Despite being heralded as the next big thing when it first launched back in the mid-2000’s, these days Twitter is seen as more of a supporting player on the global social media stage. It doesn’t have the sheer volume of users as Facebook, nor is it as stylish and youth-orientated as Instagram or as gimmick-laden as Snapchat.
Nonetheless, Twitter has a lot to offer as a social networking platform – particularly for charities looking to make an impact in an increasingly cluttered space. In this post we lay out the argument for including Twitter in your social strategy, alongside our quickfire guide to conquering the Twitterverse.
Twitter: the comeback kid?
According to the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report, Twitter is the fourth most popular social media platform for Aussies, with almost a third of the population (32%) using the channel. That might sound like small potatoes compared to the whopping 94% of the country that are on Facebook, but it’s also interesting to note that Twitter has seen a recent surge in popularity which could herald a new era for the platform.
After plateauing at just under 20% of the population between 2013 and 2016, Australian users have increased by a third in the last 12 months. It’s a story that’s being played out elsewhere around the globe: in 2017, the company reported double-digit growth in daily active users, with advertisers following suit.
So what’s driving this unexpected comeback? Well, the platform has been working hard to make its product more appealing, simplifying and streamlining its services for advertisers. What’s more, as of last year its much-maligned 140 character limit was doubled to 280, giving brands and users twice the space to get their message across and making the user experience a lot more satisfying. According to Twitter, a test of the new character count showed that users were noticing more engagement, increasing their followers and spending more time on Twitter – a win-win for everyone.
Three more reasons why charities need to tap into the Twitterverse
Twitter is a great way to drive donations, share your supporters’ efforts and encourage event signups – not to mention measure sentiment and identify potential influencers by listening in to what people are saying about your cause and related topics. But what makes Twitter a particularly powerful tool are the things that single it out from other platforms, namely:
- It has a male skew. Unlike the majority of social media platforms, Twitter has a higher percentage of male users. In Australia, 35% of men use the platform, compared to 28% of women. If you’re looking to reach out to male supporters and donors, Twitter is your vehicle.
- It appeals to an older demographic. Twitter scores higher than Snapchat and Instagram with Australians aged 50+ – a segment that’s traditionally more social media shy than the general population. Because older users tend to be more passive consumers of social media, it’s thought they may be more comfortable with the idea of retweeting the articles and comments of others as opposed to prolifically sharing their own personal pics or opinions. This is the clincher. 65% of Aussie Twitter users say they access it more than 20 times per week – that’s equivalent to almost three times a day. In fact, the average number of times per week users check Twitter is 39.6, making it the second most frequently-accessed social network after Snapchat and placing it well ahead of Facebook. That means the chances of your message being seen by the right people is far greater.
- Users check it multiple times daily. This is the clincher. 65% of Aussie Twitter users say they access it more than 20 times per week – that’s equivalent to almost three times a day. In fact, the average number of times per week users check Twitter is 39.6, making it the second most frequently-accessed social network after Snapchat and placing it well ahead of Facebook. That means the chances of your message being seen by the right people is far greater.
Twitter Do’s and Don’ts
Here’s how to improve your Twitter game overnight.
- Use the ‘pinned tweet’ function to link to a donation page on your own website. It allows you to keep that call-to-action permanently visible at the top of your twitter feed.
- Include an image. Studies have shown tweets with images receive 18% more clicks. However, you’ll need to make sure it’s the right size (525 x 262 pixels) – poorly cropped images are a fail with followers.
- Remember to include links. Twitter allows you to link directly from your post to other URLs, making it the perfect tool for driving donations and event sign-ups. Even better, tweets that feature links enjoy 86% more retweets than link-free content. It’s a good idea to use a link-shortening service like tinyurl or Bitly to avoid using lengthy and visually-distracting URLs.
- Ask to be retweeted. Don’t be shy about asking for retweets (or RTs as they’re known in Twitterspeak) – it’s a common request and most people are happy to oblige if the content is good.
- Use hashtags. Hashtags make your tweet more discoverable in Twitter’s search function – but remember, less is more. Excessive hashtag use will turn users off and reduce your retweet rate.
- Find great stats and quotes. When done well, these are two of the most successful and retweeted forms of content on Twitter. Package your message up in a custom graphic for maximum standout and watch the retweets roll in.
- Take advantage of analytics. Make use of Twitter’s analytics dashboard to learn which tweets receive the most engagement, then use the insights to shape your tweeting strategy moving forward.
- Use abbreviations or incomplete sentences – if your message isn’t easy to understand, it won’t be retweeted.
- Only talk about yourself. Retweeting and sharing others’ tweets helps to build credibility, add variety to your feed and reduce the ratio of brand messages which can be off-putting. As a general rule aim to keep your feed at least 50% curated content from other users to keep things interesting for your followers.
- Overdo it. Tweeting a few times daily is necessary to build momentum – but don’t go overboard. Spread your tweets throughout the day and keep your updates consistent.
- Take the weekends off. There’s less competition on the weekends which means you’re more likely to get noticed. Use on of the many social programming platforms like Hootsuite or Buffer to tee up your tweets in advance.
- Ignore direct tweets from other users. This is the height of bad Twitter etiquette and will lose you followers. Always make the effort to respond to people who have reached out to you and you’ll build a strong and engaged group of followers.
Want to know more about using social media to promote your cause? Find out how your nonprofit can crush it on Instagram here.