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How to Use Twitter for More Than Just "Engagement"

"I tried using Twitter, but there's just so much noise."

"We don't use Twitter but our grantees do."

"We want to tell our grantees' stories on our website to help show our foundation's impact, but it's so hard to get them to share the stories with us."

Sound familiar? I've heard these things from lots of folks who work at small foundations.

Most of the talk I hear about social media and Twitter is about engagement. Sure, engagement is nice, but it isn't the only thing social media is good for. Put your ear to the ground and listen to what your grantees are doing!

Try this, small foundation friends (a detailed how-to is below):

  1. Create a Twitter list with your grantees' Twitter handles.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee.
  3. Sit back, read your new list, and see what your grantees are up to.
  4. Repeat every so often.

Voila! Now you've positioned yourself to conveniently overhear your grantees' stories and see their photos, while cutting out some of the noise that Twitter can bring.

If you don't already know how to make a list, or read its contents, with Twitter, read on:

How to make a Twitter list of your grantees

Go to www.twitter.com and log in (or create an account, if you don't already have one).

  1. Search for a grantee, using the “search” box at the top. Click the appropriate name to go to their profile.
  2. Find the little gear symbol on the right middle side of the page, near the “follow” (or “following”) button.
  3. From the options it reveals, choose “Add or remove from lists.”
  4. You’ll see a pop-up that shows any lists you might have already created.
  5. At the bottom is a button to “Create new list.” Click it. Give your list a name, and decide whether you want it to be public or private. Save.

Repeat.

For future grantees that you want to add to this list, you’ll just need to check the appropriate checkbox after clicking “Add or remove from lists.”

How to read your Twitter list of grantees

  1. In Twitter, look for your avatar at the top right. It's to the right of the search box, and the left of the "new post" button. Click it.
  2. From the options that are revealed, choose "Lists."
  3. Find your grantee list and click on the title.
  4. Read and enjoy!