Every once in a while, one of my blog readers will find and share an old blog post that I’d almost forgotten even existed. That’s exactly what happened recently with the blog post below. As one of my first articles, I got a bit of a chuckle out of it. After that initial response, I realized that even now, three years later, much of that post is still relevant to Twitter. It seems that while technology and business may change at a moment’s notice, common courtesy, etiquette and general common sense remain consistent.
In light of that revelation, I decided to bring back my Twitter Do’s and Dont’s circa 2009 with some current notes to freshen them up.
When I wrote this article I had been using Twitter for only a short time and didn’t consider myself even close to an expert. Even still, I was happy to share my opinion on Twittiquette and what I felt did and did not work.
As I said before, while some things change, some stay the same. I still am asked by clients if there’s a Social Media rule-book that should be followed. How does one behave, engage and interact on Twitter? And just as I did then, I am going to share with you now what has guided me.
Keep in mind as you read through this list that each person’s preferences are different, and each person’s reasons for engaging in Social Media are different but regardless of those preferences and reasons, it’s all about relationships.
My intentions are to build relationships, expand my network offer exposure to my businesses if and when it is appropriate. My first priority is and always will be, building relationships.
In light of that “why”, these are my “Twitter Rules”:
- Take time to set up your profile completely before you start conversing with others. Your profile is your brand and it is the first step in making a good first impression.
- Upload a good professional photo for your profile image that is representative of who you are not an image of your logo. Make it easy for people to recognize you.
- Take time to find some of your existing friends who are using Twitter. Take a look at their tweets, take a look at their follower list and see if there are people there that you should follow as well.
- Follow @mashable @guykawasaki @copyblogger @problogger @marismith @danschabel and (shameless plug) @lisalarter (I am one of the Nifty 50 Women on Twitter afterall!). These are Twitter Pros who I have found always offer solid and valuable content in what they post. They will help you learn if you pay attention.
- Follow people who you find to be engaging, and from the looks of their Tweets align with your values.
- Take time to read some of the blog posts or articles that others are posting to get an idea of what information is out there and how this content is being shared on Twitter
- Watch how others are using Twitter and model that. Use it as a way to find and engage your audience, not as a billboard for spraying your advertising everywhere.
- Set up an RSS feed that gives you access to the latest information that you would like to share with your tribe.
- Take time to ask and answer questions – This helps you interact with others.
- ReTweet posts that you think add value. This is how you help others – by sharing their posts with your followers.
- Research the applications that are available to you as a Twitter user before installing them, ask questions to find out which are the good ones.
- Install Tweetdeck, it will make keeping track of everything easier to do. If you haven’t signed up for my Social Business Toolkit yet, do so before installing Tweetdeck (click here). It’ll teach you all you need to know to get started!
- Customize your Twitter Homepage. Either learn to edit and customize it yourself or hire someone to take care of it for you but know that, just like everything else, it needs to be branded just like all your other marketing materials so that you are instantly recognizeable.
- Block users that do not align with your values.
- Direct message with a personal note, take time to find users name, make the note authentic and sincere.
- Participate in a way that is reflective of you. Be human, be yourself. Have fun and be sincere, this is the best way to build relationships.
- Post a variety of tweets. Reply to others, retweet, post with and without links in order to contribute like a real person versus a clone.
- Auto-follow unless it is part of your strategy. There are some undesirable people on tweeter, I do not auto follow so that I can screen who follows me and who I choose to follow.
- Auto direct message, it only annoys people.
- Spam people over and over again with the same message either as a public Tweet or Direct Message.
- Only talk about your business, people will get bored with you and stop following you.
- Use the information posted on twitter profiles to gain email addresses for your newsletter. Once again this is undesirable behavior and will affect your reputation and credibility.
- Engage in confrontational dialogue with people on Twitter. Each post is an indexed web page and even though you can delete the post from your stream, that content will always be there.
- Creep people out by using the search function and then jumping into a conversation without correct context. Take time to read the dialogue between them and others before you insert foot (tweet) into your mouth.
- Install a bunch of applications that you do not fully understand such as sponsored tweets, or applications to get you more followers without doing your due diligence. I receive emails from people asking how to uninstall these apps all the time because they do not create the response they were looking for.
- Hire someone and allow them to engage in conversation as though they were you. Allowing someone to schedule some Tweets here and there is one thing but you should always be responsible for responding personally to anyone who is talking to (Tweeting at) you.