Twitter Best Practices Pilot

Habits of Highly Effective TweepleView more presentations from Beth Kanter

Twitter Best Practices.pdf

Twitter via SMS

Step 1: Identify An Objective

Twitter can be a terrific tool for listening, engaging, and spreading buzz. Twitter has been used by nonprofits to accomplish the following:
  • Keep current supporters engaged
  • Inspire conversation to support communications goal
  • Create buzz around an offline event before, during, and after
  • Get new ideas and feedback on programs and services
  • Program support to clients
  • Drive traffic to web site or blog
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Coordinate meetings with officials and policy leaders
  • Identify Influencers like journalists using Twitter and encourage them to use you as a source
  • Identify and build relationships with allies & supporters
  • Tweeting key points about your issue
  • Professional learning and networking

Make it SMART
Identify the Audience

Not sure about Twitter, read this

Step 2: Design Your Profile

Take a look at different Twitter profiles to get inspiration and ideas. Here's a list of Nonprofits on Twitter.

The Basics:

Background Picture: Create an attractive background image in photoshop. Use the same colors that you have on your blog or website for marketing consistency. List your web-page, short bio, LinkedIn Url, Stumbleupon address. Include An “Interesting Fact” on your background image or bullet points about your programs or tag line. Here's a template for a customize image.

Location: Under the “Account” tab within the “Settings” area, enter your real name, city and state. This way, people will be more likely to find you.

One line bio: This is your elevator speech. You have 160 characters to convince people that your organization is worth following.
Also, keep in mind this how the search people also picks up Twitter ids. Here's some tips for writing a good bio.

Include URL: Include a URL to your organization's web site or a landing page you can track. Make sure the landing page gives people more information about what your organization does.

Going Deeper

Here's some terrific tips about how your profile can attract more followers.
Here's a template if you want to customize the background

Twitter Brand Pages

Launched in 12/11 for a small number of brands:

Step 3: Who Will Tweet? What Will You Tweet?


  • Organizational Account: One person or will you share the load? Thinking about whether or not your executive director or artistic should tweet and have their own account? Read this

Use this handy worksheet to help you think it through.
what to tweet worksheet.pdf

Step 4: Your Work Flow Getting Organized and Being Efficient

Your Twitter work flow consists of: listening, engaging, and curating content.
Once you get organized, you can do this in 30 minutes of day.

Howard Rheingold describes simply as: "I think successful use of Twitter means knowing how to tune the network of people you follow, and how to feed the network of people who follow you." His steps for building a personal or organizational network are here


This is the process of scanning for mentions of your brand or issue. Twitter is useful for listening because:

  • Real-time results. We’ve all heard examples of how breaking news spreads immediately on Twitter. Because of Twitter’s real-time search engine, you can get a quick pulse of public opinion.
  • Wide reach. Twitter is useful to many different types and sizes of businesses.
  • Direct feedback. You hear what people are saying as they say it.

Here are eight easy tips for setting up a listening system.

Organize your Sources

Keep the people you follow organized in lists
If you skipped this, step - a tool like Manage Flitter or TweetBeat

Find Interesting People To Follow

Start with a couple of people who you know or who represent the group of people you want to listen to. You can search through your followers followers or the people you follow, followers.

You can also search on different terms using Tweetscan here's Philanthropy and don't forget about searching on Twitter hashtags for specific events or topics to find people who may be interested in your organization.

Follow interesting hashtags to find people. Here's a list of great hashtags for nonprofits.

Use Friend or Follow to download a spreadsheet of followers. Sort the information to find influencers and people to get to know.

Mr. Tweet finds influencers in your network you should follow (use this after you have built up your following list).

Once you've found people, keep them organized on Twitter's handy list feature. You can create open or closed lists. Creating lists of supporters, staff, or related organizations is a great technique for expanding your network.

Efficient Work Flow

Step 5: Engagement Techniques

Here's a basic list of what to twitter and some tips on getting your tweets retweeted and more on the Art of Retweet. Need more Twitter conversation starters? Here they are.

Please Retweet This -- an overview of the dynamics of retweeting, why retweeting is a valuable metric, and earned retweets

Meme: Ways to Increase Your Twitter Following Ethically -- this list of 12 suggestions is a conversation starter on how to grow your Twitter following in a way that’s community oriented and not spam-like.

More advanced engagement tips

Use hashtags for your events, programs, and open up different channels for conversations.
Try a series of Twitter interviews like the 20x20
One of the best ways is to go offline, check out these types of Twitter Events. and here are some tips for doing a Twitter Chat or Tweetathons
Find Relevant Twitter Chats and participate.
Twitter Q/A

Avoid auto crossposting to all your channels.

Step 6: Add Twitter Apps

To get started, use the Twitter Web interface, but as you get more comfortable with Twitter, you will find it limiting. There is a whole ecosystem of Twitter applications that can make your Twitter work more effective. You'll find these over at OneForty. I've created
a list of basic apps that you will need to get started. These include desktop apps, mobile apps, and tracking apps.

Desktop applications built for Twitter allow you to read replies and direct messages and offer a more custom browsing experience. My personal favorites are Tweetdeck and Co-Tweet (a good client if you can't install software on your work computer because it is web based.)

Mobile applications built for Twitter allow you tweet while you are out and about. Choosing a mobile app depends on your personal preference and of course, what phone you have.

A list of tools recommended by the pros

A list of ten Twitter Apps for efficiency

Want even more Twitter Tools, knock yourself out with these posts that include lists and descriptions of Twitter apps from Brian Solis or more tips from Laura Lee Dooley's Twitter Presentationfor Emetrics.

Here's some tips for apps for power users.

Step 7: Reflect, and Improve

Crowdbooster does a great job of tracking your retweets. Here's a few more analytics apps

Rowfeeder is particularly good for tracking events, hashtags, and conversations to do a content analysis.

Don't forget to track the funnel - from influencers, awareness, engagement and conversations. More here.

Be sure to track your click thru and retweets with and backtype.

Retweets as metric of success. Here's a tool.

It is a good idea to grab screen captures illustrating successful techniques or insightful tweets for reporting. If you don't do this in the moment, here's a few tools for finding them in the history.

What to Do When Your Twitter Network Seems Stuck:

Going Deeper

Collection of Twitter tips for beginners

Fenton’s paper Short & Sweet: The Whys and Hows of Twitter for Communications Professionals. For Twitter newbies, it has step-by step instructions for getting started. For communications pros who have tweeted for years, it has some innovative thinking about how to use the medium and guidelines for helping interested colleagues get on board efficiently and effectively.

The ultimate Twitter Cheat Sheet for advanced users

Debra Askanase ScoopIt Twitter Links

Country Maps of Twitter Usage