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Tweeting Creating Impact for NFPs


30 October 2014 at 10:39 am
Xavier Smerdon
Not for Profit tweets focusing on calls-to-action and community building generated the most retweets and Twitter conversation, however, they were also the least used strategies by organisations, a new report has found.

Xavier Smerdon | 30 October 2014 at 10:39 am


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Tweeting Creating Impact for NFPs
30 October 2014 at 10:39 am

Not for Profit tweets focusing on calls-to-action and community building generated the most retweets and Twitter conversation, however, they were also the least used strategies by organisations, a new report has found.

New research published in the Journal of Social Marketing analysed over 3400 tweets by more than 50 large American Not for Profits to reveal the specific types of messages that are more likely to get stakeholders re-tweeting, archiving, and discussing the organisations’ social causes.

With over 500 million active daily users, Twitter has become the main social media platform for organisations to engage with their public across the globe.

Moving social marketing beyond personal change to social change’ is described as the first study to focus on the types of tweets that elicit the most engagement from stakeholders.

The report said while the ways in which Not for Profit organisations use Twitter have been relatively well-documented, leading researchers in the field have failed to explore what types of Twitter practices are most effective for social marketing purposes.

It said existing studies essentially focus on what organisations do with Twitter, not on how target audiences respond.   

Of the Not for Profit organisations analysed, ranging from the American Heart Association to the New York Public Library, the study found that during a two week time period, 68 per cent of tweets were informational sharing in nature, 19 per cent represented promotion and only 13 per cent sought to engage and interact with community building messages.

“Social media opens a pathway for vulnerability and unscripted conversations, which is scary for many organisations.  Yet it is this vulnerability that provides an authentic voice than ultimately brings more genuine engagement,” lead author of the study, Jeanine Guidry said.

“Interestingly, while call-to-action messages were more likely to generate re-tweets and conversations, community building messages were the most successful at creating dialogue with audiences, and it was these messages that were more inclined to grow organisational efforts organically.

“Marketing and public education messages were outperformed on all engagement metrics.

For social marketers, these results indicate that time spent on social media efforts are mostly off target with their stakeholders.  

“Instead of spending the bulk of marketing resources on education and attitude change, organisations would be better served to provide content that the public are more likely to share and discuss within their own social networks.  

“In essence, they should work to determine how to transform their supporters into vocal advocates for their causes.”


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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