Monday, 6 April 2015

To Tweet or not To Tweet (but if you do, do it well)

Every now and again, I feel the need to update my twitter rules of engagement. I say ‘my’ because it isn’t official of course but as someone who has been tweeting for a very long time and tries to keep up with twitter trends, I hope I can inspire by my experience.

Twitter evolves and while some have predicted its demise for a long time, I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, I think it is still getting stronger.

So here is my 2015 twitter rules of engagement or ‘Think Jeannie’s Guide to Twitter’.

·       -  Short and sweet in the name of the game. If you want to get a RT, you need to leave room in those 140 characters for the letters ‘RT’ and for your twitter handle to show (so at least space for 19 extra characters for a RT)

·       -  Make sure your tweet content is a mix of things. Try some RTs of facts & figures or interesting research. Throw in some personal tweets (bad lunch, family time, my rubbish football team lost etc). Other tweeters want to know something about the person/people behind the account.

·        - Never be too ‘salesy’ on Twitter. It is not a selling channel. If your tweets are interesting enough, you’ll get someone to your website where you should be selling like hell.

·       -  Please don’t send a DM to thank someone for following. That’s a waste of a DM and not the purpose of it. Thank yous should be done in a public tweet. You want to let your followers know that ‘you & I’ are worthy of following each other. It is not a secret society.

·        - Do use a DM if you are a business who has a genuine ‘twitter’ offer for following. For instance, if I follow a restaurant, you are more than welcome to thank me in a DM by sending me a voucher for a free glass of wine or discount. If you do that, make it a genuine decent (but easy to fulfil) offer.

·        - Make sure your twitter profile is creative & short (max 160 characters). Also make sure your banner is the right size (you don’t want pixilation). Remember only a certain middle bit of that banner shows on mobiles & tablets.

·        - And your profile shot should be either a distinctive, clear logo or your picture.  It’s a very important part of your profile.

·        - Say thanks to someone who has retweeted one of your posts and do it publicly (not in a DM).

·        - Hashtags are powerful but don’t overuse them. They are great when tweeting about trends or for an event you are organizing (communicate ahead of time to attendees what the event hashtag will be).

·        - Hashtags are also good when complaining or moaning about service (mentioning the ‘offending’ business name in the hashtag). A good business or organization will be on top of those # and respond accordingly. You can right a wrong by being responsive. So check often & then let the tweeter know you’ve heard them (don’t force a DM conversation – the complainer has been public for a reason).

·        - Automate as little as possible. Genuine tweets = genuine followers.

·        - If you don’t have the time to tweet regularly, yes that means a couple of times most days, then don’t tweet! If you’re a business, Facebook & LinkedIn may just be a better avenue for your social media.

·        - Do not swear or be rude. Having a strong opinion is fine but you don’t have to insult someone and everyone’s intelligence by using expletives.

·        - Don’t carry on with too long a ‘private’ conversation or joke in the public eye. Switch to DMs where you can chat away. And don’t forget, phones and emails still exist!

·        - Quality not quantity is the name of the game for followers. Clean up your followers list often (try Justunfollow ) and get rid of those who look like spammers or those who haven’t tweeted in ages but are still following you (like those who have automated – see #13).

·        - To get followers you have to follow too (‘if you build it, they just don’t automatically come’). Look at terms that are of interest to you & see which tweeters come up. Never hesitate to follow someone that strikes your fancy – shyness doesn’t exist on twitter. All businesses are created equal on twitter.

·        - Remember twitter is not private – you may think you are speaking to a closed audience of your followers but you are not. And you may just lose your job over it (HR people now regularly monitor employee twitter accounts). Don’t call a sickie then talk about the great party you went to last night. Not clever.

·        - Weekends and nights rule. I used to say you could do less tweets during that time. That wouldn’t be good advice now. People spend more quality time on twitter on the weekends and evenings (who really has the time during a busy working day).

It may only be 140 characters but it shows the person or business who you are so use the opportunity and time well. Twitter can be such a powerful tool!

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