Getting “accustomed” to Twitter can be so difficult, some people never get past that point and remain forever baffled by the social media platform. This can make it really hard to browse other profiles without feeling completely out of the loop, and even harder to get motivated to use the dang platform to update your business profile. What’s a “Tweet,” anyway? And is it really so important that it deserves to be capitalized?
It’s not all as scary as it looks. Learning the essence of Twitter comes from plenty of exposure and practice using it. While putting forth some effort and having some patience can help you get far in understanding the platform, there are also a few rules of Twitter etiquette that are important to know going into it. These are the kind of rules that, when broken, could potentially offend someone important, make you look bad, or even completely spoil your brand in the eyes of the public forever.
Okay, that does sound a little scary. Just paste these basic rules of Twitter etiquette above your desk, and you’ll be just fine.
Don’t Follow in Bulk
A common way to get more followers to your Twitter page is to search around and follow relevant pages yourself. This will usually persuade a portion of those to follow your page back in a reciprocal gesture.
But be wary of over-following. If your business profile shows that you have 150 followers but are following 3,000 others, that looks a little ingenuine for your brand (even a little desperate at times). Try to limit the pages you follow to those who you think might be really interested in your brand, as well as those who you’d genuinely like to see pop up in your feed.
Always Follow-Back Your Real-Life Colleagues
You certainly aren’t required to follow every person that follows you. Like mentioned before, it looks better to have more followers than pages you’re following, and it helps filter your feed to only include the stories that matter.
You should, however, always follow back those you work with and have made a connection with, whether in real life or over the web. Anyone who is going to distinctly notice your failure to follow them back is very likely to consider it a “snub.” As a courtesy, always follow back anyone whom you’re interested in fostering a lasting professional relationship with.
Only Use Up to Three Hashtags
If you aren’t sure what a “hashtag” is, read this article to get caught up. Using hashtags is important for getting more exposure on topics that are currently popular in your industry. They categorize your posts with words that accurately describe what your post provides, and helps Twitter searchers find Tweets of value to them.
But be careful – you can very easily overdo it with the hashtags. Some people routinely overuse hashtags, and it clutters up their posts with unnecessary links. As a rule, it’s a good idea to refrain from including more than three hashtags in your Tweets. You should also keep the hashtag words as short as possible to make them easier to read.
Don’t Speak in All Caps
There’s a time and a place for everything, and ultimately your brand’s voice style is your decision. However, it’s a great idea to avoid ever speaking in all caps. In internet language, all caps means that you’re yelling, and the spaced nature of the typeface is much more difficult to read. Just avoid it unless it’s absolutely necessary to get your message across.
You should also avoid using too many shortened internet slang words (such as “LOL,” L8r,” and other purposefully misspelled words). It tends to make your brand look less professional, and is also more difficult for users to read.
Automate As Little As Possible
Scheduling Tweets can be a great tool for those who have limited time and a pretty set schedule of posts in the future. In fact, Twitter offers a whole bunch of automated services. But the further removed your Twitter page is from human management, the more obvious it will become over time and the less appealing your presence will be to your audience.
Try to have one dedicated staff member always available to post and engage with the posts once they get responses from other Twitter users. Don’t ever automate DM’s (direct messages), like those who set their accounts up to automatically send a uniform message out to every new follower that says “Thanks for following.” Don’t do this. It’s pointless, and right off the bat makes your business seem fake in its interactions. Try to automate as little as possible with your Twitter engagement – your audience can always tell the difference.
Take it Easy with the Self-Promotion
Twitter is a great tool for promoting your upcoming events, product releases, and generally introducing the world to your brand. But there’s a difference between shameless self-promotion, and actually providing genuine value with every post. The latter is the modern way of marketing for a reason.
Carefully analyze each Tweet and ask what kind of value is it giving the audience. Will it make someone laugh? Will it address a need that someone’s having right at this moment? Will it inform them better on what’s going on in the world? If it addresses none of these, and is only a shallow reminder that your brand is there, then don’t post it.
Be Careful About What You Post
This might go without saying, but it’s extremely important to be aware of what you’re saying at all times. Every post is a reflection of who you are, and a false reflection can lead to dire consequences to your business as soon as you publish it.
Your best bet is to discuss a strategy and a set of standard criteria across the company and anyone who is handling the Twitter account. These standards should include what kind of materials are best to post, what words should be avoided, and what topics to steer away from completely. As a fashion boutique, you probably don’t need to talk about politics, and there’s very few reasons for business to use swear words in their Twitter posts. Use your best judgement, and make sure every post uniformly reflects it.
Feeling less overwhelmed? Hopefully you are – Twitter shouldn’t be viewed as a completely foreign country, but as a new playground to explore that just happens to have a different set of rules. My software Website Rocket can help keep you on track with your Twitter publishing, so all that’s left for you to do is implement these rules and rock the house. You’ll be a #Twitterpro in no time.