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Twitter is the second most heavily trafficked social media site on the internet after Facebook. The micro-blogging site provides an opportunity to reach out to a diverse group of people quickly. The advent of hashtags, re-tweeting, and lists allows for collaboration with individuals and organizations like never before. Like Facebook, Twitter can seem overwhelming and time consuming on the surface, but with the right tools it can be managed easily.

For an overview of Twitter basics, visit their support page here: http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics

 

What It’s Good For

Twitter’s low-impact structure and short updates allows for considerable flexibility for nonprofit organizations. Some of Twitter’s core strengths include:

Broadcasting Messages
Due to the way Twitter connects users, it is possible for organizations with many followers to push out a message to its followers without the back-and-forth conversation of many other social mediums. Twitter also allows users to “retweet” messages verbatim, which means that your tweet can travel far beyond the confines of the group that follows your profile.

Engaging with Constituents & Like-Minded Organizations
Twitter’s short update length makes frequent updates easier. When leading up to an event or occasion, this feature can be particularly effective, as you can dribble out multiple ‘teaser’ posts linking back to your website.
 
Connecting with the Media
Many journalists use Twitter to source articles, research upcoming projects, and pursue leads. By following journalists that cover your organization’s issues, it is possible to create more earned media opportunities that transcend Twitter as a social media platform. For example, if you follow a reporter from the Washington Post who tweets about her upcoming story on green jobs and you respond, you just might find your organization in an upcoming Washington Post article. For weatherization in particular, this can allow you to become a source for stories highlighting the positive aspects of WAP.
 
Providing Real-Time Updates
Nonprofit organizations can also use Twitter to keep their constituents in the loop on time-sensitive matters. For large events, rallies, or hearings, frequent Twitter updates can keep individuals engaged who could not otherwise attend in-person.
 

What It’s Not Good For

Nuance
Twitter’s character limit means that long, or nuanced messages are not possible. In order to excel at Twitter, organizations must become extremely good at conveying complex concepts in a concise manner.
 
Occasional Users or Resource-Strapped Organizations
Twitter users expect regular updates – at minimum one post per week, but ideally closer to one post a day. While the short posts make this easier, organizations who cannot commit the staff time and resources outlined below will have a hard time effectively using Twitter.
 

To learn how to create a Twitter page for your PIC Campaign, download the Twitter Social Media Guide.

 
For a good example of what a Twitter page could look like as well as possible tweets, visit NASCSP's twitter page at www.twitter.com/NASCSP.


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