Research shows almost 90 percent of nonprofit organizations have a Twitter button on their website. But do they use twitter effectively? Yes they all know to write clear and concise tweets, and many of them know to tweet often and conversationally, but is there more to tweeting?Susan Gunelius summarizes who she thinks are the top 5 nonprofit Twitter users in her article, “Nonprofits Using Twitter Right.” Gunelius says Twitter is ideal for boosting awareness, getting free publicity, and soliciting new volunteers when used effectively. Twitter offers a a list of “best practices” for effective tweeting. In addition, Twitter offers a checklist for nonprofits to follow to ensure effective Twitter use. There’s one practice Twitter mentions that I feel is often overlooked, especially by nonprofits.
When I first read the words “stay trendy” all I could think about is how cheesy that sounds. However, it makes sense. Participating in Twitter trends and promoted Twitter Trends allows organizations and individuals to participate in global conversation. By doing this, individuals and organizations can gain followers and knowledge. The trending topics on twitter can be found on the lower left of your twitter feed page. Melissa Gonzales says Twitter trending topics can increase followers, allow more interaction with other users, and get people to click on links.
Much like the Facebook news feed, Twitter trends are determined by an algorithm and are tailored for you based on who you follow and your location. This already helps narrow down the community for you. You can create your own organic trending topic hashtag and promote it via Twitter. By creating a trending topic, an organization or individual can click on the hastag to see the conversation from everyone using the trending topic. This helps build community, engage users, and allow for continued conversation.
Individuals and organizations use trending topics for everything from weddings to sporting events to campaigns. One of the most effective uses of a trending topic was the Kony 2012 Campaign. The campaign was successful in several ways, but by tweeting the video and using hashtags such as #makekonyfamous #kony2012 and #stopkony, campaign managers could track the conversation going on between millions of individuals around the world. In addition to creating conversation, the trending topics also allowed the video to go viral. This article from the New York Times says nearly ten million tweets included the word Kony or the hashtag #stopkony in just an eight day span. By using a their own organic trending topic, Kony was able to go viral in a week’s time.
Creating your own trending topic can be a great way to reach out, create conversation and awareness, and promote your mission and brand. Additionally participating in current trending topics can also build more awareness of your brand. By extending condolences for the Navy yard shooting this morning and using the hashtag #NavyYardShooting, businesses, individuals, and organizations are participating in a trending topic and may gain exposure from this, especially if they engage in a conversation with other users who have used the trending topic. For example, The Brothers Fund, an organization that helps veterans by providing small loans to start and grow their businesses tweeted, “Our hearts go out to those holding strong in the #NavyYardShooting right now.” They even linked their tweet to a press release from the US Navy. I’ve never heard of the Brothers Fund in my life until I was viewing the trending topic searching for more information on the shooting this morning. Interested, I clicked on their page to see what they were about. You don’t have to have your own trending topic to utilize trending topics effectively. By simply participating in a trending topic, your organization will gain exposure by other participants of the trending topic. If one of these users tweets your organization back or retweets your organization, engage in conversation with them. This will help promote your brand, mission, and organization even further. Even if you reach just one other microblogger, you’ve successfully created awareness about you, your business, or your organization.