5 tips for charities using promoted tweets

Twitter promoted tweets

If you're a regular reader of this blog you will know that we are Twitter advocates. Twitter Advertising is one of many tools for engaging with audiences, making connections, and promoting action, and it's finally taking off with UK-based charities.

There are three types of Twitter Ads - Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends.

In this post we’re going to look at tips for using Promoted Tweets with examples of how charities are using them.

1) Define your objectives

Before starting anything it’s important to ask why. How will Twitter Ads fit into your overall social media and marketing strategy, and beyond that, your organisational objectives?

Twitter Ads can be used for a variety of objectives, such as getting more newsletter sign-ups or followers, increasing donations, or reaching a set number of signatures on a petition.

The important thing is that you have a clear, measurable objective that links to your overall strategy.

2) Craft your content carefully

Promoted Tweets give you the option of promoting an existing tweet, or creating a new one using Twitter Cards. 

In order to run a campaign using cards you will need:

  • A tweet text
  • Text inside the card iteslf
  • Button text and a link for users to go to (optional)
  • An image or video (optional)

Each of these need to tie together to promote your Call to Action.

In one example, Water Aid UK chose to include a link to their campaign page, To Be A Girl.

Before you get round to the mechanics of uploading everything and scheduling your campaign, it’s good to spend time thinking about these four things and coming up with one concept with different variations. Each word matters so take your time, and choose images that support your message.

My favourite Promoted Tweet is this one from Water Aid UK, which suits the brevity of Twitter and plays to its interactive potential. This is a great example of designing content to fit the platform.



Although it's not promoted content, I also can't resist sharing this brilliant Tweet from Charity Water. #lol

For more tips on content see this post from Charity Chap on using Twitter Ads to promote your cause, and this Guardian piece on the importance of storytelling (and Gandalf).

3. Target your message

Twitter Ads allow you to target your advertising to different groups of people. You can even create several different versions of the same campaign but with different audiences selected, in order to better test which are most successful. (If you do this, remember to keep the campaigns identical apart from one feature).

First select your primary method of targeting.

Secondary options then include:

  • Language

  • Device (eg. mobile only)

  • Location

  • Gender

  • Lists of email addresses or users you want to target

Twitter Ad Targeting by List

4. Use A/B Testing

In each campaign you can choose different combinations of tweet texts and cards, which is a great opportunity to test which work the best. I’d suggest running a small campaign first, then a larger one once you’ve narrowed down which of your tweets were the most successful.

Remember to only vary one item, for example the tweet text or the images.  You can then compare the performance of A against B. Find out more about A/B testing here.


5) Make the most of analytics

Twitter analytics is free for Advertisers, Twitter Card Users, and Verified Users. It provides information about how both normal Tweets and Ads are performing, through tracking link clicks, Tweet impressions, retweets, favourites and replies, and is a wonderful tool for tracking progress.

Nonprofits can use this data to measure the success of current strategies, and to quickly change strategies that aren't working. The Twitter blog is a good place to go for tips on how to use its analytics platform, with posts such as this recent discussion of the new options available. Another resource is this free 50-page download from Simply Measured all about how to use Twitter Analytics.

To view your Tweet activity dashboard visit analytics.twitter.com.

Ready to begin?

To get started, go to the Twitter Ads section in your Settings Panel. You’ll be asked to select your country and timezone (Twitter advertising is currently only available in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland). Click the New Campaign button to start a new campaign.

Have you used Twitter Ads?

Write a quick comment below. We'd love to hear what you learned from the experience, and our readers would too.


7 August 2014
Mary Mitchell