Tips for NGOs to Use Twitter Effectively During COVID-19


India, April 22, 2020: Since the emergence and subsequent outbreak of COVID-19, there have been millions of tweets and retweets about the virus around the globe. People are looking to Twitter to find the latest and credible information on the situation and how they can protect themselves and their families from the pandemic. If you are an NGO that wants to highlight its initiatives or sharing critical information on local, national and global developments, here is how you can harness the positive power of Twitter to join the public conversation and connect with those in need. #EachOneReachOne

None of these require any advertisement or promotion but instead enable you to effectively use Twitter tools and features in your account.

Update Twitter bio to include the relevant handles and hashtags
While your audience might be more familiar with your main Twitter account, you might want to include important accounts in your bio (eg. DCP or PRO’s accounts) and hashtags which are being used presently for any of your campaigns or campaigns your organisation supports and believes in, such as #WashYourHands and #StayHomeStaySafe (or the equivalent in local languages). You can also update your cover picture with the recent campaign creative

Create Lists and publish them on your account
Again, you might be using all your district usernames to disseminate information but your audience might not be aware of all the accounts you operate. It would be good to create a list that you can share on your Twitter timeline, and also share with the local media for them to reach out to you.

You can refer to these simple steps for guidance on creating Twitter Lists

Ask your followers to turn on notifications for you
Your audience might be following multiple other accounts. How do you ensure that they do not miss out on crucial updates from your timeline? Tweet out reminding them to switch on notifications for you, clicking the bell icon on your timeline. That way they will not miss your updates!

For any responsible organisation, sharing a message or update in an appropriate tone is very important, and more so during a crisis. Therefore, some basic questions you can ask yourself before deciding the content of your post are:

  • What’s appropriate for my account right now?
  • What do people need right now?
  • Am I or my organisation fact-checking information for people?

Additionally, it is always good to let your audience into the conversation. Ask a question, create a call for action. Make it participatory!

Leverage the Twitter Live Q&A format to engage with the public
It’s very easy to go live from your Twitter account. You simply need a verified mobile phone in order to do this. For more sophisticated options, you can also use Producer. It allows you to launch professionally produced live broadcasts, schedule and promote them before they go ‘live’ and cut them into highlight clips in real-time — all directly within Media Studio.

  • You can set a hashtag to collect questions from your audience. Ensure you give a definite time as to when the questions will be answered.
  • When the time sets out, you can use Twitter to go LIVE from the camera in your Twitter app and answer the questions you collected on the hashtag, and new ones as they come to you during the LIVE video. 

Bonus: Now you can also invite 3 people to join your LIVE to make it more relevant and engaging.

Tweet for Support, with Conversation Cards
You can create innovative campaigns for your organisation and ask your audience to join in by Tweeting for their support and inviting others to Tweet too. This is an organic activity which can be done from your Twitter account.

Use a Website Card for more hits
Website card makes your media more clickable. For example, if you have a website that you are pointing people to for more information on a particular campaign, sharing that website link using the card can have more ‘clicks’ on them. This is a free product and available on our dashboard. Step by Step process flow attached.

Host Tweet Chats with experts
Tweet chats are like online panel discussions, but using Tweets. You can pick a topic, time, date and panellists and announce it to your followers. Have a set of questions for the panellists for a moderated discussion. This allows you to have a conversation on your timeline with experts and followers that is two ways and participatory.

Use Tweetdeck to track the conversation
You can log into from your browser and can use the dashboard to track multiple hashtags, search terms and accounts. It can be your one-stop to track the conversation around the coronavirus and what people are saying.

Tweet out useful videos and images
The primary method of sharing information on Twitter during a time of crisis is through Retweeting: 75 per cent of COVID-19 related Tweets are Retweets. If you are Tweeting videos, it’s best to keep them brief and relevant. Also, don’t forget to ask yourself about what’s the hook before posting it.

#StaySafeStayHome and #FlattenTheCurve