Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Who Should Your Organization Follow on Twitter?

There you are, doing the nonprofit job you trained for (possibly development) when your boss walks into your office, sits down, and tells you that they need you to start doing social media for your organization. It probably goes something like this:



Boss: "We want you to put us on Facebook and the Twitter."
You: "..."

So you start a Twitter account for the organization. There's a lot going on, and you're jumping right in, engaging followers and finding connections. But who should your organization's Twitter account follow? The bakery up the street? Some guy you used to know? Other nonprofits? How do you decide what accounts are worth spending your limited Twitter follow allowance on?

Start by defining the key words you need to search for. What does your organization do? For example, if you work for an emergency pantry, your key words might be: hunger, food, shelter, emergency, food aid. It's that easy. Now do a Twitter search for those key terms. You can ignore all the people saying "I'm hungry, got a pizza." You're looking for Twitter accounts that match the following descriptions:

1. Other nonprofit organizations that address the same need yours does.
2. Individuals who express interest in that need.
3. Businesses that give to causes like yours (ie. that bakery up the street might be a good one to follow if you run an emergency pantry).

Don't use up your initial 2000 follows on key term search results. Instead, lay the groundwork by following big players in those results. Read their account descriptions, look at how many they follow and how many followers they have. If they look great, go ahead and follow them. You can always unfollow later if necessary. Remember, these are the accounts you're most likely to end up interacting with on Twitter, so you want them to be relevant to your cause and provide the most social value possible.

As for that guy you used to know? Go ahead and follow him- if he can help your organization expand it's social media reach among people who care about helping your organization.