When you first start using Twitter, you most probably follow and engage with your off-line contacts and those whom you know from other social media platforms. As your followers grow you may not know many of them and if your tweets and manners are the only elements available to them to know more about you. I suggest you make a great first impression and follow it up with real interaction. Twitter connects the global village and you certainly want to be part of it.
5 branding tips to remember before you engage on Twitter
Way back in February 2013, I wrote about experiencing the power of a tweet sharing how Twittersphere helped me reach and engage with a wider audience that voted to make my barely 1 year old blog the winner of a best Coaching Blog contest as well as my tips for enhancing the Twitter experience which hold, even today. I continue to engage on Twitter with clients, colleagues, make new acquaintances and stay connected to a network of like-minded professionals.
I mentioned some of these points and more in my earlier post on Twitter and provide a recap from a branding perspective to help you get off to a good start below.
The Karmic Ally Coaching perspective on Twitter etiquette that matters
As with all social media platforms, there are certain basic rules of etiquette that make a difference to our experience.
Here’s my list of 5 manners that matter (in no particular order) based on my own user perspective and I am sure some, if not all of this will sound familiar.
Steer clear of tweeting confidential stuff
Apart from the fact that tweets are searchable, you don’t want to compromise your privacy. If the conversation is confidential or personal, shift to direct messaging or let the other person know that you are taking the conversation offline or at least “off-Twitter”.
In any case, make sure that only those people who follow both of you can see it and if they want, follow along. To do this, don’t move their name to the middle or end of the tweet with every reply.
If someone mentions your or retweets your post, thank them – people like to have their efforts appreciated and it can lead to a meaningful conversation.
On the flip side, if you are sharing others content acknowledge them and let them know that you appreciate their content.
Did someone follow you? You could tweet them a thank you but make it natural by adding to the conversation. One way that I do it is to visit their profile to check if I want to follow them back and also to learn more about them. Then I compose a tweet on an area of mutual interest or ask something about their field that interests me.
Discretion is the better part of valor when using Direct Message (DM)
This is one area where you can commit a social faux pas or get misunderstood if you are not careful. Think of it this way, just as advertising text messages on your mobile irritate you, a person who receives a DM from you shortly after they follow you with a sales pitch may decide the DM is noise or spam. There should be a pertinent reason for the DM.
Many of the DMs that I receive and ignore are actually automated messages that point to a website, some product or just plain self-promotion. I prefer the DMs that prove I am following a living, breathing person and that has always been the beginning of a great relationship that has flowed onto Facebook and my ultimate favorite platform, LinkedIn.
Use DMs to start a conversation on a subject that is of mutual interest or to compliment them (sincerely of course). If in doubt, don’t DM!
Should you follow the follower?
My rule of thumb for following is:
- Check out the profiles and tweets of those who follow you to determine if you should follow back. Remember, you are not obliged to follow back everyone who follows you. You are in control of your twitter experience, no one else.
- If you follow someone and they do not follow you back, don’t get upset. You may not be part of their chosen experience.
- Instead of tweeting to people to follow you or publicly make them an offer that everyone can see, engage with them in a meaningful manner. If someone wants to follow you, they will. I’ve followed many authorities for quite a few years with no expectation of being followed back and then one fine morning, I get a Twitter notification that someone I admire has followed me back or put me on a list to be followed. It happens!
A word about unfollowing – do not follow someone and unfollow them after they follow you. It is bad manners. Sooner or later they will find out and unfollow you as well not to mention the damage you inflict on your image and the impression you create.
In the same vein, don’t call someone out for unfollowing you. They may have their own reason or their Twitter strategy may have changed. Sometimes, people get unfollowed accidentally or because of a bug in the system. Maintain your dignity – don’t get upset!
Wondering how much and what content to tweet?
Different experts offer different advice about the number of tweets in a day and their spacing. I’ll offer just one suggestion – avoid spam and tweeting too often. The last thing you want to do is to irritate your followers or give the impression that you are fully automated.
Content wise, here are a few tips:
Post useful, interesting, relevant and original content. Use the Litmus test, “If I were a follower, would I care about this?”
Don’t tweet your rants. If you are having a problem with a service provider, tweet them a request for help and take the conversation off-line. If the dialogue continues on Twitter, make sure that you are polite, firm and professional.
Tweet positive, useful messages and content. Tweeters tend to share positive messages. Make it more than just tweets about your blog post; share other content that you know your tribe and followers would like to read. Steer clear of tweets that only promote your products and look like you are hawking your goods and nothing else.
One good rule that I picked up some time back was the 70/20/10 rule – 70% of tweets should be sharing or curate information that could be helpful to your followers, 20% should be human engagement & conversational and only 10% of your tweets should be selling your product or service. If you are not a business person, then I suggest using that 10% to engage and get to know others on Twitter.
Avoid hashtagging the entire tweet. Hashtags are great to encourage participation but can you actually read a tweet which has a hashtag after every word? I can’t. Consider maximum 2 hashtags and make them relevant.
Twitter Etiquette in a nutshell…..
Your twitter experience depends a lot on how you show up and engage. It takes just one tweet to ruin your reputation on Twittersphere. On the other hand, you can meet some wonderful people who can help in promoting your goals and desires, whether you are a job seeker or a businessperson wanting more qualified leads.
The bottom line is that Twitter is a social media platform and meant to be social with human beings interacting and engaging with each other, not a set of automated tweets and messages that annoy rather than add value.
Did I miss out on any other important elements that enhance your Twitter experience or etiquette rules? What about your observations on the Twittersphere? Please share in the comments box below!
PS. Let’s connect on Twitter! Tweet me at @karmically
Written By: Vatsala ShuklaFollow Me
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