Twitter can be daunting for many organizations, especially nonprofits. Communicating with members and interacting with them online and on social media platforms is important. Connecting on Twitter is easy, I follow you, you follow me back. But how do you ENGAGE? How do you interact effectively? How can you create a plan for nonprofit member engagement that’s realistic for your organization?
70% of association professionals reported that they feel their members ignore much of what they send out to their members. And almost 75% of professionals will rank social media engagement as important or very important and are willing to rank social media marketing high up on their list of budget expenditures. That’s a HUGE vote for Twitter and other social media platforms when it comes to marketing and the value placed on it.
The need to engage effectively is clearly a high priority for associations but finding the time to understand social media and ‘learn’ Twitter can sometimes take a back seat to more pressing challenges or assignments on your plate.
A recent study conducted by Software Advice, a research-based resource for association management software buyers, put together information from social media managers from across the United States. The 4 biggest takeaways from their report are:
- 33% of tweets are tips and general knowledge benefiting members’ professional goals
- 60% send between 2-5 tweets per day
- Only 4% of tweets contain promotional content
- 91% of associations strongly believe that data-driven social engagement strategies were the most successful
This survey brought out some great ideas when you’re struggling to come up with quality content. Below are some great ideas on how to use this data to your advantage.
How to be successful on Twitter?
Use statistics and numbers! Many people will read and RT (retweet) tweets that contain numbers and stats. While everyone loves a good number, the goal here is to get as many people as possible sharing your tweets (more audience reach!) and therefore finding your organization!
Understand what kind of content you should publish. The sample this study looked at concluded that the types of content shared was general information and/or tips that benefit professional goals of it’s members (this made up 33%), and next up is news and current events (17%), etc. See the helpful chart below. You can use this as a basic blueprint for mapping out what types of content you’ll share.
Automate your social media, but have a qualified social media manager or other knowledgeable employee set it all up! There is nothing wrong with automating things and setting posts to auto publish, but make sure the content you’re putting out there follows the right pattern (like what was mentioned in the bullet above) and also find out when the right times to Tweet are, use images, etc.
Remember it’s not a one way street where you just link information to your followers, it’s a form of engagement. You want people to RT you (so you can then thank them, respond to any comments they made in their reposting of your content, etc). Try to achieve posting content that will ENGAGE not just INFORM your audience.
Tweet more than 1x a day! The average is 2-5 times a day for the most successful Twitter engagement. Obviously the number you choose will depend on what kind of engagement you get. Play around and see what your sweet spot is!
Put out valuable information, not just information. Always keep this in mind when you are scheduling your tweets. Don’t first aim for 5 tweets a day and then quality content. Make sure your content is great stuff that members will find interesting, valuable, important and useful. So if you only share 1 useful and great tweet in a day vs 3 so-so ones, it’s probably your better bet. People don’t like bad content and will stop following you or paying attention to what you put out, so be proud of EVERY tweet you tweet!
While the report discussed in this post seems really number and strategy heavy to many nonprofits who are just trying to do great work and connect thoughtfully with their membership, it’s important to understand the marketing aspects behind social media. Social media IS marketing now, not just an optional tool for engagement. We are in a new world where everyone interacts and communicates online. If you want to grow your membership, positively impact your current membership and spend marketing time, energy and money correctly, don’t overlook social media.
Twitter is a great platform to share videos, photos, and quick bursts of quality information along with links to great sources. The stats this study provides proves how important quality content and a good strategy is to your online presence. Play around with your content, understand what is gets engagement and what falls flat and move forward and adapt!
And keep in mind that while this is marketing and social media, which don’t always rank high on your to-do list and priority list – it is actually more than just marketing dollars and work for a social media whiz. Social media is now a huge medium with which to communicate and engage with your membership, to promote yourself, and to reach thousands of members, and potential members on a daily basis. Members now are always deciding how much value they get from their membership, and a quality online space to engage is ranking higher and higher! Give them what they want!