Getting started on any new social media platform can be a challenge. Apart from learning the ropes in terms of how the site actually works, you’ve got to get to grips with the lingo and the general etiquette of each platform. Today, I spoke at a seminar on social media in Fermanagh, but we had so much to cover I didn’t get around to sharing some general tips on Twitter etiquette, so for those who attended (thank you!), and even for those who didn’t, here’s a quick run down of what I believe are the main dos and don’ts when it comes to Twitter.
- Go public – That’s the nature of this platform, so don’t keep your account private. If you’re using social media for your business, it wouldn’t make any sense anyway!
- Respond – When someone interacts with you, get back to them and continue the conversation. This is the kind of engagement you want with your customers, potential customers and your network.
- Show your appreciation – Thank people who have taken the time to follow or retweet you – and try to personalise the response if you can. This can also be a great conversation starter.
- Reciprocate – It’s nice to be nice as they say, so as well as showing your appreciation for those helping you out, think about how you can help them. This is a two way street, and they’ll appreciate it.
- Monitor competitors and keywords – Don’t be afraid to watch what your peers are doing and what conversations are going on about them and about your industry in general. Use the search function and hashtags.
- Be informative – Give your audience a reason to follow and engage. Remember the golden rule – it’s not all about you! Be sure to add something of value.
- Share good feedback – If you’re getting good feedback, great! Make sure you retweet it so other potential customers can see how good you are.
- Recommend other tweeters – A recommendation is one of those ways you can help to promote those who have been supportive of you, and also those tweeters which will be of interest to your followers. Use the hashtag #FF (aka #FollowFriday) on a Friday as a means of recommending other tweeters to follow. They’ll appreciate the recommendation.
- Leave room for retweeters – If someone wants to quote your tweet but add a little comment of their own, make sure they have the room to do so. Around the 100 character mark is about right to allow for this.
- Spread your tweets throughout the day – It’s frustrating when you see your timeline filling up with 5 or 6 tweets from the same person or company all coming up at the same time. They’ve clearly scheduled everything that way. Apart from the fact it’s irritating, if you’re expecting people to click through to read an article or get more information, it just won’t work. I tend to just scroll past these multiple tweets.
- Cross-promote your other social networks – Tweet about your Facebook Page or Pinterest account to let people know. If they’re following you on Twitter, they’re probably more likely to engage with you elsewhere too.
- Use a URL shortener – The 140 character limit on Twitter can be challenging, so don’t use up all your space with a big long URL. Have a look at URL shorteners such as Bitly or Google’s URL shortener.
- Unfollow those of no value – You may have followed someone in the hope they would reciprocate, or you may have expected great content from them. Use a tool like Unfollowers.me to help you decide who is no longer adding value to you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should unfollow everyone who doesn’t follow you. If they’re tweeting great content for you, why would you stop following? Or if it’s someone you’d really like to ‘target’, your opportunity to engage with them may come – just keep monitoring their tweets and be patient.
- Use txt speak – It’s tempting if you have a lot to say given that you only have 140 characters. A few tips would be to use ‘RT’ rather than ‘retweet’, ‘&’ rather than ‘and’, ‘3’ rather than ‘three’. Dnt resort 2 ths tho – Lol! It looks unprofessional.
- Get too personal – There can be a fine line between having a personality and being over-familiar and unprofessional. Be careful of the boundaries and get the right balance for your business.
- Auto-tweet too much – I refer back to the point I made about spreading tweets out throughout the day! It is handy to schedule some tweets using the likes of Hootsuite, but you should also be there in person when you can.
- Automatically DM new followers – please don’t do this! It’s a real pet hate of mine and I’m not alone. It looks spammy and can be inappropriate, depending on who the recipient is. If you’re going to DM someone, do it manually and personalise it.
- Wait for days to reply – It’s the fastest social network in the west, so keep on top of your interactions and get back to people as soon as you can. They’ll expect a reply quickly – usually within a couple of hours.
- Over tweet – People can be put off by the ‘mega-tweeters’, and with the just announced upcoming Twitter mute button, you’re likely to get hit with this if you’re overdoing it, so get he balance right.
- Be spammy – This goes for everything you do! Even copying and pasting the same response to several people can be off-putting, and definitely watch what links you’re sharing.
- Put all your tweets on your other social networks – Each platform is different, and should be treated as such. If you’re tweeting several times a day, you don’t want these automatically going onto your Facebook – it’s going to alienate your Facebook audience.
- Use hashtag stuffing – 1-2 hashtags in a tweet is fine and on average will get you more retweets, but any more than that and you lose the effectiveness, so choose your hashtags carefully.
This should help Twitter newbies get to grips with best practice on the site, and may even help some more experienced tweeters!
Can you think of any more Twitter dos and don’ts?
And thanks to Fermanagh Enterprise and Fermanagh District Council for having me to speak at today’s social media seminar, and a big thanks to Terry McCartney of Belmore Court Motel for being my wing man and sharing his social media success story.
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