In fact, Twitter is a lot like fundraising. Here's why:
1. It's about communities of interest, bound together in a common cause. Eh what? At first Twitter can seem random, like being a telepath bombarded with millions of voices all at once. How do you tune out and tune into to your voices?
- Hashtags. These are those thingummys with the # in front of them. Search by them, click on them and they sort Twitter for you. #BFGW? That's right. That's all the people in the world watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (and telling you about it). #Writetip? That's writers sharing knowledge with each other. Get the drift?
- Find people like you and see who they follow. You find your guru on Twitter, sending useful relevant tweets about one of your areas of interest. Who do they follow? Who follows them? Find, follow and your community grows.
That's your discovery phase.
So you've found your cause on Twitter, your area of interest. What do you do now?
2. You participate. Like fundraising, Twitter doesn't work in a vacuum. You need to get out there, you need to talk to people. The more you give, the more other people give. You react to a tweet, ask a question, retweet (RT) and a relationship starts. You interact. You support each other, because it is mutually rewarding.
Call it cultivation. The more you actively cultivate, the more likely someone is to give to you. The stronger the community, the stronger the relationships the more support you will get. Increase your participation rates and you increase your supporter base.
3. You say thank you. The golden rule in fundraising is to thank people seven times. Someone retweets you? Say thank you. Someone suggests people follow you (hashtag #FF or #FollowFriday)? Say thank you. Someone shares something useful? Say thank you. Someone follows you? Say thank you.
And when you have thousands of followers? Anyone that knows the Pareto Principle knows that you need to prioritse. That's where lists come in. Use them.
Get the drift?
In the end, social media is just that. It's social. It's about community. It's about relationships.
And so is fundraising.