Twitter is a social media platform for busy people: You have 280 characters to say what you want so you don’t have to spend time reading more than a few sentences at a time. (Your posts are called “tweets.”)
Twitter users have a feed that shows tweets from people they follow in the order they happen, and feeds move fast and furious. Twitter is where news stories break, memes begin, celebrity feuds play out, jokes go viral and you can easily interact with your favorite athletes, musicians, actors, or reality TV stars. Twitter can take some getting used to when you first try it out, but most people end up loving the quick-and-easy format.
People who are awesome at using Twitter not only tweet often, but tweet strategically to get people to stop scrolling and read their tweet and to expand beyond just their followers.
If you’re totally new to the Twitter game, check out Mashable’s Beginner’s Guide to Twitter to learn the basics and some Twitter terminology.
You should aim to weave your fundraiser into your overall Twitter presence. Don’t let your fundraiser hijack your Twitter account. In order to keep followers, you’ll need to keep the people who read your tweets entertained and engaged. All fundraising all the time on Twitter might put people off, so keep your Twitter feed diverse. If you usually live-tweet during the latest episode of “Westworld,” keep on doing it! If your Twitter account is mostly random observations and jokes, don’t change! Wrap your fundraising efforts into your overall Twitter presence. Remember that people are supporting you when they choose to donate to your personal fundraiser, so don’t lose yourself in promoting your fundraiser and keep your spur-of-the-moment tweets coming!
Here’s what to post on Twitter, how to post on Twitter, and how to use it to promote your personal fundraiser.
Links: With Twitter, you’re limited to 280 characters. (Not 280 words — “characters” means spaces, punctuation, emoji, etc.) You’ll want to include a link to your Mightycause page every time you post about your fundraiser… but that eats up those precious characters. So, how do you include a link without sacrificing space to say your piece?
Mightycause has made it easy to squeeze your URL into the limited space: check out the social share buttons on your page. When you click the Twitter button, you’ll generate a shortened link to your page.
You can tweet directly from the social share tool on your page, or you can copy-and-paste the shortened URL into a tweet. If you do use the social share button to tweet about your fundraiser, we recommend personalizing the tweet each time — you have plenty of characters left with our automatically generated tweet, and it’ll be much more impactful if it’s a message from you.
People who visit your page can also use our social sharing options to tweet about your fundraiser. But don’t worry: your account is secure, so when other users tweet about your campaign using this tool, it’ll post directly to their account, not yours.
Hashtag It: Most social media platforms use hashtags, but Twitter is where they began and where they are most active.
A hashtag is a word or phrase with a pound sign (#) in front of it. When you see a tweet with a hashtag, you can click on the word to find a feed of all other tweets using that word or phrase.
“What’s the point of that?” you may wonder. Well, if you’re a huge fan of the TV show #GameofThrones and you want to interact with other fans of the show, hashtags are the easiest way to find other fans. You can even have conversations with them while watching the latest episode. The bottom line is that hashtags help you connect with other Twitter users who care about the same things you do.
Here’s a short guide to using hashtags on Twitter. Learning to use hashtags is easy but the tricky part is using them strategically. How can you use hashtags to help your post reach more people?
- Check out trending hashtags: When you log into Twitter, you’ll see a box on the left side of your screen called “Trends” that will show you any active hashtags. (“Trending” on Twitter means lots of users are putting that hashtag in their tweets.) You can customize this by your location and interests. Are any of them relevant to your fundraiser? Are any of them ones you’re interested in? If so, join in! Even if you don’t tweet about your fundraiser, it can help you find new followers.
- Think of applicable hashtags to use: You can get an idea of what kind of hashtags do well on Twitter by taking a look at their Top Trends of 2015. But you can turn literally any word into a hashtag — what words are applicable to you? If you’re fundraising for your family, turn #family into a hashtag to find other people for whom family is a priority. If you’re fundraising for families affected by Hurricane Matthew, you may want to use #HurricaneMatthew or #HurricaneMatthewRelief to find people also helping this cause.
- Monitor hashtags that apply to your situation. Hashtags are all about having a larger conversation with other Twitter users, so it’s important not to miss out on the chatter. You can use Tweetdeck (which we will discuss more in a moment) to actively monitor feeds for different hashtags simultaneously.
Here are a couple example tweets:
Express yourself with emojis: You may think emojis are silly, but they’re no longer just for tweens. Adding emojis to your tweets can increase engagement by over 25%. If you have a smartphone, you’ve already got these cute marketing tools at your fingertips, but you can also use a site like Emojipedia to find emojis to enhance your post (and you can copy-and-paste from the site if you’re using a computer instead of a smartphone to post).
Just make sure you understand what the emoji means before you use it! Some emojis might mean something different than you think, so check Emojipedia if you’re not sure.
Get visual: You can post videos, photos, and GIFs on Twitter. Just like Facebook, users are sorting through a lot of stuff from a lot of people in their feeds and posting a photo or video are easy ways to get their attention.
Twitter has confirmed that videos, photos, and GIFs get a higher level of engagement (meaning, retweets, clicks, etc.) than text-only tweets. And, even better, posting videos, images and polls no longer count toward your 140 character count.
So adding some media to your tweets is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd.
Photos: Here’s a handy support article that explains all the technical ins-and-outs you need to know about posting photos and GIFs on Twitter. Even if you know how to post them, you may be wondering what to post. Here are some ideas:
- Relevant photos: Some fundraisers have more obvious photo choices than others. If you’re fundraising for your dog’s veterinary bills, you will obviously want to post cute pictures of your dog. Same thing if you’re fundraising for a child. Some fundraisers might have less obvious choices, but there is usually some kind of photo you can share, even if it’s a text-image with your favorite quote. (Again, free services like Canva can help you create an image that will catch eyes.)
- GIFs: A GIF (short for Graphics Interchange Format) is a type of image file that is most often used for animated images these days. GIFs can act a lot like emoji: instead of saying you’re feeling really sad, you can let Dawson Leary express it for you, and instead of just saying thanks, you can use an adorable Shirley Temple GIF to show how elated a donation made you feel. Giphy.com is a great place to find GIFs if you’re on a desktop (plus it’s got easy social share links), and if you have the Twitter app on your phone, there’s a GIF library with images to choose from.
- Memes. Twitter users love memes. (A “meme,” in this context, is a photo that’s been shared over and over again on the internet. Think of Grumpy Cat or the images with Minions you see your Aunt Myrtle sharing all the time. That’s what a meme is.) It’s an easy way to get people to stop scrolling and read your post. Just make sure that any memes you share are applicable to your fundraiser and help tell your story. (So if you’re fundraising for your mom’s cancer treatment, Minions are probably not appropriate.)
You can record a video that you upload directly to Twitter using your phone and the Twitter app, you can livestream to your Twitter account using Periscope (you can link Periscope to your Mightycause account, by the way!), and you can also create videos elsewhere and share on Twitter. By default, videos will autoplay in users’ feeds so it’s a great way to grab their attention.
So what kind of videos work on Twitter? Here are a few tips:
- Keep it short. Twitter users expect things to be concise, so most users are not going to watch a 15-minute video. Keep it to a few minutes to ensure that people watch your video all the way through.
- Use videos to make it personal. Videos give you more time and space to express yourself in your own words, and looking into the camera directly asking for help is a very powerful way to inspire people to donate. You already told your story on your Mightycause page; you can retell it to your Twitter audience with a video.
- Get interactive. Use videos to get your followers involved. Do a live Q&A on Periscope, ask them a question, ask them to tweet at you with their opinion on something, ask them to tell you about a time they were in a situation similar to yours… there are lots of possibilities! By using your videos to get your followers interacting with you, you’re building a rapport and getting them involved in your story.
Find influencers: One of the coolest things about Twitter is how easy it is to interact with famous people and businesses.
Celebrities may have a social media pro handling their account for them, but many famous people use Twitter all on their own. (If that weren’t the case, fewer celebrities would get in trouble in the media for controversial tweets!) There’s no firewall protecting them from the public; anyone with a Twitter account can tweet at them. They don’t have to reply, of course, but… what if they did?! It’s worth a try, right?
It may be overwhelming thinking of who you can tweet at when even the President of the United States is on Twitter, but think small, think niche, and think local. The President isn’t likely to tweet about your personal fundraiser, but the local coffee shop where you buy your morning latte five days a week might. You’re probably not going to get Justin Bieber to tweet about your fundraiser, but a band you follow locally and have spoken to after their concerts might.
An “influencer” is a person who has a lot of followers on social media, and a single tweet or retweet from one of them can make a huge difference in your fundraiser.
Here’s what to consider when deciding which influencers to reach out to:
- Do they care about your cause? Let’s say you’re fundraising for your cat on Mightycause. Which celebrity is more likely to care about your fundraiser: a) Tom Cruise, or b) Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell”? (We hope the answer is obvious.) Try to narrow the list of celebrities and influencers with interests relevant to your fundraiser instead of asking random celebrities and businesses to help. Scan their Twitter page for mentions of causes similar to yours.
- Are they active on Twitter? You may think that getting a retweet from the bookstore where you hang out all the time is a no-brainer, but take a look at their Twitter page first to make sure they’re active. If their last tweet is from months ago, that’s a sign that they don’t actively monitor their Twitter page and you may want to move on to a more active user.
- Do they have lots of followers? If you’re going to take the time to reach out to people on Twitter, make sure it’s worth your time by checking to see how many followers they have. If someone has 15 followers, move on. If someone has 5,000, go for it. You’re trying to increase your reach on Twitter and it won’t work if the person you’re asking to help has a small reach themselves.
Here’s how to reach out to influencers:
- Tweet at them: “Tweeting at” someone means publicly talking to them on Twitter. They receive a notification that you tweeted at them. You tweet at someone by typing “@” and then their twitter handle (username).
- Ask for a retweet. The easiest thing a busy famous person on Twitter can do is retweet, and a single retweet from a celebrity can be unbelievably powerful. Think about it: With a single retweet, they’re sharing your message with thousands of followers. So when you tweet at them, politely ask them if they can help spread the word about your fundraiser and include a link. And they are, in a way, vouching for you.
Here are a final few tips to make Twitter easier:
- Download the app: Most of us find it easier to check our social media from our phones as opposed to sitting at a desktop computer or pulling out our laptops, so make sure you’ve got the Twitter app installed on your phone. It’s free, and you can download it from Google Play Storeand iTunes Store.
- Utilize a dashboard: Tweetdeck is a dashboard that allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously, schedule tweets, follow live feeds of hashtags, and more. You can go to tweetdeck.twitter.com and sign in with your Twitter login information to get started. (It’s free to use.) You can download the app in the Mac App Store. You can also use a dashboard like Hootsuite, which allows you to manage not just Twitter but multiple social media accounts.
- Schedule tweets. Scheduling tweets using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite can help you manage your time and make sure your fundraiser promotion stays on track. By scheduling tweets ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to tweet about your fundraiser if your week gets hectic and Twitter gets pushed to the background, because your tweets are all lined up. You’ll still want to check your notifications and feed to make sure you don’t miss any chances to engage with your followers, but this can make the process of promoting a fundraiser much easier.
Twitter can be an incredibly powerful tool if you use it wisely and persistently. Use these tips to master your Twitter game, gain followers, and get donations!