Get Twitterpated: a review of Twitter for Good.

Change the World … One Tweet at a Time. 

“If Twitter is to be a triumph, then it will not be a triumph of technology, it will be a triumph of humanity.”

~ Biz Stone, Cofounder, Twitter, Inc.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz is Twitter’s head of Corporate Social Innovation and Philanthropy. Diaz-Ortiz has worked for Twitter with organizations like Nike, the United Nations, The American Red Cross, charity:water, Room to Read, Partners in Health, the Skoll Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Kiva and others.

Diaz-Ortiz wrote Twitter for Good to illuminate how the world’s top organizations use the T.W.E.E.T. model. The T.W.E.E.T framework is a strategy that requires you to: Target, Write, Engage and Track. Twitter for Good asks organizations to have a strategy, a goal, best broadcasting practices and a tracking process.

Twitter, and the T.W.E.E.T framework, provides an opportunity for organizations to innovate in extraordinary ways.

Diaz-Ortiz explains that Twitter can be easily used in the field, “You can Tweet from anywhere.” She offers a personal anecdote of her experience Tweeting while based in the Central Highlands of Kenya where she ran the nonprofit organization Hope Runs. Diaz-Ortiz explains,

“Twitter has become easier than ever to use in the field. Everyday, I work with individuals and organizations who are sending Tweets from the unlikeliest of places. Earthquake survivors sending Tweets from mobile phones in Haiti and Japan, volunteers tweeting information following volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, citizens tweeting in the midst of civil unrest in the Middle East, and anyone seeking to raise awareness for their cause around the world” (xvi).

Twitter’s utility in the field is critical in crisis situations. “Twitter allows anyone to be a journalist and an informant to the larger world, and provides a megaphone to amplify the message,” explains Diaz-Ortiz.

Twitter for Good illustrates several astonishing cases of how Twitter facilitated emergency humanitarian relief in crisis situations. Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger (@craigkielberger,  109,390 followers) provided up-to-the-minute, on-the-ground coverage of the Haiti earthquake aftermath. Kielburger relayed crucial needs to multiple media outlets through Twitter. FTC’s early response to Haiti included initial shipments of $1.6 million in emergency supplies and $2 million worth of medical supplies (p 60).

Twitter’s Corporate Social Innovation and Philanthropy department created two pro-bono programs for non-profit organizations. The Promoted Tweets for Good program is an application-based, pro bono program. Twitter also offers a ad hoc program for organizations working in crisis relief during times of natural disaster and civil unrest. Twitter promotes specific campaigns through it’s advertising platform. Twitter also conducts regular non-profit trainings, offers an informative website Hope140.org and works with organizations in the field of disaster response to support humanitarian aid initiatives (p 6).

Target  

Plan your Twitter campaign by scheduling your larger strategy, and flexible sub targets, on a annual calendar or spreadsheet.

Ask, how will I know when we are making progress in achieving  our target? What will it look like when we have succeeded in the first six months of implementation? What results do we hope to see?

Diaz-Ortiz supports organizations in finding what target is right for them. The three most common targets for organizations are: the information account, the personalized account and the fundraising account.  A personalized account is useful if your organizational culture allows for it and if you do not have a dedicated staff member who will curate and present salient information. An information account ensures anonymity and formality, but requires a dedicated person (staff, volunteer, consultant) who will curate content valuable to your followers.

Many organization’s goal is to become an information hub for a given topic such as careers in international aid and development. The information account is often operated by several individuals, but risks being too professional in tone. Organizations that operate a personalized account are typically adding on to their existing professional, information accounts. These organizations are already established on Twitter and seek a new demographic or are moving an existing supporter base to new media. Personalized accounts are often run by one person and proceed with a specific voice or tone. Additionally, fundraising accounts typically struggle with maintaining followers and long-term engagement.

Target Case Study

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is a seventy-five-year-old organization, with over four million supporters, and the nation’s largest conservation organization. Their challenge was to bring their current group of supporters onto Twitter. To expand their following NWF focused on: following people in return, quality content, posing focus-group like questions and outreach. NWF joined directories like Twellow.com and wefollow.com to increase their ‘findability’ and presence. NWF posts a list of all their staff who are on Twitter in the interest of accessibility.

“I immediately saw that Twitter was meaningful and unique – I just wasn’t sure how we could translate that into something that benefited our work. At first, I used our Twitter feed to support environmental bloggers and stories that dealt with wildlife or other issues. By supporting like-minded people, and by connecting people and seeking out supporters, we were able to become a leader online and grow our audience.” 

~ Danielle Brigida, National Wildlife Federation digital marketing manager

Write 

Twitter headquarters guiding principle is fail fast. Fail fast means that you should try new things, make mistakes and bounce back rapidly. Diaz-Ortiz three lessons for organizations are: bite the bullet, let it all hang out (be personal, be exuberant, send more information rather then less) and fail fast (try new things quickly).

Write with high impact multimedia. Personalize your Twitter background, tweet video and have a photo of the day feature. Write with your target in mind and provide value to your audience.

Remember, the magic of Twitter is the ability to rapidly respond and react to the public on their terms (p 68).

Possible Write Metrics Points (p 141)

  • Number of Tweets per day/week/month
  • Number of retweets sent
  • Most retweeted Tweet
  • Response to different types of Tweets
  • Best Tweet
  • Precentage of retweets sent to original Tweets
  • Precentage of Tweets with media links
  • Precentage of Tweets with photos
  • Percentage of Tweets linking to organization website
  • Percentage of Tweets linking to outside articles
  • Existing memes
  • Failed memes

Engage 

#Hashtags 

Get your words in front of users who care (p75). Timely, relevant, carefully selected #hashtags allow you to establish your voice, join a conversation, promote events, add context to keywords, topics or themes and group your Tweet for accessibility. Mobilize people around your hashtag and “trend” on Twitter. Multiple tweets with the same hashtag form trends, which create exposure.

The hashtag trend #charitytuesday  allows the public to thank and recommend charities, #Twitter4Good is another example. Hootsuite creates ready-made hashtag streams for ease of follow. Use hashtags with moderation. Overuse of hashtags is equated with spamming.

Use Lists

Organize your live, curated Twitter streams into relevant groups by using lists. Lists are available on the right hand side of your timeline. Create a Search and Follow List to find topical, thematic, valuable and informative tweets to share with your audience. Find lists that target your demographic and interest group.

Create your own lists that include people of interest. Putting people of interest on a list will drive them back to your account. Lists help maintain relationships. You can also create private lists to follow individuals you eventually want to contact or maintain contact with such as private lists of journalists, public relations representatives and other influencers.

@reply, retweet and ask questions 

Use the built in engagement tools on Twitter: @reply, retweet and create a weekly question to engage your followers. Use the public nature of @reply responsibly to engage in real-time support with your audience. The @reply function creates accountability, increases your chances of exposure and enhances engagement. Also, too many retweets in your timeline suggests that you are neglecting to develop original quality content.

Possible Engage Metrics Points (p 141)

  • Number of followers
  • Number of following
  • Number of retweets about your organization (analyze what was retweeted, when and why)
  • Number of @replies
  • Number of @mentions
  • Number of DMs
  • Reach of a Tweet
  • Follower growth rate
  • Follower drop-off rate
  • Most engaged day of the week
  • Most engaged time of the day
  • Number of lists on which your organization is placed as a list member

Explore

Searching on Twitter opens up access to new topics, trends and influencers. Look for new endorsements and leads. Begin conversations with influential people. Having influential Twitter allies retweet and highlight your account is a valuable asset. Regularly search for mentions of your organization.

Listen so that you can respond. Search for yourself to monitor your reputation. Build relationships with existing and potential supporters. You can set up an automatic search feed or manually search.

Keep up to date on the latest trends and changes in advocacy and activism on Twitter (135). Find popular, successful Twitter Career accounts and model yourself after them.

Possible Explore Metrics Points (p 142)

  • Number of lists following
  • Number of lists created
  • Size and growth of lists created
  • Mentions per day
  • Retweets by influencers
  • Reaction to retweets by influencer
  • Press mentions of Twitter account
  • Percentage of followers made up of “influencers”
  • Number of influencers actively followed on your private “public relations” list
  • New relationships created

Track

“Becoming one of the biggest accounts on Twitter doesn’t happen by accident,” explains Ortiz-Diaz (52). To reach your goals on Twitter you do not need a million followers. Audience engagement is more significant than numbers because of the propensity for sharing.

There are many tools available to track productivity such as Rowfeed, Favstar and Backtweets. Your tracking will depend on what type of account you have pursued. Test your strategy for improvement after six months based on your original goals. Ask: Did you meet any of your goals yet or did your goals become irrelevant?

Use the Write, Engage, Explore steps as a metrics point to track your process. Tracking is about measuring both quantitative and qualitative results. Review your content to make sure you are keeping on track, test slight increases in updates (and other tactics) in relationship to your unfollows. Track engagement and growth numerically, but note that the volume of retweets is secondary to the distance they travel.

If you streamline your Twitter system you can manage your accounts in two twenty minute blocks each day (p 159). Schedule your Tweets, that are not time sensitive, to ensure a steady flow. For more Twitter productivity tips go to: twitter4good.com/resources/productivity-tips

Diaz-Ortiz, Claire. 2012. Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint. New Delhi, India.

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