With Twitter (the popular micro-blogging service) becoming a household name, it’s probably safe to say that a lot of people who want to use it are a little intimidated to start their tweeting adventure because they’re not sure just exactly what to say or do without looking like a total newbie. While there are no hard and set rules, there are a few things that fall into what is commonly referred to as “Twitter etiquette”, or, “Twitiquette”.
Below, we’ll review five things to keep in mind when using Twitter, and since we’re all about using Twitter in a business environment, most of the information below will be geared towards using Twitter in the business and corporate world.
1. To Follow, Or Not – One of the daily aspects of using Twitter, whether personally or for business purposes, is checking out your new followers and deciding if you should follow them back. One thing to keep in mind is that before you go off and follow everyone that follows you, your best bet is to take a look at your new followers to see if they’re indeed “real” people or just spam accounts that spammers set up to promote junk offers. It only takes a few seconds to do this, and can go a long way in protecting your timeline from being clogged up with spam offers. Now, assuming the person is real, you still don’t know if you should follow them or not. That’s quite common, and what you need to ask yourself is – “Am I potentially interested in what this person has to say on a daily basis?” or “Do they seem interesting” or “Can I learn something from them?”. Simply taking a look at their past few tweets should give you an idea of what kind of Twitterer they are. Don’t worry, unlike the opinion of a few so called experts – Twitter wasn’t made for you to follow everyone that follows you. It doesn’t hurt to give them a chance and follow them for a few days to see what they’re like, but by no means should you ever feel obligated to follow someone just because they followed you.
2. Engage And Answer – If you’re representing a business on Twitter, it’s very important that when you receive questions, replies, or direct message that you answer or respond to them in a timely manner. Part of the beauty of Twitter is the “real-time” atmosphere, and businesses who understand that and actively engage and respond to their customers are the ones making waves in the social media atmosphere.
3. Offer Value – One of the best things about Twitter is the potential value of a single 140 character post. People like to follow those who share useful links, helpful or insightful information, or anything else of value that makes your readers make a point to pay attention to your tweets. For instance, sometimes the computer giant, Dell, runs special offers exclusively for their followers on Twitter. If you’re representing a business or company, try something similar. Run a promotion exclusively for your Twitter followers, and if it’s good enough, you can bet that word of mouth will travel at light speed, and your follower count will go up!
4. Don’t Overdo It – Twitter is a highly powerful social media business communication tool, and it’s a great way to reach out to a brand new audience. But one thing you don’t want to do is continually promote your business to the point where it gets annoying. No one wants to sign on to Twitter to read advertisements all day, trust me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with talking about your business on Twitter part of the time – but to really build trust, loyalty, and popularity, make sure you’re adding value to your Twitter stream. Keep the self-promotion to a safe minimum.
5. Show Your Human Side – This relates to the advice given above, but it’s still worth pointing out. If you’re Tweeting for a company or business that you run, make sure your entire existence on Twitter isn’t about the business side of things. Show your followers that there is an actual face behind the company logo. Become more personal and show them that you believe in the power of social media for connecting on a personal level. Take a picture or maybe even a video of a company meeting or gathering, or take some funny pictures of the company BBQ where the boss falls into a puddle of mud during tug-of-war. Your customers will absolutely LOVE this, and it works wonders for building the trust factor – which is already hard to do sometimes in a virtual environment.
There is a lot more to consider when using Twitter for your business, but to save you from reading a novel, we’ll post more tips down the road. If you have anything to share, please leave it in the comment section below – we would love to hear your thoughts!