What is Twitter and How Can it Help My Fundraising?
Twitter has hit the headlines in recent months as its user base has exploded. Millions of people across the world now use this tool every day.
But Twitter is more than just a ‘buzz’ site. It has important implications for organisations of every type – including charities and fundraisers.
What is Twitter?Twitter is a micro-blogging platform. A what now? Basically, Twitter is a service that allows you to broadcast short messages, 140 characters at a time. You can send messages from anywhere you have an internet connection, or by text message. People ‘follow’ your ‘tweets’, and you can follow other users – that is, you can sign up to see their tweets on your homepage.
Twitter has become a useful tool for marketers, as it allows them to connect with large numbers of people in a direct way, very quickly. Even better, it enables users to open a dialogue with other people – as opposed to blogging, which is primarily a one-way broadcasting medium.
How can it help me?Marketers have already identified the potential implications of Twitter, and are using it to attract potential new customers. You can use the same techniques to help your fundraising activities.
Twitter is good for a variety of things. Primary amongst these is ‘brand awareness’ – or, in your case, building awareness of your charity. By identifying and following people who you think may be interested in your cause, you can help to boost awareness online. With any luck these individuals will start to tweet about you, or talk to their friends about your cause offline.
Twitter is not, however, the best tool for securing immediate sales – or, in your case, donations. Users tend to react badly to what they see as spam. So, rather than flooding your feed with links to a donation page, try to engage with users. Post interesting snippets of information, links to articles you find, and so on. This will help to build trust in your organisation.
What does it cost?Twitter is completely free to sign up to and use. Currently, Twitter makes money by accepting ‘promoted’ users and tweets. There is a suggestion that, at some point in the future, the company may roll out a suite of features for business users – and, if you so wished, you could take advantage of them.
It is thought, though, that the basic account (which is currently available to all users) will remain free forever.
Isn’t it just a fad?Many people have written Twitter off as a simple fad that will pass. But this underestimates the usefulness of the tool, and the degree to which it has already been adopted by normally tech-shy individuals.
Twitter is a remarkable tool for communication, and it will continue to be popular for as long as it is useful. Signups continue to increase, and Twitter looks very much as if it is here to stay.
If you want to increase awareness of your charity in an affordable, effective way, Twitter may well be the tool for you.