Twitter is a powerful and easy to use platform to build a community in large part thanks to the third party tools. Not convinced you should put the time into it? Read 5 reasons why non profits need to take advantage of Twitter.

Here are 5 tools that can really make a difference if used well.

Ifttt
This is an incredibly powerful tool that is very much worth exploring in depth. It helps automate some of your Twitter. Too much automation can erode the community building aspect of social media, but some strategic automation can save you valuable time. There are a number of capabilities beyond Twitter that are worth exploring. However, for Twitter you can automatically build a list around a hashtag. For example, if there is a hashtag you are using for an event or a hashtag that is particularly relevant to your non profit you can create a list automatically under the event’s name, etc. you can also have tweets sent out once a week automatically such as “Happy Monday! Have you considered joining our mauling lists?”. One great time saver is that if you have a WordPress blog you can have that automatically tweeted when you post it.

Manage Flitter
With the free version, you can do some limited research on your followers and even unfollow them at 100 a day. You can also look up accounts to follow by keyword and follow up to 50. They have a great suggested content part if you are looking for new things to tweet about as well.

Buffer
You can add your Twitter here (and google plus/Pinterest) and schedule tweets as many times a day as you would like, but you can only have 10 in the cue with the free account. It has suggested tweets and there is a great browser extension so if you see an article you want to tweet you just click it and it grabs the link and title.

Hootsuite
You can also schedule tweets here and add up to three Twitter accounts. It takes more time to tweet than buffer but has no limit and has a great learning center to help you get more out of it – and there is a lot you can do with it even if you do not have pro. For example, you can have several tabs open and read your inbox, follow a hashtag, check your mentions, etc.

Commun.it
The free version only allows 20 interactions a week, but for many accounts that is more than enough. You can thank recent followers, retweeters, engaged members and see suggestions on who to follow. There are also weekly campaigns doing all of the above automatically. Automated DMs are not the best strategy if you have time, but this automatically follows and DMs top followers if you are lacking in time to see who to follow back. This can be used to send a Facebook page, a video, newsletter sign up, etc.  You can just send a simple greeting message if you are afraid of being spammy. It is doubtful many would look too unkindly on getting a “hello and happy Friday Jim” from a non profit.

One last tip – if you are looking for quality analytics, Twitter has an internal system set up that is phenomenal. You just need to go to ads.twitter.com to take a look (no advertising needed, but you may need to wait until you have enough of a following to qualify).

If you want even more free tools, there is a guide from buffer on 59 free tools.

Picture found here.

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