Twitter at Age 10: Why It Still Matters in Nonprofit Communications

As Twitter celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, many commentators have noted the difference the global social media network has made in social change movements.

From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matters, Twitter has been a vital online communications tool for activists and revolutionaries around the world.

It’s also the online news service of first resort during a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or the recent terrorist attack in Brussels.

Twitter has had its setbacks, too. It’s never turned a profit and its rate of growth has slowed.

Nevertheless, Twitter remains an excellent tool for nonprofits and other social change organizations. In honor of Twitter’s 10th birthday, here are three reasons your nonprofit should be on Twitter every day:

There’s No Better Place to Find a Reporter Online

The media loves Twitter. A 2015 study says reporters make up the largest profession on the network, accounting for nearly a quarter (24.6%) of all verified users.

That’s well ahead of the next largest groups: sports teams and athletes (17.9%), and actors and entertainers (13.6%). The report also found that reporters are the most active Twitter users, and they regularly tweet about the stories they’ve written and breaking news.

By following reporters on Twitter and sharing your content, you can learn about their interests, position yourself as a resource, and build online relationships. Some reporters even welcome story pitches by Twitter, though email remains the favorite source.

Twitter Gives You Google Juice

Google now integrates Twitter into its search engine rankings, including your nonprofit’s Twitter profile and tweets. The more you post on Twitter, share and engage with others, the higher you will climb on Google’s search page.

Tweets now appear prominently on a Google search page, after Google Sitelinks and before Facebook results. And that means new visibility for your nonprofit’s Twitter account in organic search results.

Periscope Makes Video Easy and Free

In 2015, Twitter added a cool new tool every nonprofit should consider: Periscope, a live streaming video service. It’s easy to use, free and a great way for your organization to engage your supporters and other audiences.

You can use Periscope to share your nonprofit’s presentations, conduct interviews with clients or staff or announce your news to donors. It’s like doing your own live television broadcasts. And unlike Meerkat, another video-streaming app, Periscope allows you to make and keep recordings.

What about you? How does your nonprofit use Twitter? Need more ideas? Check out these tips from my colleague Jenna Cerruti for how your nonprofit can make the most of Twitter.

Mac Prichard

Mac started Prichard Communications in 2007 to serve nonprofits, foundations and public agencies after a long career working in the public and nonprofit sectors and with elected officials. Mac lives in Portland’s Ladd’s Addition where he is often spotted taking Instagram photos while walking his dog Kai, a Weimaraner.
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