What Twitter can (cannot) do for your organization

Prepared by Noureddine Achemlal, E-Mediat Morocco Strategy Advisor

Although born in 2006, Twitter is still a mystery to many people. Some consider it more difficult to grasp as Facebook, others simpler. However, Should your organization use Twitter? If so, to say what? And for what purposes? But first, what's a hashtag?

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social network for sharing information.

Twitter is similar, in its presentation, to a Facebook wall. On this wall, you post messages that do not exceed 140 characters. You post Tweets which end often with links to pages that you want people to go watch.
You do not post sentences like "in a bad mood this morning." You can do it, but it is preferable to post information that will really interest your audience...
On Twitter, we're not friends with someone. We follow him/her. That is, we follow the information that he/she posts. We can, therefore, follow anyone, as long as the information posted seem interesting. We are followers who have followers.

Twitter is not just talking about ourselves (indeed, personal information is not strongly displayed the profile). We don’t only share personal information. We retweet, that is we also share others’ tweets with our own networks.  

Finally, Twitter needs to be used regularly. There is no interest to tweet once or twice a month because no one will follow you. 

Which bring us to the question…

Twitter, what for?
If you are an organization that advocates for a cause or holding a public awareness on a theme, perhaps you have an interest in using Twitter because it can allow you to give resonance to your voice. You post regularly on the current state of your projects, about your cause, about how your organization is “fighting” to be heard, what the policies say, links to your blog articles, etc.

If you organize a festival type event and want to make this event bigger, Twitter is also likely to be helpful. You follow the steps of the event organization step by step, you post names that joined your programming, you make calls to volunteers, you post prices, you post links to articles in your blog...

And if you work in another field, you can always try Twitter. Having previously defined the objectives for using this tool.
In all cases, you do not post only your information. You retweet other information, from time to time as well. 

Remember: Twitter allows you to spread information widely. But if you other interests than this, Twitter will not do much. 

What is a hashtag? The speed of Twitter
A hashtag is a keyword preceded by the # sign. For example, if you post a message on Twitter with #NG, others can find your tweet by typing the keyword on the search box. A simple example? Go to the site: http://www.hashtags.org. In the search box at the top left, type the word "NGO" and press "Enter" key. Hop! You get, in real time, all the written messages on Twitter containing the hashtag "#NGO".

No, it's no coincidence that the media almost bless Twitter for its speed...

NGO’s objectives with Twitter
In conclusion, here are the advantages that Twitter can bring you.

-          Boost your network (by being active and responsive on Twitter)
-          You can search for partners (follow the person or organization with whom you are likely to link)
-          Grow your expertise and reputation (meaning talking about you subject regularly by sending    interesting links related to your theme, always more people who follow you)
-          Bringing Internet users to your web site/blog (systematically disseminating articles for your blog and encouraging people to discuss them)
-          Keep an eye (thanks to the people you follow, Twitter acts as a monitoring system on the topics that interest you)
-          Improve your ranking (by posting on Twitter links leading to pages of your blog, you are likely to drive up these pages in search engines ...)

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