I started tweeting about nonprofit communications a year and a half ago. I would say, “The Tao of Twitter is the book I wish I had read back then,” except that might give you the impression it’s only for beginners. That would be untrue.
The Tao of Twitter is basic in the sense that it focuses on the basis underlying all successful social media–and a lot of life.
1. Targeted connections. “Systematically surround ourselves with people likely to want to know us, learn from us, and help us.”
2. Meaningful content. Write, blog, and tweet for the people you want to reach. Make sure what you say will be important to them.
3. Authentic helpfulness. Don’t sell. Connect. Find ways to help without already seeing (let alone asking for) a favor you can get in return.
One-third of the book elaborates these principles. One-third tells you how to put them into action through Twitter. And one-third tells you how to build on the basics and succeed.
Nonprofit organizations are in an especially good position to practice what Mark Schaefer preaches in The Tao of Twitter. We may call it outreach, coalition-building, collaboration, or whatever, but acting together with a mission in mind is in the nonprofit DNA. Doing it online is just a natural outgrowth of what we do already.
Nonprofits know a lot about our subject matter, too. When we write, blog, or tweet in order to be useful to our community, it does more for us and our reputation than if we blow our own horn. The nifty new name for this approach is content marketing, but it’s how nonprofits have always made our reputation.