Top tips - using Twitter for a community group

Try it out or do some research

It might help to first use Twitter to get information for your group before you start tweeting. You could sign up and follow some accounts e.g.

Or you could take a look at how other community groups are using Twitter - here’s a Twitter list of over 300 voluntary and community groups working in Bradford district.

Keep it professional

  • Set up an account just for your community group and make sure two people know how to use it and know the password.
  • Keep your personal interests and opinions separate.
  • Make your page look professional e.g. logo sized correctly, suitable, clear image used (with appropriate permissions if people are in the picture).
  • Twitter should be part of a wider communication plan that makes sure everything is updated at the same time e.g. your website, page on DIVA Bradford and the people you work and volunteer with!

Keep it legal

  • Nothing defamatory (includes retweets as well as your own tweets)
  • Data protection - only add pictures with permission from people in them
  • Remember copyright

Quality not quantity

Concentrate on being informative about your own group or specialist subject. Twitter is great for short messages about new activities, reminders about date/ times for events, requests for donations of specific goods/ help, questions and links to updated information on your website/ blog or Facebook page.

Be consistent - once you’ve got a pattern of useful information e.g. you tweet about every new event or tell people every morning what the specials are in your community café, then keep going.

How will I know if the information is “useful”?

People will retweet it or you will get new followers. You may also get enquiries from people that heard about you on Twitter - make sure you add this to your list e.g. how did you hear about this event? Website, Twitter, email, poster.

Before forwarding (retweeting) messages

  • Check the links. Do they work? Do they go to the right place?
  • Think about whether or not you want to promote the group that you are retweeting. If you don’t know the group or individual, take a look at their page and Twitter icon picture.
  • Remember, you don’t have to forward (retweet) something just because someone has asked you to. If you don’t think it’s relevant or appropriate, just ignore the request.

Don’t worry too much about how many followers you have! It’s not that important.

Don’t let your account get hacked!

  • Keep your password secure.
  • Don’t use a password that you also use in your personal life e.g. for online banking or shopping.

If you get a direct message with a link in it then it’s usually better not to follow the link. Often the direct messages that want to hack your account sound vague but seem as if they might be important e.g. “what are you doing in this photo?” or “people are sending messages about you”. Once you’ve clicked on a bad link it can highjack your account and send the same message to all your followers.

If your account does get hacked, start by logging in at Twitter.com and change your password - there are other steps to take too if your account has been compromised.

If you decide to stop using Twitter

If you sign up but then find that Twitter doesn’t work for your group or you just run out of time to use it, make sure you tweet and say you’re closing the account but your group is still active. 

It’s so easy for an out-of-date website + a Twitter account that hasn’t been updated for 6 months + an email or phone message not responded to make it seem as if a group has closed.

This would be a warning sign for grant funders, commissioners, potential donors or someone needing your group’s help.

Of course, if your group does close then make sure closing the Twitter account is on the group’s to do list.

This Social Media guide is a workshop presentation by Sarah Moss, Voluntary Organisation Support Officer, © Community Action Bradford & District. 

Community Action Bradford & District

Questions?

Get help from the Voluntary Organisation Support Officer team.


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