5 Tips for Getting Started on Twitter

twitterTwitter is a great place to interact with your community, both at the local and global levels. As a community member, Twitter helps you keep a finger on the pulse, get involved, and get informed about what nonprofit organizations are up to. If you are a small nonprofit, it also offers a cheap and easy way to build your brand and relationships. No matter who you are, you can truly connect with just about anyone. Staying in the loop is at your fingertips.

But if you are anything like me, you have resisted getting on board. Maybe you feel that you’re already connected, or that you have other things to do with your time. Or maybe you just haven’t found a good enough reason to join yet.

For me, the opportunity to become more involved in communications at Volunteer Alberta was finally that good reason – and so as of last Friday, I am on Twitter.


If you are on the verge of joining, or if you’re just starting out on Twitter, it can feel like there is a steep learning curve ahead. There are plenty of blogs and resources on how to use Twitter personally or on behalf of an organization, but 8 years after Twitter’s launch there’s a lot to wade through.

So, as a starting point, here are the five best pieces of advice I’ve received as I have embarked on my Twitter adventure:

1. Twitter is like a stream that you can dip in and out of. If you feel overwhelmed by your growing Twitter feed, remember you don’t have to read every tweet, follow every exchange, or catch up on everything that happened in that week you were away.

2. Twitter is relational and interactive. You don’t have to, and you shouldn’t, use it solely as a personal platform to talk about your event, your blog, or what you ate for dinner. Follow others, retweet interesting content, share articles, and join conversations!

3. That being said, you are your own interesting and unique person or organization. Creating your own content, sharing your own ideas, and bring your perspective to the table is why you signed up for Twitter in the first place, even if you don’t know it yet. After all, Twitter wouldn’t exist without the millions of voices that make it a dynamic place to learn and connect.

4. Make it easy for others to mention you, quote your tweets, or involve you in a conversation by keeping your Twitter handle short and your tweets well under the 140 character limit.

5. If you really want to see the true power of Twitter, use it at an event. The Vitalize Conference, for example, always has its own hashtag (#Vitalize2015) which you can use to tap into the wonderful ideas sparked by the conference, connect with other attendees, and follow what is happening in other rooms and other sessions. Twitter is like a free and accessible VIP pass – use it!

I have much more to learn, but even in my first week I am already getting the hang of Twitter. And you can do it too! Maybe this is the moment that you find your good reason to get involved.

Have your own favourite piece of Twitter advice? Leave it in the comments!

To learn more about hashtags, check out this previous VA blog post: Alberta Nonprofits Play Hashtag.

Sam Kriviak (@SamKriviak), Program Coordinator