6 Tips For a Better #FollowFriday on Twitter

September 22, 2011 by

One of the Twitter traditions I share first with clients is Follow Friday.

It’s simple. On Friday, send a Tweet that recommends other people to follow on Twitter. Include the hashtag #followfriday in your tweet, or better yet, #ff, which saves you a few characters. It looks like this:

Follow Friday example

Follow Friday was created in 2008 (Mashable has the origin story) and has been one of the most consistent traditions (some call it a game) on Twitter ever since. Who you choose, how many people you recommend, and how often you participate are completely up to you.

This is social media karma and curation at its best. Trust me, the beauty and benefits of the game will become clear to as you get a few rounds under your belt.


1. GIVE CONTEXT. Group like accounts. Give a reason why you are recommending these people by adding an additional hashtag or description. In the example above, I added #humor. Try these – #location (#hudsonvalley), occupation, specialty (#politics, #nptech), #donors, #advocates, #customers or #clients, #foodies, #runners, #yankees.

2. HAVE PURPOSE. Be strategic with your groupings. Use them to highlight clients, donors, volunteers, thinkers, influencers, show gratitude, give respect, welcome newbies, wake up a Twitter account you think should be more active.

3. SHOW VARIETY. Recommend big accounts and little accounts. Your recommendation could attract the attention of someone influential or bestow credibility to the small but mighty Tweeter. Also, mix it up. Don’t do the same recommendations every week. It’s OK to repeat, but the same #ff every week is a bit lazy and dull.

Use Follow Friday Helper (pictured below) to get easy recommendations based on who’s mentioned you recently.

Follow Friday Helper screen capture

4. RECIPROCATE. Minimally, review your Mentions on Twitter to see who recommended you. TopFollowFriday (pictured below) is a tool that will show you #followfriday recommendations, but not those tagged with #ff, so it’s only a partial record. It does go back in time more than other apps, which helps you find and recommend your longtime followers. Definitely thank the people who recommended you, and consider recommending them in return.

Top Follow Friday results

5. GIVE PROPS. A slight variation of Tip #4. When you are recommended, check out the other people recommended in the tweet. If you end up following those folks, give thanks for the recommendation! EXAMPLE: @HeyAwesomePerson, I followed @WickedSmartPerson from your #ff list. Thanks!

6. CURATE FROM TWITTER LISTS. This is how I do much of my themed #ff recommendations. I go to my Twitter lists, see who’s tweeted interesting stuff lately, and recommend those people.

For example, during Hurricane Irene, there were a few heroic Tweeters who made it their business to get the word out on road closings, water advisories and rescue and recovery resources. I made a list, checked it twice, and made #ff recommendations.

Follow Friday from a list

Have any tips to add, or experiences to share? Share them in the comments section.


TOOL TUESDAY: ListWatcher Tells You When You’ve Been Added to a Twitter List

June 21, 2011 by

Want to know when someone adds you to a Twitter list? Of course you do, but Twitter doesn’t tell you!

Try List Watcher. It’s a very simple Twitter app that sends you a direct message whenever someone adds or removes you from a Twitter list, or renames it. All you have to do is follow the Twitter account @listwatcher.

List Watcher

I don’t know why Twitter doesn’t include this type of notification, but I suspect it may add the feature in the future.

I’ve been using List Watcher for well over a year now and it still works, unlike many other niche Twitter apps. I’ve often, but not always, thanked people for putting me on their Twitter list, and certainly have discovered great new people to follow.

30 Super Useful Nonprofit Hashtags – Twitter Chats, Too!

May 18, 2011 by

Twitter really shines as a communications tool when you use it with hashtags. Hashtags are words or phrases prefixed with the hash symbol (#), #justinbeiber for example.

Hashtags have two major benefits – they help your tweets get found (by people who are searching for your subject), and they help you find good content. You can make up your own hashtag – #ihateitwhenthathappens for example – but that’s more of a sentiment than a communications strategy.

Use a hashtag that’s popular and meaningful to your interests – like #nptech, which stands for nonprofit tech – and you’ll tap a powerful vein of conversation and learning.

When you use a popular hashtag like #nptech in your tweets, you’re more apt to get retweets and click-throughs and spur interaction with your followers.

Do a persistent and regular search for a popular industry hashtag – #fundraising is another example – and you have access to a pure, topical news stream. In other words, hashtags let you cut to the chase, and they really sing once you use a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to monitor the hashtags in streams.

Hootsuite hashtags

My absolute favorite nonprofit hashtag is #nptech because it consistently yields good results. You often see it paired with 1-2 other hashtags to expand the reach of the tweet – #nptech and #fundraising for example. In fact, follow a big hashtag like #nptech to find niche hashtags such as #sm4sg.

Another great use of hashtags is the Twitter chat – a conversation that happens on Twitter that’s focused within a certain time (usually 1-2 hour slot), on a specific topic and by a specific person. Twitter chats often occur on a regular schedule (once a week, twice a month, etc.). Once you learn the hashtag for the chat, you can use a tool such as Tweetchat (specifically designed for Twitter chats) to view the chat and participate in the conversation in real time.

Twitter chats are a fantastic way to discover new people to follow on Twitter.

Here are some popular and consistent hashtags and Twitter chats for nonprofits.

#csrcorporate social responsibility

#ngonongovernmental organization
#npconsnonprofit consultants
#nptechnonprofit tech
#sm4sgsocial media for social good
#socentsocial entrepreneur or social enterprise


#nptalknonprofit talk (weekly Wednesdays, 3-4pm EST | about the chat)
#ynpchatyoung nonprofit professionals (first Wednesday of the month, 4-5pm EST | about the chat)
#npconsnonprofit consultants (third Tuesday of the month, 4-5pm EST | about the chat)
#socentchantsocial entrepreneurs (first Wednesday of the month, 4-6pm EST | about the chat)
#smNPchatsmall nonprofits (every other Friday, 12-1pm EST | about the chat)


This list was put together with help from Beth Kanter, Holly Ross, Amy Sample Ward, Debra Askanase, Garth Moore and John Haydon. My thanks for your contributions here and to nonprofits in general.

I’m working on a separate post about conference hashtags to follow. Got a suggestion? Please post it in the comments – thank you!

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