Diaz-Ortiz has crammed the best of her experience and hard work at Twitter into her book, Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time, Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Diaz-Ortiz works with companies and nonprofits to help them use the fast-moving, real-time dynamo that is Twitter in promoting their messages and causes.
But, what makes her such a good advocate and friend of good causes is her first experience tweeting from Kenya where she co-founded and led an NGO called Hope Runs. She tweeted on a dial-up cell phone, urging the world to learn about HIV-AIDS and orphaned children. As she tells it, "I learned firsthand that you can tweet from anywhere."
And that is what has happened with Twitter. We've all become accustomed now to tweets from disaster areas such as Haiti and Japan, as well as seen the role Twitter has played in revolutions from Iran to Egypt to Syria.
But the real strength in Twitter is how nonprofits and cause-based enterprises can tweet for good, no matter how large or how small they are.
Diaz-Ortiz speaks and trains people to use Twitter effectively and, through her outreach, has developed a framework for Twitter success. She calls it T.W.E.E.T., and her book lays it out so that anyone can follow along.
T.W.E.E.T. stands for Target, Write, Engage, Explore, Track. Here is a short summary of each of those steps:
"Target" is all about figuring out why your organization wants to use Twitter. It is all about your goals. If you feel as though your organization has just drifted into using Twitter or that you're there because your peers are there, then you don't have a target.
Target is about what kind of account/s you set up on Twitter. Diaz-Ortiz explains that the most common account types are the information account, the personalized account, and the fundraising account. You might have just one or all three types. But they all are different and have different targets or goals.
Diaz-Ortiz has plenty of examples and how-to tips for each type of target or account, including how to determine a name for each account and how to identify goals for each one. My favorite tip for this step is to find a mentor. The author says, "...identify a mentor to help show you the ropes on Twitter. This does not have to be someone you are actually in contact with. Instead think of the mentor as a Twitter role model you can secretly follow and learn from."
Diaz-Ortiz encourages organizations to just start writing something. She says this is sometimes the hardest part for organizations. They worry about the 140 character count and "over-edit" themselves. Your first tweets may be awkward and hesitant, but it's ok. You'll gradually find your organization's voice. Being authentic and interesting is more important than being perfect.
Using Kanye West, the much followed rapper, as an example, Diaz-Ortiz draws three lessons from his (and many others' Twitter experience): bite the bullet; let it all hang out; and fail fast. Examples such as Charity:Water and UNICEF bring the lessons home for nonprofits.
Engaging is all about finding the people with whom you want to connect. Twitter has numerous tools to make sure your organization is not just tweeting into the dark. Diaz-Ortiz explains hashtags, search and follow lists, how to create your own lists, and private vs public lists. You'll learn how to use @reply, how and what to retweet, and just how some of the most successful nonprofits manage their engagement with followers and donors.
Diaz-Ortis shudders when she hears organizations say, "...what I really need is one million followers...can you help me get one million followers?." She writes, "Whenever someone asks me this question, I cringe. It's a huge mistake to think you need tons of followers to reach your goals on Twitter."
As all of us who use Twitter know, a great deal of the fun lies in exploration. Relevancy is the way to find new followers and engage them. Successful users of Twitter are constantly looking for new information, new followers, and new "influencers."
Listening is at least half of what Twitter is all about. Diaz-Ortis explains how to find mentions of your organization on Twitter. This search becomes a crucial way to strengthen your relationships with your supporters; convert potential supporters to actual ones; and manage your organization's reputation.
You'll also learn about one of Twitter's most useful services, Promoted Tweets for Good. It is the pro bono version of Promoted Tweets. Room-to-Read and Partners in Health were the nonprofit testers of the program. Campaigns have revolved around important events as well, such as the World Cup, Red Cross emergency messages, and World Aids Day.
Keeping up to date with the latest Twitter trends and practices in advocacy and cause promotion is part of continual exploration, says Diaz-Ortiz. Twitter provides some terrific resources such as Hope140 where you can find case studies, hot-to tips and cause campaigns that have used Twitter.
We all know now just how important measurement is in social networking. We have to know how well we are progressing toward our goals.
Diaz-Ortiz, in one of the most helpful sections of her book, suggests the metric points we should be measuring for each of the steps of T.W.E.E.T, and the ways to trace each type of account (information, personalized, and fundraising). She also suggests tools to help us with our tracking such as Rowfeeder and Backtweets.
Streamlining your organization's use of Twitter and all its goals and tracking is easier than you might think; and the time it takes can be surprisingly manageable. Diaz-Ortiz writes, "With a streamlined system, you can easily manage the Twitter accounts for your organization in two twenty-minute blocks each day."
Skeptical? Twitter for Good might convince you. This small book of less than 200 pages is packed with all the information you'll need to be a successful Twitter user, but it will also inspire you to follow the lead of other nonprofits that have great Twitter stories.
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