Twitter Dos and Don’ts
Twitter is open to everyone to use and therefore everyone uses Twitter for different purposes and reasons. Everyone has different ideas on what the correct way to use it would be.
Everyone uses Twitter for his or her own purpose, and no matter what, someone will think you’re doing it wrong.
The great thing about Twitter is that there are no specific rules on how you must use your account. If you take a look and listen, you can hear the voices of religious icons, political junkies, media personalities, businesses, and the general public. Each one of these people uses Twitter differently, which brings up the questions: is there a correct way to use Twitter?
The truth is, there really isn’t. Some people use it very effectively and create lots of conversations, and some people just rant and complain. I feel that the whole point of Twitter is to connect with other people. I like to connect and engage in conversations. So, how can you do this? Are there strategies involved?
I went my favorite route and asked my followers: What Twitter advice and tips would you give? What Dos and Don’ts do you have?
It seems that everyone has their own opinions, but the ones that stuck out the most are the ones that I’ve included here. I, along with the help of my followers, have come up with a simple list of tips to help any type of Twitter use; from the newbie to the more advanced.
Follow People. Follow anyone who follows you and people you’ve met in real life. This will help your personal community grow and will be useful when it comes to engaging in conversation. As you follow people, they will start to follow you back, and will allow you to communicate across a broader scope.
Communicate and Interact. As you start to build your followers, you want to start talking to them. Twitter is all about connecting and communicating, so start simple. If someone tweets and article you find interesting, re-tweet it. That person will see you did so and will thank you. Just because you’ve never interacted with that person before, doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. You want to make sure your conversation isn’t always about you. Don’t just shout into a room full of people; visit with them individually.
Be Yourself. It’s really as simple as that. People can tell if you’re trying to be someone you aren’t, and they appreciate the honesty. No one likes someone who is fake.
Listen. This point is just as important as talking.
Be informational. The truth is you need to have a mixture of informational content and conversation. Too much in either direction is annoying and gets boring.
Have a good bio. You are given 160 characters to describe yourself and your Twitter feed. Be creative, have fun, but make it interesting. These 160 characters will help people decide if they want to follow you or not.
Use proper Grammar. No one wants to follow someone who can’t write a well-structured sentence. Now I realize that it’s hard to do that in 140 characters, but the main point is to try to eliminate “text speak”. Avoid using words and phrases such as “ttfn” or “thnx” or “c u l8r”. They look unprofessional. I admit, I’ll use those short hand words when I’m joking around, but never when I’m trying to be serious.
Do maintain a proactive Twitter presence. If you’re going to take the time to go out and make a Twitter account for yourself, you might as well use it. I tend to unfollow people who only tweet once every week or so. What’s the point if you’re not using Twitter for its intended purpose?
Spam Tweet. Nothing is more annoying than being on the receiving end of an @ or DM message that you can tell wasn’t from a real person.
Don’t be negative. If your tweets ooze negativity, people will start to unfollow you really quickly. I mean unless this is your m.o. If your business model for Twitter is to be negative, then go ahead.
Don’t post something every 5 seconds. If you post random tweets all the time, it can get very annoying for your followers. Remember, you want to interact AND create meaningful content.
Don’t follow 900 people and only have 2 tweets. Nothing says “don’t follow me” than following every person out there and not interacting with any of them. I personally tend to avoid accounts like this.
“Don’t forget that social media is public media”- This one’s from Chris Brogan’s 50 Power Twitter Tips. Once you’ve put it out into the twitterverse, then it’s out there for EVERYONE to see. Remember, it’s hard to get it back once you hit “enter”.
I don’t claim to be a Twitter expert, so you don’t have to take these tips to heart. In fact, you don’t have to listen to them at all. You may agree with some and completely disagree with others, and that is perfectly fine. I am a firm believer that there are no hard or fast rules on the proper use of Twitter. It’s up to you how you want to use it, but I think if you use the above tips as guidelines, than you’ll get everything you want out of your account, and more.
What other Twitter advice and tips would you share with people? We’d love to hear your responses.
I’ve included some links to some articles I read that also gave out tips on how to use Twitter if you would like to continue reading:
“50 Power Twitter Tips” Chris Brogan, chrisbrogan.com (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/50-power-twitter-tips/)
“Top 13 Twitter Don’ts” pcmag.com (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2345283,00.asp)
“13 Twitter Tips and Tutorials for Beginners” twitip.com (http://www.twitip.com/13-twitter-tips-and-tutorials-for-beginners/)
“10 Do’s and Don’ts for Brands on Twitter” mashable.com (http://mashable.com/2010/04/27/twitter-brand-dos-and-donts/)