Nonprofits & Twitter
There are three main types of messages that organizations send on social media: informational, community-building, and action (promotional & mobilizational) messages. It is important to understand the differences, and to have an appropriate mix of each type. Don't rely only on the 'megaphone' (informational messages), and don't 'mobilize' too often. Most effective will be organizations that actively seek to build relationships with their target audience members.
Three types of tweets
These messages serve to inform -- about the organization's activities or anything of interest to the organization's audience. One-way communication from organization to public. Audience is in the role of learner.
These messages serve to build a relationship with the audience through engaging in dialogue or making a network connection. Two-way communication. Audience is in the role of discussant or connector.
These messages serve to ask the audience to do something for the organization -- attend an event, make a donation, engage in a protest, volunteer, or serve as an advocate, etc. One-way mobilizational communication. Audience is in the role of actor.
Lovejoy, K., & Saxton, G. D. (2012). Information, community, and action: How nonprofit organizations use social media. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17, 337-353. (For more info, see social-metrics.org)
A study of organizations on the NPTimes 100 list found that 59% of tweets were informational, 26% community-building, and 16% action-oriented (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012)
RT @TIdefenceteam: US freezes assets that former Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha gained through corruption: http://t.co/IjP6CDvJSe #… Tribal clashes with police send 16,000 people fleeing from #Congo’s Equateur Province . . .http://tr.im/DRC_clashes #conflict
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