Posted by Lauren Grace Bejot

There’s no doubt that Twitter can be an effective way to engage with your constituents and spread the word about your cause. If you commit to tweeting (and/or retweeting) at least twice a day and really learn to enjoy it, then your efforts will likely pay off in increased brand recognition, referral traffic, new donors, volunteers and event attendees.

But before you compose that next message, know this: Not all tweets are created equally. There’s actually a right and wrong way to use Twitter. You may unknowingly be making a handful of easily correctable mistakes that could limit your influence and reach as well as hurt your brand.

No need to worry. Most Twitter faux pas are easy to fix. Here are five common Twitter missteps and what to do differently.

1. You aren’t using hashtags properly. You can fill any tweet with hashtags for any topics, but don’t tag just any old thing—be strategic. Pay attention to what’s trending on Twitter and use hashtags to get in on those conversations in a natural, authentic way. This gives you great exposure to new people and communities. But be warned: Using more than two hashtags in a tweet will decrease your retweet rate.

2. You aren’t tweeting on the weekends. The vast majority of brands do not tweet on the weekends, which is why it’s much easier to stand out if you do. Using a tool like Buffer, you can schedule tweets in advance without actually having to work on Saturday and Sunday. Schedule at least one tweet each weekend day to increase your reach and exposure. Buffer also enables nonprofits that want to build an international network to tweet on 24-hour schedule.

3. You aren’t posting pictures. Pictures are one of the most important ways to send tweets today. Why? Images are engaging. A picture is like a sneak peek and it’s far more compelling than just a URL link to your blog or other content. The ideal image size for uploaded images on Twitter is 525 x 262 pixels. This size ensures that there is no cropping of your uploaded images on both the desktop and mobile versions of Twitter. Cropped images receive significantly fewer retweets.

4. You retweet everything. Mass retweeting everything isn’t good—it can be annoying and feel spammy. Even if you want to share great content that you’ve found, add a comment or enhance the tweet in some way other than sending a mass, sterile retweet. If you are never creative, you may become the organization that gets unfollowed.

5. You’re not including links. Tweets with links have an 86% higher retweet rate. This fact speaks to the fact that Twitter users rarely retweet informal conversation tweets (unless posted by celebrities) and that your nonprofit should adopt a retweet strategy of posting quality content with links to content sources such as news articles, blog posts, landing pages, etc.