First, let me say that I have a pet peeve with the plural of “do.” If you write Dos, it looks like “dos” the Spanish word for “two” or “dos” the operating system. If you write Do’s, its not grammatically proper, as apostrophe S is supposed to be for single letters (and lowercase at that). SO! What you see above grammatically correct and more visually pleasing.
Second, this is the result of a Twitter How-To Guide I created for one of my clients. I thought . . . hey! There might be some blog readers out there who are new to Twitter, and maybe this will be of use to them, too.
Before I launch into the DOs and DON’Ts, here’s a heads-up on that mysterious Twitter entity known as the hashtag.
Hashtags are like keywords for Twitter. The real use for them is to be searchable and to take part in a larger conversation. It’s like creating a newsfeed or group chat around a specific topic. For example, there was a #superbowlads one during the game where people were tweeting their take about the ads in real time. (I took part in that one on behalf of Much Ado Marketing).
Similarly, hashtags can also be used in a question and answer format. For example, there’s an #askeditor one in which professional book editors do a Q & A every now and then, and
everything is tagged with #askeditor so everyone can see all the Qs and As, regardless of who follows whom.
The other use for hashtags, and this is how I use them much of the time, is to be funny/witty/whimsical, almost as an aside.
DOs and DON’Ts
• Be yourself. You’d be surprised, once you get the hang of it, how much personality can come through in 140 characters. Twitter regulars can spot incessant self-promoters, one-way “conversationalists”, or other phonies a mile away.
• Promote your business. That’s why you’re on Twitter! Use common sense in striking the balance between marketing-style tweets and other kinds of tweets, just as you would in a conversation at a networking event or other business-related venue with two-way conversation.
• Be consistent. Your online presence with Twitter should be consistent with the rest of your brand image. For that matter–everything in your marketing mix should be consistent.
• Talk about a variety of things. Making “small talk”—about sports, something in the news, something in pop culture, interests you have that are unrelated to your business—is key to creating a three-dimensional presence on Twitter.
• Be helpful. If someone in your Twitter feed asks a question of the “Twitterverse” to which you have useful input, respond. This kind of interaction builds goodwill over the long-term and establishes you as an expert in your field.
• Pay it forward. Don’t hesitate to retweet a useful/amusing/interesting tweet, congratulate someone on their good news, or return a Twitter favor (shoutout, suggest people follow that individual, etc.) to anyone who has done a good Twitter deed for you.
• Be proactive. Twitter takes time. Most people you follow and who follow you are strangers—at least at first, until you develop a virtual connection with them. Respond to the tweets of people you follow, even if they haven’t yet followed you back. If they don’t auto-follow, they may be vetting you a bit to see if you’re worth a follow. (And you should do the same thing—check out a person’s profile and recent tweets to see if you’re interested in following them).
• Use hashtags. They make you searchable (and thus may build your follower base) if they’re in earnest; if they’re tongue-in-cheek, there’s nothing wrong with showcasing your wit or creativity (again . . . this gives you personality online!).
• Respond to all Mentions (when someone addresses you via @). This is the primary way of one-on-one interaction via Twitter. Enjoy it!
• Auto follow. Twitter has its fair share of bots and spammers, so automatically following back a new follower isn’t recommended. Be on the lookout for these types and ignore them (or block them, if you wish). Also, there are people who are not bots or spammers who are just lame. Seriously. Follow back every “good” follower you have, ignore the rest. Chances are they will unfollow you soon anyway.
• Auto DM (Direct Message). Sometimes you follow someone and get a canned “Thanks for the follow!” message with some contact info or a mini-sales pitch. No one likes to receive these, except maybe the people who send them (if that).
• Post only links or pictures. You don’t want to look like a bot. Links and pictures are a nice change from the usual tweet routine, but if that’s all you do, people will think you’re a one-tricky pony. Mixing it up is good. Bombarding people with nothing but URLs is not.
• Talk only about yourself or your business. No one likes it in real life, and no one likes it on Twitter, either. Sharing news or making observations about your industry or area of expertise is good, because it creates a connection to your business without being too sales-y. (This goes along with DO Talk about a variety of things).
• Make it a one-way street. The tagline for Twitter is “Join the Conversation.” It’s easy to go into Twitter, tweet a couple of things, and leave again until your next My Twitterverse Must Have This Insight moment. Take some time to see what’s new in your Twitter feed and interact. (This goes along with DO Be proactive. Do-be-do-be-do . . . Frank Sinatra, can you hear me? Sorry, but I saw no way around that Strangers in the Night reference).
• Waste time with people who don’t follow back or who have unfollowed you. Unless someone is famous (which means they’re unlikely to follow back) and you are intrigued by them, or unless someone or something (like a favorite brand or company) dispenses useful information that benefits or interests you in some way, ditch the unfollowers. Why should you read someone else’s tweets when they aren’t interested in yours? That’s the equivalent of listening to someone talk and then have them walk away when it’s your turn. One way to gauge this sort of thing is as such: When you newly follow someone, look at the ratio of those they follow to their own followers.
• Be afraid to do an occasional check up on who is following you and who isn’t. Cleaning house once in a while is a good idea. JustUnfollow.com is an excellent free resource that will do this for you. TwUnfollow.com is another.
• Be afraid to proclaim your crush on Twitter to the rest of the world. It is what it is!