searches can yield valuable information. However, sometimes you'll need to hone your search using the "Advanced Search." I also learned that Twitter search has some tricks too. You can remove a search term by putting the (-) minus sign in front of it. Also, you can search for either of two words by inserting the word "or."
- Trending Terms: I've been playing a game for the past couple of months. I look at Twitter search terms and then see if the terms are related to headlines. Lots of times there are #hashtags trending, but often they are cryptic. "What is the Trend" gives you a list of trending #hastags and the ability to fill others in what they mean if you are closely involved.
- Retrieving Older Tweets: Apparently the search stream on Twitter only goes back as far as three months. But you can try a google search by using site: twitter.com/account name.
- Keeping Track of Tweets that linked to your blog or web site. I search for my user name and name, but because of the URL shorterner, you can't always find who mentioned your blog without your Twitter handle. There's a tool called BackTweet
- Finding People: Twellow searches through user profiles and also has different categories of listings.
What are your power listening tips on using Twitter? Do you have an example of how listening on Twitter has provided value for your nonprofit organization?