Marketing Minute: Should you Tweet?

amber recker 3-12

Marketing Minute is a monthly post series by guest blogger, Amber Recker

Twitter is an often misunderstood social media channel. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Twitter is stupid. It’s just a bunch of people sharing what they had for breakfast.” Those who’ve been on Twitter for any length of time know this is not true. Okay, maybe some of us do share those details, but there’s a lot more to Twitter than that.

When I joined Cancer Services, I struggled to convince my boss that Twitter had any value for our organization. I was finally able to help her understand it by explaining that it’s like an ongoing cocktail party or networking event. The conversation continues and you can jump in and out of it at any time. It’s a great way to make connections and share and digest information.

Words of warning:  just because someone told you your organization needs to be on Twitter, doesn’t mean you should. There’s a lot to consider before taking the plunge. Luckily, you have that awesome marketing plan we’ve been working on to help you.

Here’s what you need to consider before jumping on the Twitter bandwagon:

  • Twitter is not a magic solution. Creating an account and spending time online will not magically bring folks to your organization. You must plan carefully and consider how Twitter fits into your overall marketing goals.
  • It requires human resources to build your presence and maintain it. Do you have someone who can champion your Twitter campaign? Do they have time to cultivate your presence and do they understand your overall marketing goals? It may be free to set up an account on Twitter, but it is certainly not free when you consider the human resources required to maintain it.
  • It must be a part of your overall marketing plan. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t know why you are using Twitter or what you hope to accomplish, there is absolutely no point.
  • Check out what other organizations in your sector are doing. How are they using Twitter? Who are they trying to reach? Are they reaching them?

When I established our social media strategy at Cancer Services, I reached out to Anthony Juliano and he helped me identify some nonprofit organizations that use social media effectively. I watched them and emulated some of what they were doing that I thought would work well for us.

Here are some good national and local examples to reference:

  • Tacoma Rescue Mission – this organization understands the power of video and does a good job integrating it into its Twitter stream. They’ve made their campaign about people, which is a powerful way to lead people to your mission. Twitter is also integrated with its fundraising efforts.
  • NeighborLinkFW  – this organization has a strong local following and uses Twitter to share good news about projects and upcoming volunteer opportunities. It is very interactive and uses videos and mission driven messaging well.
  • Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA)  – this organization is using its Twitter account to rally support for plans to link Fort Wayne and Chicago via rail. It shares industry related news, as well as Fort Wayne community-centered information.

Next month, I’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of Twitter and share some best practices. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. If you have questions or ideas for this blog, please email me at arecker@cancer-services.org. I’d love to connect with you on social media too.

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