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Social Media Lesson #1: Top Tweets

As a small organization with a lean staff, one of our biggest struggles is finding time to devote to all the projects and initiatives we wish we could. Social Media has always been one of those projects: we understand why and how it’s valuable, but it can often get push aside when we’re focusing on other priorities.
This summer, the DonorsChoose.org team more spent time testing and measuring our activity on social media, to understand what content and messaging our followers responded to and we wanted to share some of what we learned. Here are our three most popular tweets from the over the past three months, and why we think they worked:

I’ve always been hesitant to ask our followers to take a specific action, because, well, it feels a bit presumptuous. If people are so inspired, they’ll respond to or retweet something, won’t they? But, we were given the advice to explicitly ask our followers to retweet content, so we tried it out. And I’m willing to admit I was very wrong on this one.
I think there are a couple reasons this tweet was so popular:
1. It explicitly asked our community to take the action we wanted them to. Sometimes people just need to be asked.
2. It was content people were excited to share, because it made them feel good, and because it allowed them to take a stance on an issue they care about. If we had asked our followers to share content that wasn’t inspiring, they would not have been inclined to share it. When you’re asking people to share, make sure it’s a message they are willing to put their names behind.

We’ve found that our community responds well to inspirational quotes, and we’ve used them often over the years. However, this was by far our most popular tweet with an inspirational quote in it, and I think it’s because it’s so closely-aligned with our mission. The thing is, when people follow your brand on social media, they’re doing it because you’re an expert in your field. When you’re thinking of sharing content, you should always align it as closely as possible with your brand’s mission, and people will respond.

The beauty of Twitter is that users can get a lot of information quickly from many different sources. So, when thinking of sharable content, think of the types of facts and figures your followers would be interested in learning. If you can make your followers say “hmm!”, they’ll be more likely to share. And, like I said above, the content should also be closely tied to your brand’s mission.
We’re still learning what works and what doesn’t on Twitter, but I hope you found this information useful.
We want to know: what type of content are you most likely to share on Twitter?

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