Posted by Tony Endelman

George Clooney may think Twitter is stupid, but the social networking platform can be vital to growing your nonprofit’s mission. When used properly, Twitter can lead to big payoffs, like increased brand recognition, boosted web traffic, more volunteers and new donors. And, according to a scientific analysis, there actually is a right way and a wrong way to use Twitter—especially if you’re a nonprofit.

Twitter has its own guide for nonprofits that contains a lot of valuable information. But before you dive in, make sure these seven simple ideas are top of mind:

  1. Be kind and retweet.
    The Twitterverse is a lot like the universe. The nicer you are to others, the nicer they are to you. So, the more you retweet others, the more they will share your tweets in return. Always be kind, and you’ll stand out from the others.
  2. Follow back.
    It might be tempting to follow only those whose tweets you want to read, but that’s what personal profiles are for. Twitter is a platform made for conversation. And you can’t have a conversation on Twitter if you aren’t following anyone. As Fundraising123 says, “Have a look around Twitter . . . you will see the most successful, retweeted nonprofits follow everyone who follows them.”
  3. Master the hashtag.
    Tweets with hashtags generally get more engagement. Plus, you can use them on event posters, advertisements other marketing materials. But, as a master, you’ll need to use your skills wisely. Don’t use more than two hashtags in a tweet. If you do, your tweets will look disorganized . . . and so will your nonprofit.
  4. Don’t overdo it.
    Hashtags aren’t the only thing subject to overkill. According to social media scientist @DanZarrella, sending more than one tweet every hour can seriously decrease your click-though rate. And, @NonprofitOrgs has proven this to be true. So, what’s the sweet spot?  Tweet between 2 and 8 times daily, spread throughout the day. 
  5. Be a weekend warrior.
    Most brands don’t tweet on the weekends, which makes it much easier for you to stand out when you do tweet on the weekends. For those who try to avoid work at all costs on Saturdays and Sundays, there are tools like Buffer that allow you to schedule tweets in advance.
  6. Find the missing link.
    Include a link in your tweet, and your chance of being retweeted is 86% higher. As Nonprofit Tech For Good explains, “Nonprofits should embrace a retweet strategy of posting quality content with links to content sources, such as news articles, blog posts, etc.” You can also link to a landing page with an important call to action.
  7. Size matters.
    Text-based tweets generate far less engagement than tweets with images. Just remember that the ideal image size for uploaded images on Twitter is 525 x 262 pixels. This size ensures that your images won’t be cropped on either a PC or a mobile device.

Firespring offers social media services for nonprofits. Just give us a call at 877.447.8941 or send an email to