Twitter

At 140 characters max per post, Twitter may not have the richness of video, or the depth of a blog… but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in speed. You can quickly point people to online resources, spread a simple message, or report something you’ve done and encourage your friends to join in.

(Looking for an introduction to Twitter? Check out this video!)

What works well on Twitter? Mainly, conversation. Don’t just broadcast messages – respond to people, ask them questions and keep the discussion alive. Following someone and mentioning them (by including “@[their username]” in your tweet) can help to get their attention.

It helps to send tweets that people can repeat – or “retweet”, as Twitter calls it – with your username attached to it. That means keeping it short enough that someone else can retweet it while adding “RT @[your username]” at the beginning.

One handy tool: URL shorteners. These are services that take long web addresses and shorten them… so, for example, using the bit.ly web service, you can turn http://www.bcchf.net/supercommunity/team.cfm?SuperCommunity=176 into http://bit.ly/C7Ism.

Be sure to follow all of the other members of your Super Community. That way, you can retweet each others’ posts and help spread the word… and you can keep up to date on what your friends are talking about.

Here are some of the ways you can use Twitter with your Super Community:

Set a goal – for instance, to raise a certain amount of money in a single day. (If you have a sponsor who’s willing to match the amount of money you raise, so much the better!) In a few days, you and your community members are going to tell all of your Twitter followers that you’re trying to meet this goal in just 24 hours. Prepare some tweets – a lot of them – in advance, so you’ll all be able to keep the messages going all day long.

On the big day, send out the word to your Twitter followers. Ask them to spread the news to their friends, too. Throughout the course of the day, keep people updated – let them know how much has been raised so far, how thrilled you are, and how important BC Children’s Hospital is.

Meanwhile, keep your Super Community page updated, too. Make sure you have stories and photos posted that help to show your commitment. And during the day, update the community’s status to thank the folks who’ve donated, and encourage others to help you reach your goal.

Keep thanking people on Twitter, too – for donating, but also for spreading the word. By the time the last hour rolls around, you’ll probably be sending out messages every few minutes. Feel free to say how grateful and excited you are about the results… and how even a small donation can push you just that little bit closer to your goal.

Now, suppose you reach your goal a little early. Do you stop? Not a chance! Congratulate your followers on doing better than expected – and urge them to push the total even higher!

Once you’ve reached your deadline, send a big thank-you tweet. Let people know they can still donate, but tell them the total you’ve reached, and what it means to you and your team.

And then let us know how it went!

(Think that’s ambitious? Beth Kanter raised $2,500 in just 90 minutes on Twitter to send a young Cambodian woman to college! Details here.)

Pick a hashtag. When you’re holding an event, tell people in advance what hashtag to use. (A hashtag is a special keyword, starting with a “#” character.) Encourage people to tweet live from the event, and they’ll give you live coverage of the event – a great way to spread the word.

Tweet your BC Children’s Hospital experience. Do you have a story to tweet? Set up a blog post on your Super Community explaining that you’ll be tweeting your story on a specific date. Then, that day, tell your story, tweet by tweet – always including a link back to your Super Community page. Feel free to ask for donations… and encourage other people to share their stories, too!

Accept a dare. Is one of your community members willing to step forward and do something dramatic – like shave their head? You can do it in stages, telling your Twitter followers that, say, for every $50 raised, Angie will buzz another row of her hair off. Take a picture each time she does, and post it to Twitter using a service like TwitPic. (Keep at it until you reach your target… you don’t want to strand Angie with half a head of hair!)

Take on a secret identity. Give your community a superhero alter-ego on Twitter, and tweet your imaginary doings! Are you plucking stranded cats out of trees? Avoiding kryptonite? Make sure that you include a link to your fundraising page on supercommunity.ca in your profile, and encourage your followers to donate.

Show your colours. Want to raise awareness? Set a date to be Blue and Orange Day. Encourage all of your followers who’ve ever had to rely on BC Children’s Hospital, or who have a friend or family member who did, to wear blue and orange… and to change their avatars to blue, orange or both. Book a venue for a party – it can be a meeting room with drinks and pizza, or a local restaurant – and end the day with a Tweetup: a gathering where all of your Twitter followers are invited to come and celebrate what the hospital has done for all of us.

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