How to Use Twitter Effectively

By Katelyn PrestonFebruary 1, 2016

Consider the amount of information your brain processes each day. Then, ask yourself how much of it was accessed through a browser window or mobile app. Let that sink in for just a minute… 

According to Pew Internet Research, 84% of American adults use the internet, 23% of whom are Twitter users.  

Twitter was first introduced as a space for conversation, allowing you to share a short burst of thought. Now, millions of people use it for much more; keeping up with current events, advertising and selling products, sharing passions, stories, and business success. Whether you’re entirely new to Twitter or have had an account for a while but are inactive, today’s society silently demands that you at least know the basics. 

As a charitable organization or nonprofit, your main goal is probably to raise awareness for the cause you support. You may be wondering, “What content is worthy of tweeting?” The simple answer is, any content that you feel will resonate with your target audience should be shared. Being authentic and “showing your bones” on Twitter is a good way to educate the public about who you are and what you do.  

With Twitter’s strict character limit of 140, you have to keep it short and sweet. According to their Best Practices and research from Buddy Media, tweets that are around 100 characters get the most engagement, which in turn means more exposure. 

An additional way to reach a wider audience is to include hashtags. By using the pound symbol (#) attached to the first letter of a word, that word becomes a keyword in your tweet. Then, if someone searches for the hashtag you used, your tweet will show in the search results. Strategize each tweet to include hashtags you create for yourself, your business, or your organization to reach that target audience. Check out Hash At It, a hashtag search site that allows you to search a hashtag to see the content with which it was used. 

When the time comes that someone engages your content, the best thing you can do is thank them by mentioning them in a tweet! It’s an easy way to show that you noticed and appreciated their action to follow, retweet or otherwise share your content. They will be happy to have been acknowledged, and, of course, there is a higher chance they will follow you and engage with more of your content in the future. 

Once you understand how and what to tweet, you may be ready to dive deeper into Twitter’s capabilities. Their advertising platform and analytics are two more aspects of which to be aware.  

Twitter ads can be targeted to very specific groups of people or individuals based on a variety of demographics, including gender, location, interests, behaviors and many other parameters. Twitter also has a feature called Twitter Cards, which add images, videos, audio and download links to your regular tweet, making it more eye-catching to your audience. 

Twitter analytics shows you how your regular tweets, Twitter ads and cards are performing. Paying close attention to data like increases in followers and spikes in engagement is crucial to future success because the numbers show what you’re doing right, and what you could improve upon.  

Once you’ve connected your account to the analytics, you’ll also be able to see any activity associated with your tweets, such as link clicks, hashtag clicks, the number of follows from that tweet and more. If you need help connecting and accessing your activity dashboard, consult Twitter’s Instructions.  

Twitter is yet another platform you can use to engage with people and share your story online. By using these tips to guide you in the right direction, you’ll be well on your way to success on Twitter.