Social Media Used for Good: Twitter

Propellus sent our storyteller, Kim Wright, to Stanford University for the Social Media on Purpose conference.  The conference made for non-profit organizations, to help them learn ways to better engage their community through social media. She came back brimming with insights to share with our members.

Stanford University is in Palo Alto, California – the heart of Silicon Valley where Google is headquartered and is just a short trip to Twitter and Facebook’s headquarters. 

The speakers came from organizations like Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, social media royalty Beth Kanter, and Facebook, to name a few.


I am so excited to share what I learned from Caroline Barlerin, Head of Twitter for Good.

From listening to non-profit staff that I spoke with at the conference and others working in social media in local Calgary non-profits, I have found that it is the platform that tends to be undervalued.

When thoughtfully employed, Twitter is a great tool to increase awareness for your organization, your programs and your mission.

Propellus has been working on using Twitter as a key social media platform to engage our audiences. Here are some of the recommendations from Twitter for Good that we are trying on and seeing success.

Establish Your Brand Presence

  • Design: The first steps to establishing your brand presence is the design of your Twitter page. “Is your design consistent? How are you being consistent in how your page looks? Do you have a compelling photo? Do you have your logo somewhere prominent?” Asks Barlerin. The visual branding of your page is the first thing that people see when they come to your page, it says a lot about your organization.
  • Content: Content is the meat of your Twitter page. “Define your mission and values,” says Barlerin. “If they aren’t clear, your social media runs the risk of becoming unclear.”
  • Express your personality: Twitter can really showcase your organizations culture says Barlerin. Using pictures can give your followers a backstage pass to their favourite charities.

Barlerin stresses using a conversational tone in your 140 character limit. A conversational tone can really make way for a dialogue and that is really what social media is all about. (Here are some other tips on expressing your personality through Twitter)

Engage Key Partnerships

Don’t think of your staff as the only people who can tweet for your organization. Your board members are a great resource that many non-profits overlook. Who knows your strategy, your vision, mission and values like your board members?

One of the big questions posed to Barlerin was about board members who have no idea how to use Twitter. Her answer? “Twitter cheat sheets. Give the board some sample tweets to tweet out.”

Here is one of my absolute favourite tips from Barlerin. “Ask your donors to tweet about their partnerships with your organization!”

Funders are the great untapped Twitter market. Many companies that fund non-profits have a strong Twitter following, and are followed by other funders. Ask them to tweet about not only the fact that they fund your organization, but WHY they fund your organization.

This is a two-way street, if your donor is comfortable with being recognized; use Twitter to talk about the different ways that they are supporting you.


Next up, Hashtags! Stay tuned for the next installment from the Social Media on Purpose conference… it is all about hashtags and the many ways that non-profit organizations can use hashtags to advance their Twitter presence. 

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